Two Day NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Test Concludes at Rockingham Speedway
ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Dec. 12, 2007) -- Five teams from the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series turned up for a two-day test session at the newly reopened Rockingham Speedway.
Johnny Benson, driver of the No. 23 Excide Batteries Toyota Tundra was the most experienced driver at Rockingham Speedway participating in the test. The 2002 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rockingham race winner was back at the speedway to test new engine components for his truck and to work on different set-ups that are more time consuming to try during a race weekend.
Four time Truck Series race winner, David Starr tested his Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra at Rockingham to help reacquaint himself with his old team -- the team he also raced for during the 2006 season.
Three Truck Series rookies also joined the two veterans during over the two day period. Justin Marks attended the test driving for Germain Racing, Phillip McGilton driving the No. 22 for Bill Davis Racing and Donnie Lia driving the No. 59 Harris Trucking entry all turned numerous laps in their Toyotas. All three drivers were excited to get the opportunity to run laps at the fast, one-mile track.
Following are selected quotes from each of the drivers attending the two day test session:
Johnny Benson -- No. 23 Bill Davis Racing Toyota
"I've always loved this race track. It is the same old Rockingham, it's bumpy, you slide around and stuff but man I have always loved this place it is way cool."
"I think the truck series would but on an excellent race here - they seem to put on great shows here no matter the series so I think a truck race would be awesome."
"The ARCA race here is going to be very cool. I am not sure if I can race in it but it would be fun to come watch. I really do hope the fans will come out and watch it."
"They are throwing a different restrictor plate spacer on us next year to slow us down, so we worked on that a lot to try and figure where that will put us as far as chassis set-ups with less power. It is just to try and give us a heads up on what the engine department needs and what we need to do with the chassis to compensate for it."
"I think it was a good test, we did a bunch to the chassis that we normally don't do or don't have time to do and we were just curious how it would work. You know normally when you go test it is a lot of different things you want to do, this or that but we tried something just totally different, something that you may not normally think about or just different areas of the truck that you just might not change at the track that is time consuming."
David Starr -- Red Horse Racing Toyota
"I love Rockingham, it is a great race track, I grew up watching a lot of great races on television here and I've seen a lot of fantastic finishes. It's just a shame that the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series never got the chance to race here it would have been one heck of a race. All of the other NASCAR series put on a heck of a show here and I know the truck would to. Great place, it's got a lot of history and to be here and to be able to test here is really cool."
"It's a great place to test, we're working on a lot of suspension stuff -- you always heard this place would wear out a lot of tires but it's not bad on tires, actually you can run about 30-35 laps on a set of tires."
"We have learned a lot of stuff; it's been good for our team, Red Horse Racing. We've learned so much we could quit right now but we still have a couple more hours to go. It's a great race track and a great place to test and we are going to benefit from it."
"We're working on suspension stuff and educating ourselves on stuff we can learn and hopefully take to other tracks."
"I wish Rockingham was on our 2008 schedule but hopefully in the future we will see it on the Truck Series schedule."
Justin Marks -- Germain Racing Toyota
"This place is awesome, probably my new favorite track. Like my second or third lap this morning in the race car I was thinking I have got to come back here and run the ARCA race -- it's a lot of fun. It's one of those tracks that is really rewarding when you get a good lap time because you really work for it, it's definitely a drivers track -- it's bumpy and you really have to get up on the wheel to get a good time out of it and that is the type of track I love."
"I think the ARCA race is going to be awesome, I think it is going to be a difficult race because you will really have to show patients and respect the place but I definitely want to came back and be a part of it."
"The test was about 30% learning about the bump compliancy of the trucks and how the truck handles over the bumps and 70% for me to just get the opportunity to work with my team for next year and just get two solid days working with my crew chief Jason Overstreet."
"I got a couple of races under my belt at the end of last season but I am about to campaign for Rookie of the Year in the Truck Series so it is just a good opportunity to be working with the guys I am going to be working with all year and really get to know them and really work on developing that communication thing with Jason."
Phillip McGilton -- No. 22 Bill Davis Racing Toyota
"I really like this track. This is the first time I ran here since I came here with Andy Hillenburg's FastTrack Driving School a couple of years ago and this is my first time back."
"I went through FastTrack here a couple of years ago with one of the three day schools and he [Andy Hillenburg] was one of the guys that helped me get started in racing and I owe a lot of thanks to him for giving me the chance to get the experience and get out there."
"It's a little bumpy in a couple of spots but that is good for what we are trying to achieve testing. I had a really good time with it, it's a lot of fun, it is kind of a challenging little track, kind of tricky to get around so it is really good for testing you have to really be on your game and hit your marks and stuff to get around here good."
Donnie Lia -- No. 59 Harris Trucking Toyota
"I really like Rockingham; it's a lot of fun. I like the bumps and the speed and the banking -- I am really enjoying it."
"We're just making changes set-up wise so I can get a feel of what different things do to the feel of the truck and so I can get accustomed to the way these things drive."
"We are running really good but everybody is trying different things I know some are running with next year's power packages and everyone's got different tires so I don't think you can really compare the times here today. But throwing the times away and just looking at how the truck feels and what we've learned I am really happy with today and it is really valuable for me to come and run laps, this place is so cool I'm really enjoying it."
-credit: rockingham speedway