California Preview: "Our equipment has always run well there, and we learned a lot there last year. We had a new style truck there, and we came back and modified it a little bit from what it was there in the fall. So we feel good about it. I think...
California Preview: "Our equipment has always run well there, and we learned a lot there last year. We had a new style truck there, and we came back and modified it a little bit from what it was there in the fall. So we feel good about it. I think Toyota and Chevrolet used one of their tests out there, so we are going out there without a test. But we have a lot of good tire data with that particular tire that they are running out there. We feel like we have a head start on that. We focus a lot of energy in other areas than most people do when they test. So we'll just have to see how it works out, but I feel good about it."
Under the Lights: "I think the biggest thing is the lighting is very good out there, so racing under the lights isn't an issue. But the race track was so cold last year that everybody fought a lot of tighter condition, and that's because the race track gets a lot more grip when the temperature falls. As the track wears and the asphalt grays up on it, it will be real temperature sensitive. We have a lot of sunlight out there, and when the sun falls, the race track really changes a lot."
Strangers: "I chose to ride around in the back for majority of the Daytona race. Then in the last 20 laps I went to work and drove up through there for the win. I didn't mean anything bad about not racing with the pack, but you have people that have never been there before and the front part of the pack was stacked up newcomers. We consider those guys to be strangers on the track. Some of them I've raced with before, but maybe only a time or two, and others I've never been in the draft with. So their reactions to things on the track are unknown to me. When it came down to the end of the race and I was behind Jimmy, I knew what he would do and what I had to do to get around him. We've raced together at the Cup level before and so his track-actions are familiar to me. These trucks are a handful in traffic because they suck up so much. You can bump draft really easy with them, and you can bump draft without meaning to. So, I elected to race in the back the whole time until the final laps to stay out of the way and preserve my equipment. Some say I don't deserve the win because I didn't race the whole night, but those last 20 laps of racing were enough for me to get to victory lane."
This is the first of 12 events that Hamilton will be racing the Bailey's Dodge.
The Daytona winner will be racing the infamous Slim Shady once again. He won three races with it in 2004 and raced it over 15 times.
Hamilton finished fifth in last year's AmericanRacingWheels 200 at California.
Back to Back Weekends: -- The biggest change for us with this new schedule that we saw was not so much the travel the week after Daytona, but that this was the first time that we had to prepare trucks for that event (early). So, basically what happened was that when we loaded up to go to Daytona, our California stuff was done. Usually we have a month (after Daytona) to get it done. There have been times when we have come back from Daytona and built a brand new truck that hadn't even come off the metal rack yet. So that is the biggest thing. But for the whole program, it's a little bit of a tension to do that (race on back-to-back weekends in Daytona/California.) But after it's done, you come back and you have a couple of weeks off and all your stuff is done."
Owner the Pusher: "I think I was the one who sort of pushed to have that done (back-to-back weekends in Daytona/California). I talked to Jim Hunter and Mike Helton about it. Because what was happening from an owner's standpoint, was that we would have a month off after Daytona, and all the things that the sponsors would do as far as the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to motivate their employees or their marketing programs, would go dead again with the month off. It would be like having to reactivate the program. So we felt like we needed to close the gap up for the sponsors and keep their programs rolling."