JON WOOD-50-Eldon Ford F-150 (Qualified 17th) THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THAT YOU'VE SEEN THIS TRACK. "There are just some things that I'm getting used to. These are so much different from anything that I've ever driven, getting adjusted to this...
JON WOOD-50-Eldon Ford F-150 (Qualified 17th)
THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THAT YOU'VE SEEN THIS TRACK.
"There are just some things that I'm getting used to. These are so much different from anything that I've ever driven, getting adjusted to this Roush crowd is going to take some time. I think, especially the first time out here, the truck is still in one piece, I can say that that's an accomplishment."
DO YOU FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE WITH EACH LAP?
"Definitely, it's getting a lot easier every time that I've gone out." IS HAVING GREG BIFFLE HERE AN ASSET?
"He's been a big help. He's shown me where to run on the race track and what to feel and stuff like that. Now, we go into Happy Hour and see what we've got."
GREG BIFFLE-99-Eldon Ford F-150 (Qualified 8th)
A LOT HAS CHANGED SINCE YOU LAST RACED IN THIS SERIES.
"I'm having a lot of trouble getting back to the feel of what I want the truck to feel like. There's a big transition from front to back and side to side. I can tell that it has a higher weight and longer wheelbase. I'm trying to get acclimated to what it wants, trying different springs and swapping parts. We made a mistake in qualifying. I think we could have been in the top three, but we missed it by a little bit. I think we could have backed up the time we did in practice for sure. We made a little mistake, but I think we'll be good."
YOU COME BACK TO MEMPHIS AS THE DEFENDING POINTS CHAMPION BUT NOT THE DEFENDING EVENT WINNER. DOES THAT TAKE SOME OF THE PRESSURE OFF?
"Yeah. We just want to get a good run. I'd love to win here, but if we finish in the top four then I think that's going to be respectable. It looks like we're going to start in the top 10, so we're pretty happy about that."
THIS IS A ONE-RACE DEAL, SO DOES THAT MAKE IT MORE OF A LOW-KEYED WEEKEND?
"It's a little bit more low-keyed because I know my points aren't on line. We're still being pretty intense about it because we want to make it the best that we can. (Randy) Goss over here is no less intense than he is for a Busch race. We want to look decent on TV and look good for the truck teams."
YOU'RE NOT RACING FOR POINTS, SO WILL YOU BE MORE AGGRESSIVE ON THE TRACK TOMORROW?
"We talked about that, but not really. I think my driving style is kinda my driving style. I want to finish fifth or sixth if that's all my truck is worth than try some daredevil stuff to get third and wreck my truck in the process. Really, it's kind of like points racing where I won't be taking any more chances than I have to. I mostly want to bring the truck home in one piece and try to get a top five."
WHAT ABOUT THE STRATEGY THAT WILL COME INTO PLAY WITH THE TRUCK SERIES' RULES?
"That's what we're talking about now; two tires, when to stop. We can kind of roll the dice more in terms of pit strategy; it's OK to take some small chances like that. Still, there's only so much you do and the race will end up dictating a lot of our calls."
"HOW ABOUT BEING BACK IN THE TRUCK GARAGE?
"I see most of these guys when we have companion events, but to be back here competing is a lot of fun. I get to see everybody again and I think we may see some of the old rivalries pick up again tomorrow."
RICK CRAWFORD-14-Milwaukee Electric Tools Ford F-150 (Qualified 18th)
YOU MADE SOME WHOLESALE CHANGES TO THE TRUCK AFTER PRACTICE.
"With all the changes we made, we thought that we were going to go faster or slower, but we stayed about the same. Ray (Stonkus) and all of the guys have been working hard since we unloaded; I don't think we've spent five minutes away from the truck. We've made a lot of changes, but we haven't picked up on the speed. We're going to make some more changes before Happy Hour and see if we can't get closer. We just haven't seen a big difference in truck; it hasn't been reacting to the track. I'm having to make it perform on the race track, and if you do that, it won't last very long."
DOES THE NEW TIRE COMPOUND HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH THAT?
"No, it has something to do with the balance. All four corners, front to rear, we haven't hit on the combination that this truck likes. When we find out what the truck likes, we'll be in competition with everyone else."
TERRY COOK-29-TruckSeries.com Ford F-150 (Qualified 6th)
"We've had an interesting day to say the least. We were pretty good when we first unloaded in practice and we kept working on it and getting it better, but at the end of practice we had a motor problem. The guys really worked hard and I thought we were going to have to change it, but we never gave up and fixed the motor and went out and qualified sixth. We never got a sticker run in practice, so we didn't have a good idea of what it was going to do in qualifying trim. The first lap was a good lap, but the second lap, it was a little too free. I think that if we had a sticker run earlier, we definitely would have had a shot at the pole, but nevertheless, we're happy to qualify in the top 10 with the problems we had right there at the end of practice."
IS THE MOTOR PROBLEM RESOLVED OR WILL YOU STILL NEED TO CHANGE IT BEFORE TOMORROW?
"I think we're OK. We'll run it through Happy Hour and evaluate after that, but based on what I saw in qualifying, I think we'll be OK. I don't think we damaged it in any way."
CHAD CHAFFIN-84-Park City/Full Throttle Ford F-150 (Qualified 11th)
"It's not bad, it's exactly what we did in our mock run. It was a 43 (23.43 seconds), but it felt a little better than that. That's all we've got with the gear that we're running; it's just all it has wanted to do all day. I think we will have a good, solid truck for the race. I think that some of these guys just have good qualifying setups. Hopefully they'll lose a half-second, and we think we'll only give up a tenth or two in our race setup."
YOU'VE RACED HERE IN THE BUSCH CARS, BUT NEVER IN THE TRUCKS. ARE THERE ANY SIMILARITIES?
"They are a lot different, but it's not as significant as you would think. If you run only Busch cars, from week to week, you go from good-handling Busch cars to bad-handling Busch cars, so getting in a truck could be compared to as a little bit of an ill-handling Busch car. It's not that bad of a thing. If the two vehicles were handling perfect, there's quite a bit of a difference, yet there a lot of similarities."
YOU DROVE THIS TRUCK TO A TOP-FIVE FINISH AT NASHVILLE LAST YEAR.
"It's the same exact truck, so I know it's good. The Long Brothers own this truck and they do a fantastic job. I'm tickled to death to drive this truck, I really am. In the truck series, the way that their testing is set up, we're not allowed to test. For us, I live in Nashville and they're based out of Durham, so we couldn't even go to Greenville-Pickens to test. To just throw it all together, we're still disappointed but we can't kick ourselves too hard. To put it all together and be within three-tenths (of a second) of Jack Sprague and Joe Ruttman, that's not that bad. We're doing good, and we'll be even better tomorrow."
MORGAN SHEPHERD-21-Shepherd Racing Ford F-150 (Qualified 22nd)
THIS TRUCK IS LOGGING SOME SERIOUS MILES.
"This is the same one we raced in Texas and the same one we ran in Daytona. It's the same truck we've run all year. Our biggest problem right now is that we need a sponsor to keep bringing this truck to the track. We don't even have an engine up here. We borrowed an engine from Stan Hover. We need some money to operate with so that we can really go racing, but we feel we have a truck that can make it 200 laps tomorrow."