Aloha, OR - Dec 21, 2011 - 2011 verified a lot to me. It confirmed how blessed I am with great opportunities, and it showed me how badly I want to do more! The challenges of the season actually inspired me and I think, time-and-time again, we really rose to the occasion. The year has also encouraged me to set our team's, and my personal, bar even higher!
This past year was extraordinarily busy for me. I made the error recently of checking my Delta frequent flyer account on how many flights I did in 2011… 91 times I heard the plane door close and corresponding safety talk from the flight attendant that I can do in my sleep. That means 91 times going through security. Yikes. Regardless it was a great year being so involved with Dodge Motorsports for running their Dodge Viper Cup Celebrity Program, being involved with the Ford Racing High Performance Driving School at Miller Motorsports Park, and learning what it's like to drag race in a special exhibition race for Mopar in Denver. And while my personal racing was limited - something I am planning to correct in 2012 - I was still able to capture a podium finish in the Rose Cup race setting a personal best at Portland's premier sports car race.
Being asked by Dodge Motorsports to manage the Viper Cup Celebrity Program for the second year was a marvelous honor. Being chosen to prep, select, train and manage this effort took a lot of our time and resources. In fact, when the Lux Performance Group transporter left for the year in March, it didn't get back to the Northwest until November. So having our equipment on the road for eight months really required me to step-up and face the challenges of this "traveling circus". But we have such a superb group of staff members they made my life pretty easy. With their support, I was able to spend a lot more of my time testing and setting up our two ACRX Cup cars for each race weekend. [ 2011 Dodge Viper Cup photo gallery ]
Another significant aspect that kept me on the road was my involvement with Ford Racing High Performance Driving Center in Salt Lake City. With the introduction of the new Boss program, Ford gives every person who purchases a Boss Mustang the opportunity to come out and go through a one-day driving school in a Boss race car. On top of that, our regular racing school activities really kept me jumping all year long as well. As many people know, Miller Motorsports Park is incredible when it comes to amenities. However, what you might not know is the instructor staff is the coolest group of guys ever.
Believe it or not I also have a newfound respect for Drag Racing. When I got the call from Mopar to have us bring out our Viper Comp Coupe to Denver and race against the legendary Shirley Muldowney I was thrilled, but also freaking out a little. But off we went to the Mile High Racetrack in Golden Colorado for three great days of Mopar action! I attended the famous Mopar Evening Block Party where we hung out with "Speed Freaks" doing interviews and signing autographs with Funny Car driver Matt Hagen, Top Fuel driver Jack Beckman, Pro Stock Driver Allen Johnson, and Famed blues-guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd. But let me tell you, learning how to do a "proper" burnout, learning how to stage a car, and finding the groove in the track was awesome to learn! But I must thank my good buddy Allen Johnson who was with me at the starting line every time I made a pass providing guidance on the radio. [ Mopar Mile-High Nationals photo gallery ]
Even though drag racing was entertaining, I still managed to get in several road races in our Viper Comp Coupe as well, including finishing third at the Rose Cup. Turning left and right is still my passion. As great as 2011 was, I am in high gear at the moment putting plans together for 2012. Lots on the table right now and trying to juggle all the balls in the air! This year was crazy busy but it's all worth the effort. [ 2011 Racing Season photo gallery ]