Headed for TopekaMonday, May 14, 2012
Posted by: Jim Yates

It is almost that time of the week again – time to rush off to the airport to catch my flight to St. Louis for a couple days of testing before we head to Topeka. I thought I best sit down and write a quick blog before I headed out again. If you have been following our last couple of races you know that we have been running pretty well. Everyone on the team is doing a great job and it shows in the performance of our Mopar Dodge Avenger.

I am excited to be going to St. Louis to test for a couple of days. Mark and I have a lot of new things to try and this track is a great place for some quality testing. Right now the plan is to test Tuesday and Wednesday and then head to Topeka to get ready for the Dollar General Nationals. I have checked the weather and it looks like we are going to have a warm and sunny weekend so I hope a lot of you will be able to come out for the race.

Even though we had back to back races (Houston and Atlanta) I still got to enjoy a little time off. April 28 was Jamie birthday and we were racing in Houston so we planned his birthday get-together for this Saturday. Of course we celebrated Mother's Day as well, but that is another story. Jamie and Cynthy brought our grandkids over and for the day and since the weather was warm and sunny we decided to "blow up" the swimming pools and watch them have fun. I think Toni and I had more fun than they did. They played in the pool and played with the hose for hours.

After a day of swimming it was time to cookout, open presents and of course have some birthday cake. I had to laugh when Ryan and Maia had Jamie's candles blown out before he could even take a breath. They really do know what birthday candles are for! After a quick bite of cake and ice cream Jamie and Cynthy had to take two very tired kids home – I have to admit I was a little beat myself! LOL

Sunday was Mother's Day and unfortunately none of the kids were home, however, Toni did celebrate with Jamie, Cynthy and the kids on Saturday before the "birthday party". Jon and Alli were in SC visiting Alli's mom whom they haven't seen in quite a while, Melissa was in Darlington SC for the Sprint Cup Race until late Saturday night and Joey had to work all day Saturday so the timing just didn't work out. However, Toni did get a lot of nice phone calls, text messages and cards – AND she got to spend the day with me.

First thing Sunday morning I asked Toni what she wanted to do for her special day. I offered to go on a bike ride (though secretly I was hoping she would not take me up on that!) but she decided that she wanted to work in the yard and get all of our yard work done before we went out of town again. Well, that sounded like a plan to me! Before starting the yard work, however, we had to go on a three-mile run – ok much better than 30-plus miles on a bike, right?

Well, eight  hours later with every muscle in my back aching we finally finished our yard work. I think I trimmed every bush and tree in the entire yard, pulled weeds, raked gardens, hauled debris, blew off patios and decks and even picked up more gumballs from the Sycamore tree. Note to Jim…the next time you have a choice to ride a bike or work in the yard, pick the bike ride!!!

After a long day, I threw a couple of steaks on the grill and we sat on the deck and enjoyed the beautiful view. I guess all of our hard work really did pay off. Anyway, when I told you that I was excited to go testing you now know why!

Hope everyone has a great week. Be sure to stop by and say hi if you are at the race this weekend!