ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 51 Zyclara Graceway Pharmaceuticals Toyota Tundra, Billy Ballew Motorsports Starting Position: 2nd How is your Tundra handling? "It's really good in race trim for tomorrow so I'm really excited about the race tomorrow. We made...
ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 51 Zyclara Graceway Pharmaceuticals Toyota Tundra,
Billy Ballew Motorsports
Starting Position: 2nd
How is your Tundra handling? "It's really good in race trim for tomorrow so I'm really excited about the race tomorrow. We made a qualifying run there in practice and we were like fifth or sixth. We weren't as good as we wanted to be and we made a few adjustments there and they were perfect -- absolutely perfect. I couldn't have asked for the truck to dive in any better than what it did right there. Really happy with all of the guys on the Graceway Pharmaceuticals Toyota Tundra team. They've been working their butts off. We had three weeks off and they didn't go to the beach or go on vacation. They worked all three weeks and tried to make our program better and that's what it's going to take to try and run for a championship because everybody else is doing the same thing. I'm just proud of all of the hard work that all of these guys put in."
What kind of a race do you think we'll see tomorrow afternoon? "I expect more long green-flag runs. In practice I even practiced getting on pit road just incase we have a green-flag stop. I don't know what to expect, but I just want to be prepared for whatever we run into."
Do you feel like this is a track where you can overtake Todd Bodine in the points? "Yeah, I'm just tired of being second. Second in points, second here, second here last year. Hopefully we can get over that hurdle and maybe get back to victory lane. We looked at the data and saw that last year and for the last few years that short track racing has not exactly been Todd's forte. He's tended to run well at the mile-and-a-half and two-mile race tracks and hasn't run that great at the short tracks. They've been really good here in practice so I'm sure they'll be good this weekend. They're good every weekend -- that's why they've won a championship and they're running for another one. Our truck is good. It's really good. It's much better than the truck we had last year here and ran second with. We made a mock run in practice and we were just okay, but in race trim I was really happy with my truck. It seemed like it stayed good for a long time which I think is going to be important tomorrow. I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow."
Will you approach tomorrow's race any differently with rain possibly in the forecast tomorrow? "We don't. We just go and race. Really, you try and lead all the laps. It's a 200 lap race and we want to lead all of them and if it rains and we're leading then that's okay. Our focus is to go out and run as good as we possibly can, not make any mistakes. We're obviously racing for a championship so we've got to be mindful of that, but at the same time we want to win races because that's the way to score the most points and continue to try and chase down Todd (Bodine) and get those 50 points back."
How much has the track changed from last year to this year? "I haven't noticed anything really. I think the bumps might have gotten a little bit worse, but as far as everything else it doesn't seem to be much different. All of the same characteristics seem to be here. The track is really fast. The groove is two-wide. You can run two-wide pretty easily. You can run the bottom or the middle. I played around with that in practice and moved around and seemed to be able to find speed in both areas. I think it's the same old Iowa Speedway. I think it's going to put on a great race and I think the fans are going to see a good show."
BRIAN ICKLER, No. 18 Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Starting Position: 4th
How was your qualifying lap? "We were a little free center-off the first lap and kind of probably got down there a little too hard in one and two and tried to get back to the gas a little too early and it just didn't stick. We've got a really good truck, that's what we're here for."
How was your truck during today's practice sessions? "Really good in practice. We got it driving really good and then it started off a little free and just kept tightening it up and tightening it up. I'm happy."
TIMOTHY PETERS, No. 17 Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing
Starting Position: 8th
How was your qualifying lap? "The way we rolled off the trailer today our Toyota Tundra was a handful in both practices today, but Jeff Hensley (crew chief) and all the guys on this Red Horse Racing team did a great job to get it better in qualifying so now it's time to go to work in the race and last all 200 laps."
What do you expect for tomorrow night's race and how did you prepare for it in today's practices? "To be honest with you, during both practices today every time that we would run a lap the truck would do something different. It was hard for me to describe it to Jeff (Hensley, crew chief). During the last practice until the time we qualified they found something wrong with the truck arms being in a bind so they fixed that and to be honest with you I wish the qualifying was the beginning of the first practice so we could go back and work on it again. But, Jeff has been around a long time -- he knows what's going on so I'm not doubting anything whatsoever. The guys on pit road do a great job every week we're at the race track and just looking forward to getting our Toyota Tundra upfront tomorrow."
TODD BODINE, No. 30 Germain.com Toyota Tundra, Germain Racing
Starting Position: 9th
How was your qualifying lap? "I think we had a shot at the pole. The second lap was the money lap and it broke loose on me in the middle of one and two and I didn't get the lap when it counted. But, we've got a great Tundra for tomorrow and I'm not too worried about it. It should be a top-10 spot. It's good enough. We are definitely a lot better than last year."
JUSTIN LOFTON, No. 7 VisitPit.com Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing
Starting Position: 11th
How was your qualifying lap? "The truck was alright. The guys did a really good job all day in practice and I think it had a little more out there that I didn't get it. I'm just looking forward to a good strong race tomorrow and I really hope to get a top-five or top-10. It would be good for us right now."
MIKE SKINNER, No. 5 PC Miler Toyota Tundra, Randy Moss Motorsports
Starting Position: 15th
How was your qualifying lap? "It was horrible. Our truck was just absolutely terrible in qualifying trim. It's not as bad in race trim. I felt like in race trim that we could probably keep up. I don't know how good it is. I know it's the same truck I had here last year, but you couldn't get me to testify to that because this doesn't drive anywhere near like the truck did last year."
STEVE WALLACE, No. 15 Toyota of Des Moines Toyota Tundra, Billy Ballew
Starting Position: 18th
How is your truck handling? "When we unloaded the Toyota of Des Moines Toyota was not very good. We struggled all day long. After practice we tried to make everything as identical as we could to the 51 (Aric Almirola) truck and we did and we still qualified really bad. Just been struggling for speed every since we unloaded. The thing hasn't drove bad at all, but it's just slow. I think it will be good in the race. We've just got a pretty short race and a long way to go."
What did you do in practice today to prepare for tomorrow's race? "I ran probably the most laps of anybody here today and that was only because we weren't handling real well. We were making a lot of runs and a lot of changes trying to get the thing to handle the best we could, but it still wasn't very good there at the end of practice. We changed a lot of stuff -- a bunch of springs and shocks. You name it we changed it so we can cross our fingers and hope for the best tomorrow."
DAVID STARR, No. 81 Zachry Toyota Tundra, Randy Moss Motorsports
Starting Position: 23rd
How was your qualifying lap? "The first lap I was extremely loose and then the second lap one and two I drove it down in there and it stuck and I was able to get back to the gas and it was awesome and I was like, 'This is going to be a good lap.' And then I think I messed up. I drove down into three real deep and the thing came out from underneath me and I got loose and pretty much killed our lap. We weren't very good in practice and I feel like from what I felt in qualifying hopefully we'll be good for the race."
What issues did you face with your Tundra in practice? "We were just really loose. Loose into the corners, loose into one bad and we can fix getting into the corner but right before the center when you really have to turn the steering wheel I'd get loose right there and then you'd have to turn the wheel to the right at the critical point where you have to turn left. To fix the looseness it made it too tight where it wouldn't turn from the center off so we've just been going back and forth and just never really found that happy medium. We were either tight or loose so we changed everything again after the second practice. We've got our work cut out for us but hopefully we can get out of here with a good finish and keep our momentum up."
-source: toyota motorsports