I can't believe the first off week is already here! I feel like these first eight races flew by! Before we take off, to escape to the beach with a margarita in hand, let's recap a bit of the first two months of this exciting race season.
First of all, it is clear that Mother Nature was not a race fan with five out of the eight races having some sort of rain delay in at least one of the series. We appreciate all the fans sticking through it with us and many of the drivers and other people in the sport took to Twitter and Instagram to show what they do during the delays. We did too! In this video, I think Lucy got the worst end of the deal but, we all got to see Kyle making great sound effects and we had a good laugh.
Even if the weather has not cooperated, the racing itself has been incredible! Seven different winners in eight races and knockout qualifying … what more could a race fan ask for?! I wasn't sure at first what I would think of the new qualifying format, but I really like it. Luck is taken out of the equation, you don't have to worry about getting a bad draw or having another driver getting cloud cover during his run, every driver has a level playing field. I think it is exciting and I am happy to report that Kyle got the pole in Martinsville … hello Sprint Unlimited next year!
Even more exciting for us was the win in Fontana, which hopefully will guarantee Kyle a spot in the new Chase format! It was an incredible win that, yet again, came down to the last lap. I asked Kyle afterward how he did it and he said instinct on the last lap. He gave a play-by-play of the last lap saying he saw Kurt go to the top and Tony going down to the bottom, so he thought he would go through the middle, but then when he saw Tony drifting up he cut the wheel left as hard as he could and said the car was going to stick or he was going to wreck trying! Dave and the crew did an awesome job setting up the car and it did stick and he was able to pull away from Kyle Larson (who is having an awesome rookie year, by the way!) and win the race! The excitement that day was tremendous and really took a lot of weight off the No. 18 crew's shoulders to get that first win.
Aside from racing, the beginning of the year was a lot of traveling with the races spanning the East and West coasts. The folks of NASCAR clock a lot of air time these first few weeks! We opted to stay out on the West coast between Phoenix and Vegas along with the Craftons and made a mini vacation out of it. The girls went to Sedona, Ariz., for two days, which was always on my bucket list. Seriously, if you have never been there I highly suggest it; I have never seen sights so stunning! The boys, along with Kyle's dad and a couple guys from his team, opted to go out to the sand dunes where they always come back with stories about this or that. This year, their story was that everything they took out there lived and nothing broke. However, a few of the other camps didn't have as much luck and brought some of their broken pieces over to Kyle's setup where they fixed those guys up and got them back into the dunes.
What goes hand-in-hand with racing … tailgating?! So tell me, who has put together some snazzy setups at the track this year? I would love to hear about your favorite recipes and the drinks you make. Please post them here so I can compile them and share them on my blog for others! I’ll share one with you that a friend of mine taught me in Fontana (and I probably should have had one of these at the end of the race to calm my nerves LOL). OK, so you mix two parts sugar to one part cinnamon and then dunk an orange wedge into the mixture. Pour a shot of your favorite tequila, shoot it and finish with this cinnamon sugar orange wedge (ONLY IF YOU ARE 21 OF COURSE!)
For a girl who doesn't like stiff drinks, this is out of this world! I'm still working on a way to create a spin-off of this by making an orange margarita with a cinnamon sugar rim for our big Memorial Day party!
The warm weather is coming and if you haven't tailgated at the track yet, I highly suggest it during our summer stretch when the temps are perfect. Each track is known for a different tailgating scene and all of them are a blast! The Boulevard in Talladega where people watching is always a must, the massive amount of kiddie pools which are generally filled with adults not kids in Daytona or bring the kiddos to the fun carnival area where they can try out the rock wall, the bungee trampoline or the duel slides. Jacquelyn Ragan and I even went out one year to try all the activities, we had a blast!
Away from the track, the Kyle Busch Foundation has been in full swing for prom season. Last year, we partnered with Girl Talk Charlotte to help provide prom dresses to girls in the local area that do not have the funds to purchase one. This year, over 900 girls registered to receive a dress. NASCAR fans are absolutely amazing, as usual, and donated 150 dresses to this cause. The Kyle Busch Foundation went out and matched that amount of dresses with new ones, so this year we delivered 300 dresses … up 200 dresses from last year! Even Kyle got in on the action, helping me hang dresses out in our garage once we ran out of room at the race shop!
Check out more about Girl Talk's Prom Project by watching this news clip. Again Kyle, myself and everyone at the Kyle Busch Foundation cannot thank you enough for your generosity!
Well, that's been our year so far. The No. 18 guys have worked hard to get a win and a pole and I am tremendously proud of them! I'm looking forward to what's next! But for now, keeping in theme with our off week vacation to Mexico: Gracias por leer, tener un día maravilloso!