What a crazy winter
First I just want to thank everyone for all the supportive emails and phone calls during this unsettled winter. I apologize for not updating my blog during this time, but to be honest I wasn't really in the mood to write about everything that was happening. This winter has been quite crazy and trying on my nerves, but now everything has settled down and is coming together nicely for a great 2011 season. Right now it is Saturday February 5th around 2:30pm and I am home in Florida sitting on my couch watching the golf tournament on CBS. Now is finally the time to catch everyone up on what has happened over the winter and where I am headed for the 2011 season. Well, let’s get to the cliff notes version.
I arrived back in Deming, NM on November 10th after leaving the World Finals and the WoO Banquet in Charlotte. My trip across the country was long, but I made it in pretty good time. Monday I stopped in Atlanta and met up with George Martin, my old producer with the Outdoor Channel when we were shooting all the WoO races, we had a great time catching up with each other’s lives and just bullshitting like we like to do. I kept pushing west and finally stopped in Tuscaloosa, AL (Roll Tide country) at the WalMart for the night. Tuesday I was up early (well 8am is early for me) and my goal was to make Midland, TX by night fall. Well, by the time I arrived in Shreveport, LA, I noticed that my alternator had quit again, so I stopped to fill up with fuel and try to fix the problem. This time the alternator was working, it just wasn't charging the starting batteries, but it was overcharging my coach batteries, to the point where the battery casings were hot to the touch and I could hear them boiling, thankfully they hadn't gotten to the point where they blew up. So, after troubleshooting and phone calls to my Dad, I determined that the best course of action was to disconnect the alternator and use my coach generator to keep a charge on my batteries. So, I pushed-on towards Midland, TX. I didn't quite make it to Midland, but I found a WalMart about 60 miles east for Midland and parked for the night. Driving through Dallas/Fort Worth at night with no alternator just praying that my lights would stay bright enough was quite stressful, but I made it. Finally Wednesday I rolled into my parents place in Deming, NM around 7pm, completing my 2nd full WoO season by myself. The final totals for the year were 35,026 miles driven and a big huge chunk of money to cover all my expenses. Completing a WoO season and traveling with this circus, is not for the faint of heart nor is it the cheapest thing in the world, and I do it probably cheaper than anyone else who makes every race on the schedule.
I spent about 2 weeks in Deming, tearing Woody down to parade rest and cleaning him and inspecting him. Woody really had a good year, but he definitely was tired and needed some repairs. With my Dad's help, we got Woody all fixed up and pretty much ready to go for 2011, the trailer and motorhome are in need of repairs, but I will have time to get them ready when I return in February. I flew out of El Paso, TX on November 23rd and made it back to Pensacola, FL before Thanksgiving. I was in great spirits when I got home, Woody was ready to go, all my advertisers had committed for 2011, so I was ready for a great Holiday Season. Donna, Selena, Alisha and our neighbors had a quiet Thanksgiving eating some great food Donna prepared and watching some football. December rolled around and on December 9th, my life got turned upside down, I received a phone call from World Racing Group informing me they wanted to head in a different direction and were not going to renew my contract for the 2011 season. After about two days of being in shock, I had to figure what the hell direction my life was going to head in. Needless to say, I thought about maybe trying to continue traveling the WoO circuit on my own, but if you added up what it cost me to do 2010 and with fuel prices expected to be above $4/gal during most of 2011, I was going to need to find a sponsor who could pony up a big chunk of $$ just to cover my expenses, and I still have to live a life also. So, I came to the conclusion that it looked like my career and Woody's legacy was coming to a drastic ending. I tried to keep everything quiet until after the holidays to make the announcement, but it finally was leaked to someone on Williams Grove's message board a week before Christmas, so the day before Donna and I left for our 4 day cruise to Cozumel, Mexico (we sent Selena to Lake Tahoe for 2 weeks to my sisters to play in the snow and learn to ski & snowboard), I sent out a quick press release announcing the end to an era of Work'N Woody. Donna and I had a great time on the cruise ship and our one day in Cozumel (Christmas Day), the trip back the Gulf of Mexico decided to make it a little rough, the ship was rocking & rolling pretty good, let’s just say there were a lot of barf bags laid out all over the ship. I didn't get sea sick (but I had 22yrs of ship life already), but Donna wasn't feeling too good until her Dramamine kicked in, she handled it better than most and even made it to her big Bingo event, I played in a Texas Hold'em tourney (finished 2nd for $150), after that we just relaxed. We had a really good time.
After Christmas, my plan was to start getting my life in order and to start working on my resume and hit the not so good job market here in North West Florida. Then, out of the blue I received a call from Dan Simpson (owner of the new 410 wing series on the west coast, Golden State King of the West series) out in California, asking me if I would be interested in working for him as their Official Safety Vehicle & Push Truck. After taking a couple days to discuss it with Donna, I called Dan back and accepted his offer. So, Woody is not retired and the legacy continues with Woody coming back home after 23yrs of criss crossing the country with the WoO. My Mom & Dad started Woody traveling the west coast with the NARC series, so now I am taking Woody back home and will be traveling the west coast. I am excited to be a part of this new series from the beginning, hopefully I can bring a lot to the table and help this series become a huge success. I can't thank Dan Simpson enough, I also have to thank Dean Mills for putting the thought in Dan's head. I can't wait to work with all the CA tracks and push trucks all year long. So, the rest of January I have been working on keeping all of my advertisers together and excited to stick with me. I am happy to say that BUTLERBUILT, CLEAN SEAL, ENGLER MACHINE & TOOL, AGGRESSIVE HYDRAULICS, WATERMAN RACING COMPONENTS, J E PISTONS, GAERTE RACING ENGINES, GOODYEAR TIRE & RUBBER, RED LINE OIL, WESMAR RACING ENGINES, SHAVER SPECIALTIES, OUTHOUSE IMAGE & DESIGNS, AND PENSKE SHOCKS will be sticking with me. I could not be doing this if it weren't for all these great companies. If there is any way you all can support these companies please do. I can't thank them enough.
The press release from the King of the West series announcing Woody's homecoming went out about 10 days ago making it official, I am on my way back to my home state, good ol' California. While I'm out there, I will be staying in Rio Vista near the headquarters of the series. I can't wait for the first race of the season on April 9th in Antioch, CA. Don't be surprised if you see me earlier at some of the WoO races on the west coast, with or without Woody. I am flying out Monday morning and heading back to Deming, NM to finish getting Woody together and getting the trailer & motorhome ready for another season. I will be headed for CA near the end of February or first of March.
I would like to thank the World of Outlaws for giving me the opportunity to live out a dream being a part of the Greatest Show on Dirt for the past 4yrs and I wish them good luck for the 2011 season and beyond. I would like to thank all the WoO Drivers, Teams, and Crewmembers for all your help and friendship over these years and I look forward to working with you all when you are on the west coast. I also want to thank all of the track personnel and fellow push truck drivers that I have met over the years, you all have been great to work with and I hope to see you all again in the future. Lastly, I can't thank the WoO road crew (Bill & Lynda, Jim & Luci, Carlton & Justin, Tony V, Eloy, Steve and Tom) enough, I have a great time working with all of you, you all became a part of my life and I will always consider you all a part of my family. I can't wait to see everyone this spring. A new chapter in my life operating Woody is getting ready to kick off and I can only hope that I form the same relationships with everyone associated with the Golden State King of the West series. One last thing, currently I am planning on working the 2011 Knoxville Nationals, so for those fans who I won't get to see during the year near you home track, hopefully we can get together during the Nationals and have a few beers together. Here's to a great 2011 season, I hope everyone stays safe and enjoys each other's company and camaraderie during the year.
Again, I want to thank all the fans for supporting me and Work 'N Woody and the Golden State King of the West Series. So, until my next blog, stay safe and keep all four wheels on the ground.
Work 'N Woody,
"Just Push'n Off"