Report from Motorsport News International
NASCAR Public Relations
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (Oct. 12, 1997) Quotes following the Dodge California Truckstop 300 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Mesa Marin Raceway:
DAVE FUGE Crew Chief No. 61 IWX/Dole Chevrolet
"This is just great. I've been on this team really hard. I said if we wanted it (a win) we'd have to work harder on it. We've been running in the top-10 and I felt real bad about Sears Point. I got on everybody's tail about not working hard enough, you know, and they worked hard here and they worked hard in California at the test and they worked harder here. This is just a great feeling. It's been a long time since I've won and it's just great."
STACY COMPTON No. 86 Valvoline Ford
"You can't say enough for David Hodson, Troy Selburg and all these guys. They put a great truck out here. I made a little mistake in qualifying and we should have been up a little bit closer to the front. We've got a great program. Peter Guild has a great motor program. We can't say enough. It's a great weekend for us. We needed this. We're on a pretty good streak. We've had some good runs in the last few weeks and this is what we needed this. We knew we had a good truck in practice and all we needed to do was get a good qualifying spot. We didn't do that. We sort of messed up in qualifying, but we had a great truck in practice. In these long slick races, we've done awful well in them. That's my kind of race. Troy (Selburg) and them set the truck up for the long runs. It was just a good weekend for us."
MIKE BLISS No. 2 Team ASE Ford
"We were just a little bit tight in the center, and up high - I just couldn't run up high. It was just too loose. We just got loose at the end there and I couldn't get on the throttle."
RICH BICKLE No. 17 Sears DieHard Chevrolet
"We didn't have the right set-up today. I thought we were good yesterday in practice on the bottom. But today, the track went away and I had to run on the top and that made it tight. But we gained points on the 24 truck (Sprague) and the 80 truck (Ruttman) and the 16 truck (Hornaday), I guess. It was a positive day. We got another top-5 and this is what it's all about. It was too bad about last week because right now we'd be right in it."
RICK CRAWFORD No. 14 Circle Bar Motel & RV Park Ford
"Why did we have to stop for five minutes? Let's just run the whole 300 (laps). I had fun today. I had a great truck. It did what I wanted it to do. I have to thank all the guys on the crew for putting up with me. I didn't have a crew chief this week. (Roland Wlodyka is still in North Carolina putting the finishing touches on Crawford's new truck for Fontana. The driver has to know what he wants to run, so the crew chief was in the truck most of the day. I appreciate my crew. It was great spotting, great pit work and great preparation of the truck. We needed this. This turns it around, and now we've got three race tracks that I like and a brand new truck coming."
JIMMY HENSLEY No. 43 Cummins Engine Company Dodge
"We ran strong all day, but we blew a tire on the last lap of the race. I've been down that road already this year and it cost me a win -- this time it cost me a top-5. I thought we'd have something for them, but we lost the right front tire. Managing a top-10 isn't bad for 52 (Hensley celebrated a birthday Saturday."
JACK SPRAGUE NO. 24 Quaker State Chevrolet
"We feel real lucky to come out of here with a top-10 finish and the points lead. The first half, the truck was just way too tight and wouldn't turn. Then I got a lap down just before half-time and I thought 'Oh, dear' it's going to be a long day. Dennis (Connor, crew chief) and the guys worked miracles on the break and we got a yellow we needed to get the lap back. Once I was on the lead lap I just concentrated on having a good rhythm and a good finish. I'm really looking forward to the last three races on the big tracks."
TONY RAINES No. 19 Pennzoil Dodge
"We were having motor problems. It felt like something in the valves. I saw it smoking when I let off the gas, fortunately it held on until the end of the race. The handling was much better in the second half than the first. We made some changes at the break and we went in the right direction. I am looking forward to the next race in Fontana."
CHUCK BOWN No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford
"When the tires give up, that's the key to who was good and who wasn't. And I guess I was mediocre. We weren't near as good as a lot of them in the later part of the first half and the second half. We were better in the second half, comparatively. We made huge changes during the half-way break. We made it better. I think we finished 14th, one lap down. It was just very competitive, and several others just had a little bit better combination than I did."
KEVIN CYWINSKI No. 18 DANA Corporation Dodge
"We ran a good race but we ran out of gas just before the yellow flag flew and got a penalty for pitting early. We lost a lap and just couldn't get it back today. During the first half the chassis was off a bit, but we made some changes at the break. The DANA crew sent me out with a good truck for the second half, and I tried not to tear up the truck."
JOE RUTTMAN No. 80 LCI International Ford
"We were way off in the first half, and that really messed us up. I wouldn't have guessed we would have missed the chassis that much, but we certainly did. We could just run so far, and I think we'd kill the left rear. I think that's what killed us the last 40 or 50 laps. Randy (Goss) changed it, and we were better in the second half. I think we diagnosed it so that now when we come back we'll be that much better right from the git-go. So we learned something out of the deal. It was not a complete bust. Randy completely changed the set-up so now we've got two to compare with. We should be a lot better."
BOB KESELOWSKI No. 29 Mopar Performance Dodge
"We were moving up and up in the first half, and I thought we had a shot at the top-10, but we cut a tire on debris in the second half and lost a lap. The flat happened so late in the race that we weren't going to be able to make it up. We really weren't that bad today but when you cut a tire there's not much you can do."
RON HORNADAY No. 16 NAPA Brakes Chevrolet
"I don't know what it is three weeks in a row, we've had trouble with the rear end. The truck was great I could go where I wanted to go and lay back when I wanted to. I don't know what to say except we're going to come back."