If you were wondering why my usual post-race blog did not appear on this site last week, it was because me and the family decided to take a little vacation following the Charlotte weekend. Sorry I did not give y'all a heads up. With that said, I have returned rested while looking to get back on the trail.

As you may have heard, we experienced the inaugural Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway two weeks ago and it really was something to behold. We qualified and raced utilizing the four-wide format. To hear 32,000 horsepower moving the earth at the same time was incredible. Unfortunately, I did not have a pleasant result down there in North Carolina.

I got through the first round of eliminations without issue, but was clearly distracted at the starting line in round two and thus was sent home early. For some reason, I ended up deep staging the car – which I never do – and then left the starting line excessively late. In the end, that spelled a whole lot of trouble for me.

I felt horrible for the team since I had a car that was quite capable of winning the race. I told my U.S. Army Top Fuel bunch that I owed them one come this weekend.

To that end, we're about to head for Houston Raceway Park (HRP) for the O'Reilly Spring Nationals. It's the first of two stops we'll make in the Lone Star State this season.

Having had success at HRP, we'll be looking to get the job done on Sunday. In fact, one of my two career wins there came just last year with what was at the time my new team and crew chief (Mike Green).

That victory was special for obvious reasons. We proved there was no quit in the Army team despite the personnel changes that took place in the offseason. Of course, we went on to score four more wins plus the world championship. Not too shabby, right?

Admittedly, it will be nice to get back to the normal way of doing business at HRP. We had a good time with the four-wide deal, but now it's time to return to the way we're used to racing – in pairs.

If the weather forecast turns out to be true, we could be dealing with one fast drag strip this weekend. Sitting just east of Houston, HRP has been known as a site for record-setting performances due to its close proximity to Trinity Bay, which typically pushes in cool air.

If the conditions are there, we'll all be hauling the mail for sure. As usual, it's going to be a real dogfight. We're going to have to be extremely focused to get the job done. The competition in Top Fuel is fierce right now. But, like our Army Strong Soldiers, we'll be totally prepared. We'll always put the mission first.

With that, "The Sarge" salutes y'all. We'll be back with you next week before we make our first trip this year to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Until then, stay well and please continue to keep our Army Strong Soldiers in your thoughts and prayers.