This weekend was the beginning of the next chapter in my career with the start of a new NASCAR season in Daytona. I’m going into this year with a new crew chief — Billy Scott — and different colors on my car with a new primary sponsor — Nature’s Bakery. It felt good to get back to the track and kick things off with Saturday’s race. I got caught up in a last-lap crash, but overall, I felt good about my first race working with Billy and look forward to the season ahead.
Photographs by Chip Litherland/The Players’ Tribune
My weekend started with a sit-down interview with USA Today’s Brant James.
Headed to the Daytona garage area to get ready for practice.
My Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS sits covered and ready to go in the garage area.
My new Nature’s Bakery Alpinestars gear waits ready to go for the first practice session of the year at Daytona.
Dressed and nearly ready to go before practice.
Headed through the garage to the car for practice.
My fans are awesome and I try to stop and make time for them when I can.
This was my first day working with my new crew chief Billy Scott at the track. I feel really good about our communication so far.
Climbing into my new blue and white Nature’s Bakery Chevy for practice.
Focused and ready to go. I still wear a balaclava like I did back in my IndyCar days.
My interior specialist, Kyle Anderson, and I took some time to go over a few things after practice.
My team works their way through NASCAR’s technical inspection process before the race.
Before the race, my pit crew guys work to get the No. 10 sign in place so I know where to stop when I come in for pit stops.
These little girls were so cute out on the grid before the race.
Lined up and ready to be introduced for the Sprint Unlimited.
Speedway racing is crazy and intense at 200 mph.
My Nature’s Bakery team jumps into action on pit road.
On track with my SHR (Stewart-Haas Racing) teammate Brian Vickers, who’s filling in for Tony Stewart.
Breaking down the race with Sam and Dave Marson (co-founders of Nature’s Bakery). They have big dreams and want to align them with mine. It’s exciting for me because there are things that I enjoy and stand for and they’re ready to embrace that. In this day and age, authenticity is hard to come by, but easy to recognize. I think people are going to recognize that authenticity as we go along this new journey together.