An interview with: Mark Martin Todd Bodine Ted Musgrave Erik Darnell THE MODERATOR: Today we have the third place finisher this evening of the GM FlexFuel 250, Ted Musgrave, the defending NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion, first drive...
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Today we have the third place finisher this evening of the GM FlexFuel 250, Ted Musgrave, the defending NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion, first drive for Germain Motor Company in the ASE Germain Motor Company Toyota.
Reflect on your race out there, Ted.
TED MUSGRAVE: I'll tell you what, it was awesome. I wasn't really sure how the truck was going to start off the race. All of a sudden it seemed like it sniffed a draft, kind of got out near the front. When I got out near the front, I said, "Man, this is the place to be," because this truck handled really, really good. Actually, my truck -- Todd had a handful, but he hang on. I'm telling you what, this team came together well. It's this guy, too, he made this Germain Racing what it is today.
I'm glad to see this happen. First time out for Team ASE on a Toyota, my new team, everybody come together, so fast, we come to Daytona, lead laps, run up front and have a shot to win.
Third place today is like a victory for our team right now. Gaining momentum and heading to California.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by the runner‑up finisher, Todd Bodine, who but for a caution flag perhaps would have set a record with fourth consecutive NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory.
Todd, reflect on your race tonight.
TODD BODINE: Yeah, we would have had four in a row. You know what, I'll take second. It's a great way to start the points. We had a decent truck. Our Tundra, like Ted said, it was a little out of control, but it wasn't too bad. It was fast. Mark's truck was just incredibly fast.
But I knew at the end, with my teammate behind me, he was a sitting duck. We just needed those laps to run off, we would have been first and second. But should have, would have, could haves. Here we are second and third. We'll take it.
Like Ted said, it's great for this team, Germain Racing. We've had one truck up front a lot. Now that we have Ted in the 9, we know it's going to run up front. Looking forward to the rest of the year.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for our second and third place finishers.
Q: The enthusiastic announcer on television said he was going to lobby to try to get the rule changed for a second attempt at a 'green-white-checkered.' Considering how crazy it gets with that stuff, what do you think about the rule as it stands and the 'green-white-checkered' finishes?
TODD BODINE: Today would have been good. We would have gone for a couple of them (smiling).
Like I said on TV, it's a rule. It's their ballpark, their ball, we got to play by their rules. Tonight Ted and myself would have loved to have seen another one. There's times where we would have been in Mark's position and we wouldn't have wanted to see another one.
You know, I really think it's a good rule because other than tonight, it works really well. We've had 'green-white-checkered' a lot in the Truck Series. They usually work well because guys know it's the last shot, so they don't get out of control. When that rule was made and developed two years, I think it was two years ago, we had that one race where it was like six 'green-white-checkered' in a row. That's ridiculous. You have to have a limit. One is the limit. We got to live with it.
Q: Todd, what did you think of your chances had you got that last lap to get Mark?
TODD BODINE: Well, like I say, with my teammate behind me, I knew I could trust Ted. We'd already discussed it with our crew chiefs. We knew what was going on. I think we'd have been first and second.
Ask Mark when he gets in here, he'll tell you the same thing. He was sitting duck. He knew it. When Jack was behind me and we were running there behind Mark, I was sizing him up every lap, just seeing what kind of runs I could get where. I had it all figured out. But just got to have the green flags to do it.
Q: Todd, you kind of brushed off the fact that you did not win four in a row. You made a hell of a move to take care of Jack Sprague. I'm assuming you really did want four in a row.
TODD BODINE: Well, that's why we're here. That's what we get paid for, to try to win races.
Yeah, I'm not going to lie to you. It's disappointing not to win the fourth in a row and set the record. It can't be disappointed in this race team and what they've accomplished. You know, everybody all week long has been asking the question, "Can you keep the momentum going that you had last year? Can you keep it in stride?"
We came out tonight. We not only kept it in stride, we picked it up. Second and third, you know. That's one thing that y'all got to understand, this is one race team with two trucks on the track. That's the way we approach it. That's the way we're going to approach it all year. This race team didn't keep in step, they picked it up, got second and third. We got to be pleased with that and happy with that.
Q: Todd, can you and Ted, compare this to the truck you brought to Daytona during testing a couple weeks ago. Is it an improved package? Are we closing --
TED MUSGRAVE: Both of us brought our same trucks back that we did test. I was really, really pleased with mine, the handling of it. I know it really wasn't fast qualifying. Todd's was a little quicker. Mine handled better than his and I seen that in the race. We came back and painted up that truck and brought it back. They did the same with Todd's.
Every time you come down, or come down to test, you don't really bring your best engine, you don't really bring your best everything. But it's all there in the package, more or less. They just go back home and buff on it and make sure it's really good, you know, motor-wise, body-wise, put the finishing touches on it and come back down. Everybody does that and every team does it.
Q: Can you describe the strategy you would have used if the race had gone the full distance. You kind of let Mark go at the restart, then tried to run him down after that?
TODD BODINE: Well, 'green-white-checkered', best laid plans of mice and men usually go wrong. Who knows. But what my plan was, my strategy, that's what I was saying earlier, I kept sizing up my runs. I could really get a good run through one and two, let up a little bit, getting in, get a little space, run a little high line. I could catch the draft halfway through the corner and start really getting a good run on him. I've done that four or five times before that really making sure it would work. That was my plan, just try to make that run, knowing Ted was going to be with me. I was going to fake high, he would have blocked, I would have gone low and hopefully it would have worked.
Q: We're joined now by our top finishing Raybestos rookie of the race. It is Erik Darnell, making his second NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start, his inaugural start at Daytona International Speedway. He makes the second Roush Racing entry to finish in the top five.
Erik, good run for you tonight. Tell us how your race went.
ERIK DARNELL: We started off in the beginning there running pretty warm. We kind of rode around on the back. The thing was running about 250, started spitting water. We had to come in. John Quinn, the whole team down there, we had an awesome run out there with our Woodrich Ford F 150. I mean, the thing was great tonight. Just got back out there after we pulled the garbage off the grill, just, you know, made our way back up the field. The truck was really great tonight. The guys did an awesome job.
Q: Ted and Todd, to know how dominant Mark Martin has been in the Busch Series, to find out that when he retires he wanted to be racing in the Truck Series. You kind of had to have a feeling he could do kind of what he did tonight. That's something you have to look forward to racing against when he joins you more later this year.
TED MUSGRAVE: Mark is going to run with us off and on, mostly the bigger speedways. Seemed like tonight, his truck was really, really specially built for this race. You guys got to remember, when Mark was leading all those laps, Todd and I and everybody are in line, there's like four or five trucks, we could have pulled out and passed, but it would have drew our five-truck pack back to those 20 in a row, and we didn't want to see that.
We more or less just stayed in line, let him lead, all get a freight train and draft away from the big mess. There were a lot of times, like I say, he could have led or I could have led. We didn't want to do that. It would have drug the rest of the field up front.
Mark is going to be tough, don't get me wrong. Everybody is human. Like I say, as we go to California, places like that, he's going to be a tough competitor. I understand that. Everybody here, there's a lot of guys in that garage area that are going to win their share of races also.
Q: Erik, a rookie, first time on this track, first time in a truck, what goes through your mind when you see some of those accidents out there?
ERIK DARNELL: Well, we were just trying to ride around the back a little bit. Not trying to, we were running warm. Trying to stay out of those, we were lucky enough not too really be involved in anything.
As a rookie here, pretty amazing. I've never run on this truck out here before. To come out of the box the way we ran tonight, I'm hoping it's going to be a sign of things to come for the rest of the year. The guys back in the shop built an awesome truck, put a great truck underneath us. The guys on pit road did a great job for us. We just stayed out of the mess and we were there at the end.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by the winner of the GM FlexFuel 250, hometown driver making his 53rd NASCAR points race start here at Daytona International Speedway, his first victory. Mark Martin in the Scotts Ford, second victory for Roush Racing here in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Carl Edwards wining in 2004.
Mark, take us through your race this evening.
MARK MARTIN: Well, you know, I was just really fortunate to be the benefactor of Mike Beam in the team. You know, having just an incredibly fast truck with unbelievable horsepower. I didn't know that I was going to race the truck during the test. Only spent about an hour in it. Got it driving, you know, what I thought was probably good enough for a rookie, David Regan, and turned it over to him.
Really we didn't put as much time into getting it handling maybe as good as we could have. So short notice came up, Scotts came on board, you know, for the full season, so they want me to drive here at Daytona. So I knew it was going to be a fast truck.
But anyway, I was the benefactor of all of that. I didn't have a whole lot to do with it other than just strapped down in a rocket ship. I had some luck on my side there at the end. That 'green-white-checkered', I wasn't sitting too pretty there on that restart. But it did turn out (smiling).
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Mark Martin.
Q: There's a lot of tough talk up on the stage before you came in that they were definitely running you down. Is there any doubt about that in your mind? How were they going to do it?
MARK MARTIN: I don't know how they were going to do it just yet. But I'm sure they were going to try like heck.
You know, I know that I had my hands full. But I sure hadn't conceded the win yet. They were going to have to take it, pry it out of my hands to take it.
You know, as it played out, fortunate for me, I had some good Ford helpers to get me back in the lead. We really got shuffled back there with not too far to go.
How about Erik Darnell, Driver X, coming up through there, rebounding from being a lap down? You know, Crawford, even Compton, and all the guys kind of helped me back to the front.
But when I counted those dudes before the restart, I knew that the deck was kind of stacked against us. We do what we can do. It turned out in our favor tonight.
But, you know, I want to say that I did have a blast out there tonight. I love the Truck Series racing. It is just so much fun. These guys were spectacular. I mean, you couldn't find a better group of drivers to race with. What a great race. Just all these guys that were running up there in the top 10, I can't say enough for, you know, great drivers like are up on this stage here, as well as Mike Skinner, just all the guys. We had a great group of guys to race with. We had a good race. Everybody came out of it without too many scrapes.
Q: Mark, your thoughts on finally winning a race here at Daytona.
MARK MARTIN: Well, I've won two IROC races, a Bud Shootout and two or three 24-Hours. It's not the first time. But it certainly would be the first time I won a 500 if we could pull that off Sunday, so... I'm not sure they'll be able to find me in California when practice starts. If we win the 500, I may just get lost. I may be so happy I just don't even show up (smiling).
We have as good a car as I've ever had for the 500. I can't tell you what it would mean to win this thing. But realistically speaking, it would be pretty big to all the 42 other drivers starting the race, too. It's a tall order. I have a good car. We'll see what happens Sunday.
Q: Mark, it seems like you had a heck of a time tonight. We know you don't like this place too much. If you go back to the IROC race, look at the bump-drafts we saw in that race, do you have concerns for Sunday from what you saw tonight in the IROC race?
MARK MARTIN: This was a whole different race than anything I've run here in years and years and years. From watching it, I say the Truck Series racing is the best racing in NASCAR. Boy, I sure felt like it out there with them, too. I love watching 'em race. Always watch their races. Certainly being out there with them was just a blast. It's not quite like any restrictor plate race I've ever run, you know, because the trucks are pretty much unrestricted.
Just, you know, a really smart race by these guys. The trucks don't handle quite as good as the cars. It makes the drivers have to work for it a little bit more. That's a good thing.
Q: You seem a lot happier driving right now. What is the prospect of racing the trucks full-time next year?
MARK MARTIN: I'm driving the truck seven races this year because I know I have a lot to learn, and I want to try to, you know, learn as much as I can with the team, and also we really need to give Erik and David Regan, you know, a better shot at showing what they can do than I think what we did last year for Todd Kluever and Ricky Craven. We needed to step up the program. You know, I'm trying to, you know, do that and trying to help Erik and David show what they can do this year a lot more.
It's a busy schedule. I've got a lot on my plate. But my heart is in the Truck Series. I'm headed that way.
Q: Mark, what is your next truck start?
MARK MARTIN: That will be California next week. Here we go. Whole new deal.
Q: I don't know whether you believe in destiny or fate or any of that stuff. Last year was supposed to be your last year. You got talked back into coming back into Cup by Jack. In a way, if you end up winning the Daytona 500, you got to feel like there was a little bit of destiny involved in all that.
MARK MARTIN: You know, it's very possible. I mean, I don't know. The worst thing in the world that could happen would be I'd have, you know, a very disappointing year and have to finish off my Cup deal on a down note.
But the very best thing that could happen would be, you know, a Daytona, Brickyard win, something like that, a championship. I mean, it's very possible. We have the same people. We've got the same team that contended the last two years for the championship, finishing fourth.
You know, I don't know. We're going to get in there and dig and maybe things will fall our way. If they don't, we're going to fight tooth and nail anyway for everything we can get.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, gentlemen.