Don't miss NHRA Nationals in Joliet

The Fourth of July has come and gone, and the Dark Side (that would be the White Sox) won too many games during this year’s Crosstown Classic. However, the silver lining is the Cubs ended the series with a win.

This past weekend I was at Daytona International Speedway for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. I teamed up with Regan Smith as my drafting partner and was fortunate to have led some laps. Regan was my buddy on the track throughout the Coke Zero 400. At the end of the race it started getting really chaotic on the track, and we got in a fender bender with Mark Martin. Although I ended the race in 14th, I was happy with my car and how I raced on Saturday. These restrictor plate races just keep getting more and more unpredictable.

Sunday morning I was back in North Carolina to celebrate the Fourth of July. We had a bunch of friends over at the lake house and it just turned out to be a really fun day. Now we’re preparing for our first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ever at Kentucky Speedway, and with any inaugural event, there is a lot of buzz heading into this weekend.

A Chicago area sporting event coming up this weekend that I’ll be keeping my eye on from afar is the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet. Last year I caught the bug to want to challenge myself to do something different and during one of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series off weekends I went down to Gainesville to compete in the NHRA’s Pro Stock class. When you feel the thrill of the launch and the speed, it’s insane! You really have to respect the drag racer that shows up every week -- that is what makes a true racer. I certainly wish I had more time to run, but the oval track is where I make I make my living.

The best of the best will be at Route 66 Raceway this weekend, and I have plenty of friends in each of the classes that I’ll be rooting for. A guy like Larry Dixon is sure to do well along with Allen Johnson. He showed me the ropes last year when I was in Gainesville, and he will always be one of my favorites to watch. You also have guys like Robert Hight and Steve Johnson that will be vying for the win.

Best of luck to all the racers that will be competing this weekend at Route 66 Raceway.