6:00 a.m. ? Early Call Hotel
It?s a little bit easier to get up early when you know you?re going to the track to race ? but not much. The 6am call wasn?t easy to take, but once I was physically out of bed I was able to get fired up. Once the water if the shower hits my face I?m ready to go. Nothing too spectacular in the early hours; I had some cereal at the hotel breakfast room and a cup of coffee as I read the paper. I guess Karl Malone is going to the Lakers ? that really seems fair. Who?s going to beat them now?

8:00 a.m. ? Arrive at the Track
The rookie driver?s meeting was at 9am. Jason Keller ran the meeting for us which was good, but not too eventful. He told us that in qualifying we?d probably be better off with scuffs than sticker tires at this track. We ended up qualifying on stickers, but not necessarily at his recommendation. After the meeting it was time to get ready for practice. I?m not a morning person as I said before, but I do like starting practice early.

9:00 a.m. ? Practice for the Busch Series
Overall the practice was one of the better ones we?ve had this year. My first run we had the car too low and were rubbing the front valence on the track so we came in and made some changes. I got on the radio to describe the sound as I coasted onto the pit lane. Andy had me come back on the radio three times to make the sound because they thought it was funny. Not that the car was too low, just the sound I made to describe it. Just can?t let your guard down with this group! Practice went great though. Each time we went out we?d find something to change that made us faster. I?d have liked to be in the top-10, but we consistently stayed in the top-15 which was pretty good considering all the Cup drivers in the field this week. I have a lot to learn, so to be in their ballpark is a big boost and it gave me a lot of confidence heading into qualifying.

Noon ? Lunch
Greazy (truck driver) made his finest spaghetti and garlic bread which I ate with my Mom and sister and some of the guys on the team at our transporter. It?s good stuff ? Greazy?s spaghetti. Actually all his lunches are good, we should see about entering him into some sort of contest among the guys that cook here in the paddock.

1:30 p.m. ? Qualifying
One of the guys on the team asked me this morning if I get nervous at all. I do, but not too bad. The hardest part is the waiting before going out. Once the motor starts and I get going any nerves go away and I just drive the car. Today in qualifying the car was really good, I just felt like I could have hung it out a little bit more. It was a fast lap at the time and we?re in a good spot, but I think I could?ve gotten a little bit more. But now that I?ve seen the lineup and digested the whole thing, there was no sense in risking a crash for a better spot. We want to race and I?ll learn a lot tomorrow chasing down these Cup drivers so I feel good about that.

3:00 p.m. ? Rain
We got qualifying in with just enough time before the rains hit. Wow, what a storm. I figured we?d be shut down for the rest of the day with the rain and the enormous storm that came through, but it looks like they?re getting the track back and ready for the Cup cars to head out. Hopefully that means we?re going to get our happy hour in afterwards. That happy hour is what we?re really thinking about at this point. A lot of these teams have a jumpstart on us since they?ve been racing every weekend in these cars. We make the most of our happy hour practice, it?s very important for me and this team. I get a chance to run behind people on the track, see what setups work the best on longer runs and really get a good idea of what to expect in the race. In that respect it?s probably the most important practice of the day. Some of these races we don?t have a chance to

work on race setup in the morning because we?re making sure our car is fast enough to make the race. We don?t have as many points as the others since we?re in a limited schedule, so obviously making the race is the first priority.

Click here for more information on Menard's Tropicana Twister 300 race weekend diary.

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