The Chase Austin Chronicles
This past month has had some ups and downs. The up side was getting to race at Michigan in the NASCAR Nationwide race and getting to see my family again this month. The down side was not being able to finish the race due to an issue with the motor. I was still really happy to be at the race track and to get to work with Walgreen's and Forgotten Harvest again.
We worked really hard to get ready for the Michigan Nationwide race. I am working with a new team and we don't have all of our own cars and team put together yet. Since this was a race with the new Nationwide cars, it was hard to find extra cars out there that we could use. We pulled it off, but we wound up really having to push to get the car put together, loaded, and transported to the track We thrashed for three days leading up to the race.
The car had to leave for the track by 5:00 A.M. the Wednesday morning before the race. The entire team worked 15 hours each day and even stayed up all Tuesday night working on the car. We finished about 4:30 AM Wednesday morning! Once we all made it top the track, we found out that we had more work to do. The new body style created some problems and we spent most of the Thursday practice working on the car instead of running laps. I was really looking forward to an entire day of practice, but that was not to be... We worked on the car again most of the Friday practice but we ran a few laps, enough to know that we could make the car fast enough to make the race. Getting through tech was a whole new challenge! We were the last car to make it out of tech and I had to literally run from the car in to the drivers meeting. But I made the race!! I've been racing for almost thirteen years now, and I've never seen a team work that hard and get so much accomplished in such a short amount of time. All though the result of all that hard work wasn't what we wanted, we still kept our head up high because we know we made the best out of a not so glamorous week. I have to say another thank you to URG, Walgreens, Feeding America and the crew from Baker Curb for everything they did that weekend!
I headed home to Kansas after the long weekend at Michigan. I think I slept most of the 12 hour drive after all those days with not much sleep and all the thrashing we did. When I made it back to Kansas I jumped on some more projects for my parents. My family runs a small trucking company. Even though it is very small, there is LOTS of paper work. I spent almost all day, every day, sorting paper work and helping them with the accounting. Paper work is not my favorite things, but I got it all done and it actually turned out not to be as bad as I thought it would be. Any time my family gets together, there is always a lot of laughs. I think my family can make almost anything fun.
We live on three acres in Kansas so there is always a lot of work to do outside. There is ALWAYS mowing to be done. I do a lot of mowing every time I am in Kansas. Most people like lush green grass. My Mom says that her favorite color of grass is brown, because that means it won't need to be mowed. For some reason, my parents thought since I can handle most lawn equipment, I could handle a chain saw. They put me in charge of cutting down some trees and cutting back all the limbs around the house and on the little bridge on the road to our house. It actually turned out to be fun, and a good work out. I liked being a "lumberjack" until one morning I woke up with poison ivy on my arms and stomach. After all the years I have lived in the country, that is the first time I ever had poison ivy. It's HORRIBLE! I know I will pay a lot more attention to plants that have three leaves! (That is how you spot poison ivy.)
I got to take part in a little "home improvement" project inside the house. Our 18 year old water heater broke. Taking a cold shower gave me a lot of inspiration to help my Dad get a new hot water heater and install it as quick as possible. That was an interesting project. My sister even helped put in the water heater. As usual, any time my family is in one place together there is a lot of laughs. It turned out to be all day project and a lot of work, but as usual, my family made it fun.
I managed to get a few card games in here and there. I even won a game! I hung out with my girl friend in the evenings (we turned her in to a pretty fierce card player.) I went swimming once. but not to perfect my diving this time. I thought if I went swimming, the chlorine might help get rid of the itching from poison ivy! FYI - it did help the itching for a little while. Now the pools are closing up so my diving technique will have to be put on hold until next summer.
I wish I could have raced more this summer, but I am glad I got to run a few races. I feel really good about the people I am working with and I think we are headed in the right direction for a lot more races in the future - maybe even full time in 2011? I keep praying and doing everything I can to make it happen.
I am going to end by telling you a little saying my Mom told me after my lumber jacking experience, "Leaves of three, let it be." Seriously, that one is worth remembering.
Chase'n the dream...
- Update on the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
- Times for Kansas Speedway's 2017 NASCAR Races Set
- Great Options Remain For Adding To Your Race Day
- Jeff Gordon Coming Out of Retirement -- At Least For Two Races
- Part 2: A look at the final nine Sprint Cup Series races and impact on the Chase