We didn't really take a lot of time off during the off week. We were originally supposed to test for two days last week at St. Louis, but because of weather going through the Midwest, we decided to go to New Smyrna to test. Then we took Friday, Saturday and Sunday off.
I was excited for the break, just to try to get caught up again. I've gotten behind on so many projects at home. Even at work I've gotten behind on notes. That West Coast swing takes about a month to recover from, especially in the shop. You can't get behind on your planning, and I like to stay a couple weeks ahead on planning. It's mainly car preparation. The other day I was going over some builds, parts and pieces that I need to order for our road-course cars. In May, we'll be testing at either VIR or Sonoma ... that road-course stuff is on you before you know it. You finally start learning what these cars need for intermediate courses and short courses, but nothing compares to a road course. I do like going to road-course races. I'm fortunate because I've worked with Jeff Gordon, who is a very good road racer, and now Bobby Labonte, who's also good on them.
As for the NCAA basketball tournament, honestly, I don't have time to keep up with that. Honestly, I don't look at any race shows or anything. It's all you can do to do all the things you need to do.
One thing I wanted to get done over the weekend was find a dry dock to put my boat in so I can actually try to use it. Before, it took so long to hook up your boat, but now that we're in Mooresville, that's going to be better because the shop is 5 miles from the lake. I've been pumping up the guys that we might go wakeboarding this summer. If you work day-to-day and do nothing for yourself, you will get burned out. When I left the shop one day last week, I met some of the guys from the shop and we went to an indoor go-kart track. It's a great break, and it's good for team-bonding. There's some guys who take it pretty seriously. They won't admit to it, but I think they go up there and do some practicing.
Our shop is a mixed group age-wise. A lot of the guys who came down from Level Cross, N.C., worked at Petty's for years. They are Petty Enterprises through and through. Some of the newer people are younger guys, so you've got new ideas mixed with some more conservative ideas, and that makes for a good combination.
Jeff Meendering is the first-year crew chief for the famed Petty Enterprises No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger driven by Bobby Labonte. Meendering will take ESPN.com readers inside his life on and off the track each week with the help of writer Angelique S. Chengelis.