Sprague clinches third driver's crown
Kvapil takes like a rock and rookie of the year honors
JACK SPRAGUE, NO. 24 NETZERO SILVERADO (31st, after crashing with Scott Riggs on lap 27, clinches unprecedented third NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver's championship): "I had it planned a little differently. In a perfect world, we would have won the race too. I never believed we'd finish the race wrecked and loaded on the trailer."
ON THE ACCIDENT WITH SCOTT RIGGS: "We were racing three wide down the back straight. Riggs was on the bottom, Jon Wood was in the middle and I was on the outside. I guess Riggs thought he had cleared Wood and moved up a little. They made contact and that sent Riggs right up into me. It was a darn shame to wreck that early in the race because we both had trucks capable of winning."
ON WINNING THE CHAMPIONSHIP: "Like I said, things didn't turn out quite like I thought, but this is still pretty cool. We really wanted this third championship badly. No one else has ever done that in the Truck Series and we wanted to be the first ones to do that. We also wanted to reward NetZero with their first championship, to reward them for believing in us. We didn't win the race today, but we won something a whole lot more important."
RICK HENDRICK, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS TEAM OWNER: "It's great. I've never been able to be here. I've been sick at the other two and I didn't get to celebrate at the track with them, so it's pretty good to be able to be here on one of them; that's the neat part."
DENNIS CONNOR, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 NETZERO SILVERADO: "I'm glad it's over. Not really a good season. It turned out OK, but it had the makings of being an absolutely spectacular season for us. I think nobody would deny we should have won about 12 races, but we succeeded in taking ourselves out of seven or eight of them. By our standards I guess we wound up really fortunate to have come out on the top of the championship deal. But it wasn't a stellar season as far as I'm concerned."
DENNIS SETZER, NO. 46 ACXIOM/COMPUTER ASSOCIATES SILVERADO (fourth): "I'm proud of this team. We came together a lot this year as a team with this Axciom Silverado, and I think we're ready to go racing in 2002. I just can't wait for the season to get here right now. We started out fourth, then we eased our way back and made a few adjustments. We had to get into that safe, comfortable place to ride and be prepared to race them at the end. We were in a position to do that. We got to second there and raced the 14 truck hard for the lead for a little while. Those Dodges and Fords, it looks like NASCAR's got the light shining on them right now. We will race them as hard as we can and when we get to the short tracks we'll kick their butts. It was a very uneventful race for us. I slipped through the pits one time, messed the guys up on the stop. It was a great race for us; the guys did a great job."
TRAVIS KVAPIL, NO. 60 CAT RENTAL STORES SILVERADO (seventh, clinches Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors and Chevrolet's $50,000 Like a Rock Award for completing the most laps in 2001): "We qualified second, we had a really good truck in Happy Hour. We had a really fast truck, we were looking forward to a good race. But we accomplished all our goals this year. We finished in the top five, took Rookie of the Year, won a race, and won Chevrolet's Like a Rock Award. All in all, it's a pretty good year; we can't feel bad running seventh."
ON WINNING THE LIKE A ROCK AWARD: "It's super. We accomplished all our goals we set for ourselves for the year. It's the third straight win for the Addington Racing Cat Reantal Stores team. That speaks a thousand words as to how good this team is. They did it with two different drivers. That shows how good the guys are back at the shop preparing these trucks for me every week. The Hendrick motors, they're obviousy pretty durable. They stand all the miles we put on them. It's really cool for this team to do it three years in a row. it's a big award for the guys; they take a lot of pride in it. I'm just glad I was able to drive the Silverado and just keep it out of trouble the best I could all year long."
DID YOU KNOW IN THE RACE ON LAP 57 THAT YOU'D WON IT? "We had it figured out beforehand, but it didn't cross my mind the entire race. I didn't really think about it until afterwards. You're pretty focused with what's going on in the race and you got a mind set on what you've go to do to try to win the race. It's pretty cool. We finished in the top five in points, we won rookie of the year, won the Like a Rock award, won the race in Texas, so we accomplished all our goals for the year."
CREW CHIEF, NO, 60 CAT RENTAL STORES SILVERADO:
ON WINNING THE LIKE A ROCK AWARD: "It really says a lot for this race team to have won this three years in a row with two different drivers. It just goes to show the dedication that everybody has in doing their job, doing it right, looking for problems, making sure they don't happen. A lot of that's because we went to a lot of trouble to show these guys the right way to do things when we started here and they've all taken it upon themselves that that's part of their job now and their dedicated to what they do. The big thing is that Addington Racing has more of a family atmosphere with all the guys. We don't have any turnover in employees; that's what enables you to do things like this."
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH THIS TEAM? "Four years, the longest I've ever worked anywhere. I was with Ricky Craven, we won Rookie of the Year in Winston Cup in 1995. He drove for Larry Hedrick and Kodiak was our sponsor. It's a personal, gratifying thing. It's like a lot of these kids who work on this race team are late model guys, they didn't know anything about racing trucks and I feel like I've kind of been the teacher; it feels good."
JM INGLEBRIGHT, NO. 02 JELLY BELLY SILVERADO (eighth): "I'm ecstatic! We finally pulled together a race. The Jelly Belly crew had real good pit stops. The whole day we went forwards and not backwards so we're feeling real good after this race. For some reason I didn't have many friends out there. There were multiple times I had to back out of the throttle to get back in line with the draft. If you run side-by-side, the other trucks will catch you real quick. It was apparent that we had to line up in a draft to stay with the leaders. Happy Hour didn't do me any good. We had a good race setup for the weekend. My spotter, John Dillon, a real good friend of mine and one heck of a racecar driver, kept me calm and helped me out with the draft. Rodney, my crew chief also helped me with the draft. He has a lot of experience with the draft. It was a team effort. I started driving the truck too hard in the corners and heated up the right-front tire up. It tightened up the truck a bit and I backed up. This is a good finish and a great way to end the season."
MATT CRAFTON, NO. 88 XESIGHTING SYSTEMS SILVERADO (ninth, ran with a Hendrick Motorsports engine after destroying his in qualifying): "I like that horsepower; that's definitely a good thing to have, especially in a place like this. We had a top-10 finish; I thought we had a good top-five truck. We just got hung up by someone and got kind of pinched -- I won't mention any names. I had to jump out of the gas and when I jumped out of the gas I got freight-trained and I had to chase down a group of trucks. We worked up back to ninth and Ricky (Hendrick) and I worked real good together, we drafted and caught that pack back again. I was kind of looking forward to a green/white/checker, but it didn't happen. We picked up one spot, I thought we could pick up more."
ON THE TRAFFIC: "It was awesome. It was nice having all that horsepower racing in a pack. Hopefully we'll have a good sponsor announcement in a couple of weeks so we can work on our motor program and have a top-five truck every week."
RICKY HENDRICK, NO. 17 GMAC SILVERADO (10th): "It was junk. We missed it. It was one of those deals where we brought a truck here we thought was going to be really good and it turned out it was the worst one we had all year long. The guys did an incredible job and all you can do is learn. We're a new team and we're learning and we'll know never to do this ever again. We had a couple of incidents. Nearly wrecked on the last green flag lap with three to go, got sideways. I about wrecked a couple of times just coming off the turns, it was chattering, real tight. All I tried to do was to get to the bottom and come off without hitting the wall. I guess we did it, but we ended up 10th doing it."
1COY GIBBS, NO. 20 MBNA SILVERADO (14th): "I think we moved up to the front because everybody pitted. We really weren't that good. We struggled all day. We finished all right, there really weren't that many good guys (trucks) out there. I'd say there were about four that were half way decent, the rest were kind of struggling. I guess we were just struggling more than they were. I'm happy to beat the 90 because he blew up and we finished 10th in points. That's exciting, but I like Lance." ANY INCIDENTS? "I think someone hit me once. I got hit, I thought I got hit, I never know because of the air. I felt I got hit once and he may have hit me again. I thought I was going to wall it, but I kept it off. We just weren't very good. My fault, I just got run over because we didn't have a good setup."
1LANCE NORICK, NO. 90 AVENTIS BEHRING CHOICE SILVERADO (27th): "First blown engine this year. I don't know what happened. We've had good luck with motors all year. And it's the last race of the year and we're coming down for 10th place points battle with Coy. We put the Chevrolet where we needed to. We led a lap early, which got us a little bit out of track position, but we needed the points and we worked our way back up there to third at the end and the motor let loose. It's too bad. These guys on the Aventis Behring Chevrolet worked their butts off and the Chevrolet was running good and we'll be back next year."
<pre> POINT STANDINGS - FINAL: 1. Jack Sprague, Chevy 3670 2. Ted Musgrave, Dodge 3597 3. Joe Ruttman, Dodge 3570 4. Travis Kvapil, Chevy 3547 5. Scott Riggs, Dodge 3526 6. Ricky Hendrick, Chevy 3412 7. Terry Cook, Ford 3327 8. Rick Crawford, Ford 3320 9. Dennis Setzer, Chevy 3306 10. Coy Gibbs, Chevy 2875
MANUFACTURERS STANDINGS - FINAL:
1. Dodge 181 2. Chevy 159 3. Ford 116