BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Square D Dodge Ram) NOTE: Series points leader Bobby Hamilton celebrated his 46th birthday Thursday in the rain at Dover International Speedway. Tenth fastest in the second practice session, Hamilton will start on the pole...
BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Square D Dodge Ram)
NOTE: Series points leader Bobby Hamilton celebrated his 46th birthday Thursday in the rain at Dover International Speedway. Tenth fastest in the second practice session, Hamilton will start on the pole if time trials are rained out. With four top fives and five top 10s in the first five races, Hamilton leads Rick Crawford by 20 points entering Friday's race at the Monster Mile. Hamilton will make his 30th career start in the Craftsman Truck Series on Friday. He has three career victories, three career poles and has an average finish of 4.2 this season.
"We just worked on race setup in practice today. We didn't put tape on, stayed on the same tires. We messed with some fuel mileage stuff because we've neglected that a little bit there, not knowing what the truck will hold and pick up. We were scared of the weather, so we felt like that was more important than qualifying.
"It looks like the weather is getting us regardless of where we go now. Somebody's got a black cloud over their head, and it's raining on our parade. We'll start up front if it rains out qualifying, but that can work two ways. You could lead the first lap or you could be the first guy to get passed. You can't lead every lap. I just want to lead in every race, and we have so far.
"You've got to pit three times here to get by, but you'll probably end up pitting more than that. We get four sets of tires total. What we take under green counts. In the Busch Series, what you get under green doesn't count. You still have free ones in the pits out of the four sets, but they count for us. It's just the way they do it to keep the cost down. They did let us have a free set to do the first hour with here because the track was green, but we just used one set in practice and I only have 30 laps on them.
"Musgrave and Pressley are good here. I think the 16 truck will be good. The 18 truck is really good. He (Chad Chaffin) was fastest in the first practice, and they never made a run in the second practice. He's a good guy, and I'm proud to have him driving my Ram. He tried to block me at Charlotte, and I nerfed him. I let him know that I'll race him, but I'm not going for any blocking. We'll both be wrecked. Somebody said, 'you wouldn't wreck him would you?' I don't know if I would or not but I can because I own the truck.
"The track didn't even have rubber on it this morning, and I passed a couple of slow trucks on the outside. We'll be able to put on a great race here. The track's going to be better than I've ever seen it. I think it's going to be good for the Cup guys and the Busch guys, too. There's a lot of grip.
"The competition in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is really getting better. People have money and the TV package is promoting a little more interest. Those guys do a really good job. I was surprised because when networks swap over like that you think it's going to need a jump start, and they've done a great job with it. We get a lot of associate stuff from people wanting to know about the series. I think that's helped a lot of other race teams.
"We need to get qualifying in, and I hope we still can, but when I held the rookie meeting this morning they told all the rookies that nobody was going home, everybody was going to make the race so don't do anything silly.
"I've never qualified real good here in a Cup car, but I've always run good here. I'm used to having to pass people anyhow. So if I start on the pole, maybe I'll lead every lap or maybe I'll be the first guy to get passed like I said before. You never know until they drop the flag.
"We don't anything special planned for my birthday. When they start going in the other direction, then I'll start celebrating. As long as I keep getting a year older, I try not to think too much about it. At least Ken Schrader has the same birthday, and he's two years older than me. That makes me feel a little better."
TED MUSGRAVE (No. 1 Mopar Performance Dodge Ram)
NOTE: Musgrave will start third Friday after rain washed out Thursday's time trials. Musgrave, the defending Dover Craftsman Truck Series champion and the series' most recent winner at Lowes Motor Speedway, ranks third in the series standings, 50 points behind Hamilton.
"We unloaded and knew the weather was going to be kind of iffy. We didn't know if qualifying or Happy Hour would happen so Gene and I decided to unload it as it was for race pace. I think all of us knew what was going to happen, so we're pretty happy with it. We changed one spring and a couple sets of shocks and swaybars. I think the combination we hit on felt pretty comfortable and maintained the speed for quite a while. I'm fairly comfortable in the truck, and that's important here at Dover.
"Third place is really good. Looking through my windshield I'll see Bobby and Rick will be on his outside. I know the combination of knowledge for all of us, you're not going to see bonehead moves like we see sometimes. Third is a good spot. If there is a nice place you can get in when these guys settle in and knowing these people around you are people you can race with and give and take for the first three-quarters of the race. You can see how they're doing and go from there, so I feel real comfortable starting third.
"Even though we won last year it doesn't mean it's a setup that can win this year. Yes, we unrolled the thing out of the trailer pretty close to what we had last year. We made a few changes. We did win the race, but we really wasn't satisfied with the way the truck was. We made improvements today I believe. It's the same exact truck. I've just got a little grip tape on the door so I won't fall out of it this time.
"The tires are different now a little bit. I haven't driven a Winston Cup car now in three years. They do drive different. I think you're in the throttle a lot more with the trucks than you are the Cup car. You're a little slower on entry in the truck, but the Cup cars tend to dime in the corners and run up the hill in the center. They point 'em and stand on the gas as they come off. You're on the gas a lot sooner in the truck than you are the Cup cars, so they drive differently. No matter where you go, the trucks are a lot more fun to drive. It's so much better to drive the truck. Dale Jarrett don't ever want to drive it, but he ought to try it sometimes. He'd love it.
"You can move the trucks around the race track. We can run two or three wide. Sometimes we've got to be careful with three wide, but you can do that with a truck. You can't do that with a Cup car. I think that's why the shows are a lot better in the truck series."