It was a Dodge and a Chevy 1-2 at the finish line in today's third round of the 2001 Craftsman Truck Series, but this time it was a veteran Chevy Silverado driver and not a rookie in second. JACK SPRAGUE, in the ...
It was a Dodge and a Chevy 1-2 at the finish line in today's third round of the 2001 Craftsman Truck Series, but this time it was a veteran Chevy Silverado driver and not a rookie in second. JACK SPRAGUE, in the #24 NETZERO CHEVY SILVERADO, survived a typical short-track racing experience, which closely resembled a demolition derby, to finish a mere eight tenths of a second behind Ted Musgrave. West Coast racer BRENDAN GAUGHAN, in the #62 NAPA CHEVY SILVERADO, finished third.
JACK SPRAGUE: "The thing was fast. We started changing right tires and it got extremely tight. I asked for lefts last time. I needed 10-15 laps to get going, and Ted would fall off in 30 laps. These last cautions let his tires cool down. We had some long stretches there. If I could have gotten that again I would have had a shot. With the quicker squirts he was faster than I was. It's a great finish for the NetZero Silverado. It's getting a little discouraging. I raced here nine times and haven't won yet, and haven't won a race in a while, and we've run fairly good. I need to win a race. I ended up with 120 laps on the right side tires. I still think that was the right thing to do. It got quicker in the last 10 laps. When they dropped the flag I thought I was as good as I was last night. I was extremely good in happy hour, and I was really excited about what I had to work with. At the end it was runniing as good as it was at the start and I had 120 laps on the right side."
BRENDAN GAUGHAN: "This whole team is based in Vegas at the speedway; we are full West Coast (racers) trying to run an East Coast series. It just goes to show you how Shane (Wilson, crew chief) and how good people can make great equipment to run fast. We got off our pit sequence with one of those spins (caution periods). We got front-end damage and we needed to make sure nothing was rubbing and everything was safe. Shane told me don't worry about it, nothing was there. At St. Louis last year when we bent the right front fender in we went faster. It did help a little bit; it helped it to turn a little bit. We knew we were on older tires, but we knew we were great on long runs. We were hoping for long runs. When those restarts happened - I'm an old road courser, I wasn't worried about being outsmarted on restarts." WITH 40 LAPS TO GO YOU STAYED OUT: "We stayed out because we had pitted off sequence a little bit. We had a little fender bender and had to come in off of our tire sequence. So we didn't want to come back in. It wasn''t beneficial to us. Track position was too important. We stayed out and Shane said, hey, on those old tires we had been running as fast as we had all day. Shane says don't think you can't win this thing. With 25 to go we were looking good, the yellows came out and on the restarts I was concentrating on my old road course roots -- how to shift and how to drive." HOW MANY RACES WILL YOU RUN THIS YEAR? "We're going to run the last six races. That's just the plan now. We're looking for some money to come in. NAPA does a good job for us, but they have a Winston Cup team they have to support. Hopefully we can find some people to help out, go to a few races and do this every time we show up."
RICK CARELLI, #66 PHELON MOTORSPORTS CHEVY SILVERADO (fourth): "Actually, it was fun. We just needed a few more green flags. At the end we were a lot better than a couple of guys in front of us. (Joe) Ruttman and (Scott) Riggs started banging on each other. They gave me an opportunity to get by them and I went for it. It was a good time. It's great. Coming here with a brand new truck -- we switched manufacturers - it was great. We were shooting for a top five. I'm happy. I just wish we could have run another 100 laps. Everybody in the pits did a great job."
TRAVIS KVAPIL, #60 CAT RENTAL STORES CHEVY SILVERADO, finished 11th after running for the lead most of the day. A late-race pit stop dropped him from second place to down in the field: "We came in on lap 192 and 194. We had to go back in because we had a little miscue. We didn't get all the lug nuts tight on the left rear. That basically cost us our chance of winning and definitely a top five. It wasn't worth taking a chance wrecking a good truck trying to go on three lug nuts, so we came back in, got them all tightened up. All the cautions at the end of the race hurt us big. We definitely had a top-three truck. With all of those cautions I lost my chance to race some guys. It's one of those racing deals that happens once in a while. It cost us today. It definitely cost us a top five. Again, I think Ted had the best truck, but I think we had the second best truck. I came out here in one piece, got a decent finish out of it. We will build on it from here."
DENNIS SETZER, #46 ACXIOM/COMPUTER ASSOCIATES CHEVY SILVERADO, had a chance of winning today, but lost it on a solo spin while going for a pass on leader Musgrave in turn one on lap 189. After damage repair, he returned to the race to finish 31st: "We just got loose going into turn one going for the lead, unfortunately. My Silverado was great today." WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR HEAD WHEN THAT HAPPENED? "It was an unfortunate deal. We had a truck to maybe go for the lead, I made a mistake, got loose in the high stuff, went for the lead and lost it. We found out our team is ready to go compete and win races now. This is my track right here. I have won here before; we've been very competitive every time. We were excited and the most competitive we have been in a while. We were anxious to get this thing to the victory lane."
RICKY HENDRICK, #17 GMAC/HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS CHEVY SILVERADO (eighth): "We had a great truck. We were fast all day. We came up from 20th and finished eighth. We are in one piece and that's a real accomplishment at Bakersfield. The Team GMAC Silverado was strong all day. We were definitely better today than we have been since we unloaded. It was tough out there. I knew there would be beating and banging, but it got real rough at the end. Sometimes we were the fastest truck out there, but on the short track, at the end of the race there are no friends. We were run down real low with three laps to go and a few trucks slid by us. I wish we had more to show for the awesome pit stops and great setup we had going for us, but I'll take a top-10 finish and third in points any day. I just can't say enough about how hard these guys worked to get us running well today."