Blog – Off to Gainesville

Just before I left for Pomona, my brother Michael got married and my cousin Carl, and I were the best men. We had a lot of fun that day. Michael and Brianna had their reception at the same place where Terri and I had ours – the Alpine Country Club. It was great to be around so many friends and family for such a happy occasion. With everything that has happened over the last several months, it was nice to celebrate. My boys had a role in the wedding too, they were the ring bearers. It was a big event for them, because they had never been in a wedding before. They got in their tuxedos and they were about as happy as you can believe to be a part of the wedding. They were really excited about it. They got a kick out of walking down the aisle in front of everyone. I’m happy to welcome my new sister-in-law, Brianna, to our family24017_387123905419_222238795419_5451725_121908_n

On my way to Pomona, I made a pit stop at the Cobra Jet assembly plant in Flat Rock, Michigan. It was real special because the Cobra Jet was the car that my grandfather really pioneered. On the flight to Detroit, I wondered how many manufacturers would have invested all this time and energy into building a special run of 50 cars? When you look at the big picture, there will be over 13 million cars sold in America, and yet Ford designated a team of people, and dedicated an assembly line for 50 cars. It’s a tribute to the importance Ford Motor Company places on its racing programs and its dedication to the Ford racers. It was always my grandfather’s passion to support the racer, because they’re really the catalyst in the marketplace. They are the ones that their friends and families go to for advice on cars. They’re the ones that go into their own pocket, spend their own money on race cars, race trailers, racing parts, and are so passionate about their manufacturer. In this case it’s Ford, and for Ford to invest the resources to build 50 cars, it shows how much respect they have for the racing fans, and the racers themselves. It might only be 50 out of 13 million cars sold, but there will be no other vehicles that will create the memories, experiences that those 50 cars will create over the years as racers across the country take them to the track, and put them in the winner’s circle. The Cobra Jet legend lives on.

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I know that if my grandfather would have been there, he would have been impressed not only with the outpouring of gratitude and excitement of the racers, but the passion and excitement of all the Ford assembly workers. This was built inside a Ford assembly plant, not an off-site operation. This was built inside the same plant that builds the Mustangs that are in the Ford showrooms today. The excitement of the Ford UAW team at that plant was just incredible. It’s a tribute to the racers, to the UAW workers, and all the people that are involved in that program. I’m looking forward to seeing the 2010 Cobra Jets race this year. We’ve bought one that my Uncle Carl is getting tuned up to get behind the wheel of this season.

I had a few days off between Pomona and Phoenix, so the whole family flew in and met me in Phoenix. It was nice to spend some time with them. We spent a few days at the pool and we also went to the Phoenix Zoo. The best part of the Phoenix Zoo, I would have to say was the monkeys. The kids absolutely loved the monkeys. It was a lot of fun to spend some time with my family.

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Even though I have a couple weeks off from the race track, I really have no down time with my involvement with the family dealerships and the race team. We’ll be doing a lot of work here in the next two weeks, gearing up for the Gatornationals at Gainesville. I’m planning on spending a lot of time working in the shop in Charlotte for a few days and then I’m off to Detroit for some meetings before heading back home just in time to get back on the airplane and get on out to Gainesville. There’s a lot going on between now and the Gatornationals, and when you have a car and a team that I know is capable of winning, as a driver you just want to get back out there. I prefer to get right back out and keep racing. I’m looking forward to Gainesville. It’s a race track where I’m coming in as the defending champ. I’ve had a lot of success there in the past.

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Hockey Update: We’re heading into the playoffs! After our plane landed from Phoenix, my father-in-law was waiting out front for my son Bobby to head to a hockey game. We literally landed at 6:00 pm and he was on the ice by 6:50 pm. I know the kids are happy to get back to hockey. We have a couple of games the next couple of weeks, and the season ends at the end of March. There will be some tournaments coming up. My older son’s team is in a position to play for the state championship, so we’ll see how that turns out.

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