Mark Martin and Jon Wood paced the first Craftsman Truck Series practice session this afternoon at California Speedway, posting the two quickest times of the session. Martin, last week's race winner, and Wood, who has a career-best ...
Mark Martin and Jon Wood paced the first Craftsman Truck Series practice session this afternoon at California Speedway, posting the two quickest times of the session. Martin, last week's race winner, and Wood, who has a career-best truck series finish of third at California Speedway, commented on the starts of their respective weekends.
MARK MARTIN-6-Scotts Ford F-150
YOU TURNED YOUR FIRST LAPS IN A TRUCK AT CALIFORNIA AND MANAGED TO BE THE FASTEST IN THE FIRST PRACTICE SESSION. "I'm surprised. I certainly hadn't quite expected it. I do have a lot to learn about these things, but the thing I have going for me is just an incredible race team with the Scotts team. These guys are amazing. It makes me excited to go the race track to get a chance to work with these guys here."
ARE YOU BRINGING INFORMATION FROM THE CUP GARAGE TO THE TRUCK, AND HAS THAT ALLOWED YOU TO ADAPT SO QUICKLY? "I'm bringing my experience. It's not so much Cup information as it is a wide variety of experience through Busch racing and Cup racing over the past nearly 20 years. These guys have done their homework. It's not really me. It's them. I wouldn't be at the top of the board if I didn't have a really good truck."
YOU MENTIONED AT DAYTONA THAT THE ROUSH TRUCKS WEREN'T AS GOOD AS THEY COULD HAVE BEEN LAST YEAR. WHAT CHANGES DID THEY MAKE IN THE OFF-SEASON? "It's the typical stuff. Our biggest downfall was we didn't have the best suspension on the race track and we probably didn't have the best bodies on the race track, and it didn't give them as competitive an advantage as they might have had. The team has just done a great job with their chassis and suspension work and a good job with their bodies. The engines are fantastic, and I think the engines are better than they were a year ago."
WHAT KIND OF RACING DO YOU EXPECT TOMORROW NIGHT? "This is always the best racing in NASCAR; that's all I can tell you. I don't make predictions. To me watching it, this is best racing in NASCAR."
JON WOOD-20-Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Ford F-150
YOU FINISHED THE FIRST PRACTICE SESSION WITH THE SECOND FASTEST TIME. "It's a very satisfying feeling to know that all my frustrations my last year in trucks weren't my own doing, so to speak. I didn't think I forgot how to drive these things in one year. We went to Daytona and we were fast and we're really fast here, and this is a start-up team. It just goes to show the potential for later on in the year and what these two trucks are capable of. When these trucks drive right, anybody can drive them and mine's right."
LIKE MARK MARTIN, YOU ARE ONLY RUNNING A LIMITED SCHEDULE IN THE TRUCK SERIES. IS IT MORE FUN WHEN RACING IN A SERIES WHEN IT'S NOT YOUR PRIMARY FOCUS? "It's a lot fun. It's a little bit more laid back, but by the same token, you take it just as seriously as you would the Busch race that will be on Saturday. It's just the atmosphere in the truck series is a lot more user friendly. You come here, do your practice sessions, race and go home, and there's not a lot of extra stuff to go along with it. It's what the Cup Series was 20 years ago. It's cool to be able to do it once in a while."
WITH A LACK OF OWNER'S POINTS, IS THERE MORE PRESSURE BECAUSE YOU NEED TO QUALIFY THE TRUCK TO GET IN THE RACE? "It's intense in qualifying, obviously, but it's also gratifying to know that I have a truck capable of winning. Pretty much all of the pressure is on me and not what my truck is capable of. It's one thing to be frustrated because you missed a corner, but it's another thing to be frustrated because your truck can't get through the corner. Right now it's pretty much all up to me."
WHAT KIND OF RACING DO YOU EXPECT TOMORROW NIGHT? "It's like Wayne Auton's (Craftsman Trucks Series Director) famous words: Now that Daytona is over with, let's get on with the season. That's kind of the way it is. Daytona is so different than anywhere else. Here, we want to qualify up front and stay there. We want to have good pit stops. At Daytona it really didn't matter, but for the rest of the year that's what's going to count."
DO YOU NEED TO COMPROMISE BETWEEN A QUALIFYING SETUP AND A RACE SETUP TO MAKE SURE YOU GET IN THE RACE? "We won't have a qualifying setup particularly this week. We did at Daytona, but some guy form Ma and Pa's garage on the farm could out-qualify you at Daytona just because of certain circumstances, so we pulled out all of the stops. Here we will be in race trim pretty much and just put tape on the nose and go, as will all the other guys. I feel confident that we can beat the three trucks we need to beat on time to get in, and now we can focus on racing."