ROBERT PRESSLEY (No. 59 Kingsford/Harris Trucking Dodge Ram) NOTE: Pressley finished third after winning last year's race. "I just got overpowered on that last lap. Everyone's been talking about the Dodges sandbagging all week, but I think we...
ROBERT PRESSLEY (No. 59 Kingsford/Harris Trucking Dodge Ram)
NOTE: Pressley finished third after winning last year's race.
"I just got overpowered on that last lap. Everyone's been talking about the Dodges sandbagging all week, but I think we saw who was really sandbagging. Bobby (Hamilton), he helped me get up there, and I thought we were going to bring Dodge through for a win. Going into turn three Bobby lost a little bit of push on me there, and then it was every man for himself. I was trying to protect it, and when we loaded up with the No. 14 truck he was gone.
"The NASCAR Craftsman Trucks put on a good show here in Daytona. They've got them bunched up a whole lot, so heck, we go out there and just have a little fun."
"They moved the start-finish line too far down I guess. We were in pretty good shape. I looked back there and had another Dodge pushing me. I thought all we had to do was keep everything straight and we'd be all right. Then the Fords and Chevrolets teamed up and got three wide. They gave me a big old gap. That's good if you're on a short track and got a little room going into turn three. Whenever they singled up there coming off turn four I was a sitting duck.
"Most of it was back in the back. The trucks moved around a whole lot today. The track was very slick with the new carburetor deal, new air horn deal. It closed the field up very tight, a lot tighter than it was last year. If you were in the back of the pack you could really pull up on anybody at will, but when you were in the front you were having to lift to keep from running over the guys or running four wide. I think that's what it was, just a little bit of inexperience, guys getting in a hurry thinking they could somewhere and causing a few accidents.
"It actually started on the back straightaway. I guess the 46 truck lined up up there and made it three wide on Bobby. When it got three wide, it was busting a real big hole behind them. I was out there in clean air. That's where everything started. What happened off four was just the aftermath of it.
"It wasn't really the carburetor. What we used to do was run a three-inch ram air duct into the carburetor. This year they cut it down to a two-inch. It's really starved the motor a whole lot instead of putting restrictor plates on it slowed 'em down a little bit like that. We were actually a little faster in the draft if you could get four or five trucks together. Then it made everybody bust a bigger hole and let the other trucks stay in tow a whole lot more.
"We came off four and saw Rick. He was really digging. I was wanting that extra push right there, but what happened I jumped out and got the rear tires off the ground and the rear end started spinning a little bit. By the time the truck landed back on the ground, I mean it does that every lap, this lap here I was just a couple of inches off the ground more than I had been the whole day. That was a little bit of momentum Rick needed to get to the quarterpanel. Once you get to the quarterpanel you can stop anybody.
"I never thought I won a race until four or five minutes after the race because you never know what's going to happen. I knew that whenever we went into turn one and Terry couldn't pull around Crawford and they killed the momentum, it just really helped me a lot. Bobby was behind me. If Bobby could have stayed behind me or anybody could have stayed back there it would have went on and it would have been a two or three-truck breakaway. I guess when the 46 truck went to the outside and made it three wide it just screwed everything up for me.
"NASCAR is doing everything they can. I think they've already tried similarities. The thing about the trucks, what works great with them with no restrictor plate is because the cab on them, we're 11 inches higher at the roof than any car. We're a lot like the 1980 model Winston Cup cars used to be before they put the restrictor plate. The aerodynamics is not there with these trucks. You can bust open some big holes.
"Turn one is where everything started when myself, Bobby and the 46 and another truck we caught during the caution. We were all sitting there and the worst we could do was run fourth or fifth if we were all lined up and took off. Whenever Terry Cook and Crawford got side by side going into turn one, it just opened things up for me and gave me the opportunity to win the race. Going down the back straightaway when they got three wide behind me, nobody was helping me at all. I was just sitting there.
"We've had a couple (finishes) at Talladega. We were only three wide here. I've been seven wide and sideways there. This is great. Truck races are always pretty good here. You've really got two groups of trucks out there sometimes. Today if we hadn't had all the crashes it would have been a little more exciting than it was today.
"I know I was behind Ted Musgrave when he blew his tire going into turn one. Some debris was on the track. As aerodynamic as these trucks are not, you're spinning the tires a whole lot. We were racing Daytona like you normally race Martinsville, so there was a lot of debris on the track."
BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Square D Dodge Ram)
"These Square D guys really put this Dodge together right at the last second. We tested and tore it down, tested and tore it down again. For the first part of the race we were strong, but then we got a set of tires that threw our weight off. We lost our track position, and then we got the truck torn up again. So, to come back where we did we're really happy about it.
On the fact that no other trucks would run with him...
"The same thing happened here when the No. 4 car won all the races. They act like you've got the plague, and they don't want you to win any more. We had won every year, but you can't win them all. We're looking at the big picture. Now we're sitting fourth in points, and that's a good start to the season."
"I didn't even know that either of our other trucks were getting banged up. That's how concerned I was. When I strapped in this thing I never knew anything about either one of them. I don't think I even asked about either one of them until I saw that Bill (Lester) wrecked. Me and my spotter made an agreement that they get paid to drive, the crew chiefs get paid to crew it, and when I'm in the truck I get paid to drive. That's what I was concerned about. I'll be the owner when I get back on Monday."
"I was definitely trying to push Robert (Pressley) to the win. Robert's in a Dodge and he worked with me a couple of times. We were the last ones left, but we just didn't have enough help.
JASON LEFFLER (No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge Ram)
"Well, Ted just lost a tire and there was nothing that he could do. I stayed up on the high side and then shot to the bottom. I thought I was going to be clear, but our Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge didn't clear him. His Mopar Dodge came right up in front of me, and I just hit him with my left-front. I think everybody's alright, so we'll recover from this and get on with the season.
TED MUSGRAVE (No. 1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge Ram)
"We were running a little warm in the beginning of the race, so we fell back and got some air on the nose. The Mopar Dodge was handling really good, so we were just trying to keep the motor cooled down. Then all of a sudden the right rear tire blew, and there's not much you can do when you're running that fast on three tires. There was only about a two second warning, but by the time you let up on the gas there's not much you can do. You try to keep it straight, but you can't. We must have just run something over, I guess. Behind me, my teammate Jason Leffler actually saw the tire come apart as I went into the corner. I tried my best to keep it off the wall and out of traffic, but at that speed I was kind of helpless. It's just a bad way to start off the year."
BRENDAN GAUGHAN (No. 62 Orleans Hotel Dodge Ram)
"I said from the beginning that I wanted to be the top Dodge program. If we do that I think we can win the championship, because I think the Dodges are the best out there. We were the best Dodge today. We were awesome. We led most of this race, and my wingman Rick Crawford was hanging right there with me. But you know what happened to us? We got too good of a restart at the end. I wasn't experienced enough to know to drag the brakes. At that restart we just jumped all over everybody. The problem is - and I found that out - in Daytona racing you can't get that big of a lead. Second and third teamed up on me and just, whoosh, went on by. I didn't block them. It's just one of those things that I've learned now. It's okay.
"Towards the end though, we ran out of gas. We came down and got a push-truck to push us in. I gave everyone a French lesson on the radio. Sorry guys. We took off like a bat out of hell and were able to finish 10th. I think we proved that we're one of the best Dodge teams out here, and I think everybody knows that we're a team to watch this year.
"I still love the green, white checkered-flag finishes in this series. I think that's the greatest rule. That's what real men do - we finish green, white, checkered. That is why the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is the greatest racing. What the No. 52 is doing, I have no clue. You don't have to do that junk when it's just a yellow flag. Thanks to that, I knew I was in the lead battle. I was like, 'How the hell did I get here?'
BILL LESTER (No. 8 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Ram)
"I was happy that we missed the whole No. 1 truck incident. I was fortunate enough to avoid hitting him, but I hit his tire and tore up my whole nose. We were tight from there on out and I was like, 'What next?' Then towards the end, with about three laps to go, I went into turn one I was way loose and a little later, pow, the right rear tire let go. I had no control over it.
"You've got to stay positive in this sport if you're going to be successful. I thought it was our day today, but this is what makes you stronger.