Ford 200 Post-Race Transcript
An Interview With:
MIKE HILLMAN, JR.
THE MODERATOR: We are joined in the media center by tonight's winner of the Ford 200, Todd Bodine.
You won here in 2005, your second time in Victory Lane. Tell us a little bit about your night.
TODD BODINE: Well, like Junior said, when we got to Victory Lane, lap 5, if you told us we were going to win this race, we would have laughed at you.
We didn't have a good truck at all. We missed it pretty bad, and our motto is never give up. And we don't. Junior took some big swings at it, set up air pressure and wedge and track bar and everything but the driver. Probably should have changed the driver, too.
And then second stop did a little bit of adjustments, third stop didn't do any. It was the best it needed to be at the end.
I think we probably had the second best truck. We wouldn't have beat Kyle if everybody had stayed on track, but we could have got to second, I think. That says a lot for this team and the attitude. We don't give up.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by tonight's winning crew chief as, Mike Hillman, Jr.
Tell us about your night.
MIKE HILLMAN, JR.: Todd basically touched on it. We were struggling at the beginning, and we made some big swings at it and made it a lot better. Some of the guys pitted the last time, and when Kyle came, we decided to stay out because that was the only chance we had to beat him.
We never give up. I'm just really proud of all these guys. They've done a heck of a job all year long. Great pit stops on Pit Road, great attitudes, go above and beyond anything you could ever ask a race team to do to make sure that we can be in Victory Lane.
Q: Todd, you said you were shocked that Ron lost the championship. Why is that?
TODD BODINE: Um, you know, the old adage that the fastest truck doesn't always win, that's the way it was tonight. Rick and Ron and the whole crew, everybody at KHI, they've done such a great job.
Q: How good can this race team be next year?
MIKE HILLMAN, JR.: I believe one of the strongest race teams in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series garage.
And we're going to come out next year with our guns blazing. Germain Racing is growing and doing things different. Me and Todd are going to stay where we are and argue with Senior to keep all our guys intact and make sure we got everybody we need and in place to compete for the championship next year.
It's all could haves, would haves and should haves, and we should have done it this week, but third is not bad. But that's not why we're here. We're here to be on the front stretch. We're here to win every race and win championships.
I think we proved tonight that we're back. We haven't finished out of the top five since Talladega, the last five races. We'll take this momentum, go home, work on our stuff all winter and come to Daytona ready to win two Daytona races in a row.
Q: How big is winning the season finale leading into next year?
TODD BODINE: Well, it's always big to win, first of all. That's what we go every week for. But it's nice to for the guys to walk around the shop in the wintertime with their chests bowed out.
Every week the winner is a winner for a week, and the next week there's another winner, and the next week there's another winner. Now you get a week off and that guy gets it for two weeks. Well, guess what, we get it for two months, three months, whatever it is. And it's important for the team. It's important for morale.
Our guys, like I said earlier, we don't ever give up. That's our motto. For our guys in that shop, this just proves it right here. Tonight is a great example of what Germain Racing is about. We should not have won this race. We did not have the best truck by any means. But the guys knew that their pit stops were going to count and make my job easier. I'd say probably between the three stops they picked up 12 spots or 15 spots. I mean, that's pretty incredible.
They know that. They know that they were a part of putting me in the position to do what I can do, and it's a team effort, and we go through the winter and we'll have our chests bowed out and we'll go to the Christmas party and we'll have fun and talk about our last win and how good it's going to be to go to Daytona and win another one.
Q: Mike, you've been around for a long time. Can you sort of digest or understand the pit decision of Rick Ren for four tires there?
MIKE HILLMAN, JR.: Rick Ren is a great crew chief. He is a great leader and does a great job with his guys. I would never second guess a decision he made. He'll probably second guess himself for a couple months, but they're champions. He's won championships. He was Johnny's crew chief when we battled them in '06. You know when you come to the garage you've got to battle Rick Ren and Ron Hornaday, and you can't question that decision.
You know, it looks the worst because it was only three points, but like I said earlier, there was a lot of could haves, should haves, would haves through the whole season for all of us. And you can't blame it on one pit stop. If they wouldn't have ran out of gas at Martinsville, he probably wouldn't have had to worry about who was going to be champion when we came down here.