Atlanta: Toyota teams race notes, quotes

Kyle Busch (second) was the highest-finishing Tundra driver in Saturday's 200-mile NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Aric Almirola (third), Steve Wallace (fourth) and Todd Bodine (fifth) also posted...

Kyle Busch (second) was the highest-finishing Tundra driver in Saturday's 200-mile NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Aric Almirola (third), Steve Wallace (fourth) and Todd Bodine (fifth) also posted top-five finishes for Toyota at the 1.5-mile Georgia oval.

Tundra drivers Timothy Peters (seventh), Brad Sweet (12th), Tayler Malsam (13th), Mike Skinner (14th), David Starr (15th), Stacy Compton (19th) and Justin Lofton (20th) were also in the field.

Bodine leads Peters by four points (340-336) in the unofficial NCWTS point standings after two of 25 races, with Almirola (fourth), Busch (five) and Malsam (ninth) also in the top-10.

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KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Finishing Position: 2nd

Do you think you had anything for Kevin Harvick at the end of the race? "That was about all that we had. We gave it everything there. That's a good run for us. A solid run for Kyle Busch Motorsports and these guys- they deserve it. They've worked so hard over the winter time and have done a great job. I really want to thank Toyota, Heluva Good, Race Trac Convenient Stores for being on the back and M&M's and everybody that's made this so fun so far this year. We're looking for some more funding of course. That proves that we're out here to run good. We definitely want to make sure that we're a testament in this sport and that we do the best we can week in and week out. And of course, I want to say: 'Hey' to all of the kids up there in the stands that were here on part of the Kyle Busch Foundation. That's cool to have them here and sorry we came up a little bit short there. Maybe we'll get another one here before the year is out."

What do you need to work on to make your better? "We just need to work in the aero department I think a little bit and get some mechanical grip out of it. We just don't quite have as much downforce as the Chevrolets. Rick (Ren, Kyle Busch Motorsports competition director) he knows a lot about what the Chevrolets have for numbers and we're just not there yet with the Toyota stuff. We'll get it there hopefully and if not then we'll try to outrace them any way we can."

Are you conscious of your ownership role when you're out there racing? "I wasn't really giving a pep talk but I was just trying to give some ideas for Tayler (Malsam) to try while we were out there. With maybe driving a little bit harder into the corners and making sure that he wasn't getting bogged down with momentum behind people and stuff like that. It just looked like he was mired back in the teens all day. I had kind of seen that so I would tell my spotter under caution and he would go and talk to Tayler's spotter. Hopefully it helped him a little bit. It looked like he did. He got better and their truck got better handling and they got up to about seventh and I was pretty pleased with that. Actually I just found out that if the race would've went green the rest of the way and some of us would've had to pit under green then they would've made it and had a shot to probably win the race. Unfortunately, it didn't pan out for them. I'm always trying to do my part and give some advice in some areas that maybe he can use and hopefully he used it. We'll be doing that more throughout the year."

What happened at the start of the race when you got some damage to your truck? "At the start of the race I was going down the frontstretch and (Matt) Crafton pulled low underneath me and made me three- wide getting into (turn) one- no big deal. But when I got down in there I don't know if Crafton went up or if the 33 (Ron Hornaday Jr.) came down but I got squeezed in the middle. They were joining together and I was still in the middle so I kind of got squeezed and caused a little bit of right front damage to our truck- no big deal. Unfortunately it hurt (Ron) Hornaday's day I guess. I don't know if his left rear went down or what happened."

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ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 51 Graceway Pharmaceuticals Toyota Tundra, Billy Ballew Motorsports
Finishing Position: 3rd

How was your race today? "We had a really good Toyota Tundra today. It was really fast. We struggled there at the beginning. Our truck was a little bit too low. We had to come in on one of those stops and raise it up. I think we fell back to 18th or 20th but we came right back to the front. All the guys on this Graceway Pharmaceuticals truck today, man, they did an awesome job. They worked their guts out. We had a really good truck right off the hauler right at the beginning of practice, we just were never good enough. It wouldn't roll around the corner quite the way I needed it to all day and (Kevin) Harvick's truck just did that."

Did you think you had a shot at passing Kyle Busch at the end if the race had stayed green? "It's hard to say. I think our truck was a little bit better than his I think on the long run. We just got tight and that was the biggest thing that we fought, we just got tight. If we could've kept it freed up long enough I think we would've had a shot at it."

Are you happy with your team's performance so far this year? "We're consistent -- top-fives is what we need to do. We're racing for a championship this year. This year's mindset is completely different than last year but at the same time we want to go win races. That's the way to win a championship is score the most points. Richie Waters (crew chief) and all of the guys at Billy Ballew Motorsports have worked their guts out over the winter to make our program better and keep up. We still got our homework to do. We just weren't as good as we needed to be on the long runs, we would get really tight. I'm real proud of everybody on this Graceway Pharmaceuticals Toyota Tundra. We had a good truck today."

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STEVE WALLACE, No. 15 Red Top Collector Car Auction Toyota Tundra, Billy Ballew Motorsports
Finishing Position: 4th

How was your first race in the Camping World Truck Series? "It was good. We had a good Toyota Tundra today. We had a really good truck. We just kind of went a little too far on that last adjustment and got it a little too tight. We pulled some air out of those front tires and got it down there on the splitter a little bit. After that, the truck started to come back to life. I had my foot off the brake there on the last pit stop. The tires spun and we lost a lot of spots there. All in all, it was a good day. Billy Ballew got third and fourth place finishes in his home town. It's a cool day."

What did you notice about driving these trucks? "These things draft really, really hard. When you get a someone on your right-rear quarter panel you tend to get really, really loose. Some of those things I learned today. These things are definitely a blast to drive, man. They're a lot of fun. Hopefully, we'll be able to do it again."

Can you talk about your race today? "It was a really good start. I have to thank Billy Ballew for this opportunity. We had a lot of fun out there today. We got to lead a couple laps and run up front all day long. We just made a couple adjustments that tightened the truck up a little too much towards the end. That kind of took our shot away from winning. And I left my foot off the brake on the last stop and lost a bunch of spots there. It was all right." ***

TODD BODINE, No. 30 The Night Train Toyota Tundra, Germain Racing
Finishing Position: 5th

Can you talk about your race today? "We had a really good truck up to that point (contact with Matt Crafton). When I got in the wall, it pushed the back end in and pushed the quarter panel up and gave us too much side force if you can believe it. And the truck was just way too tight after that. We had a great Tundra. The guys did an awesome job. There in the beginning, we didn't really have anything for Kevin (Harvick) or Kyle (Busch), but we were going to adjust it. I think we could've run with them. I don't know if we could've beat them, this is the 'Chevy Silverado benefit series' right now. They've got all the rules going their way and got all the horsepower. We're proud to be driving this Toyota Tundra and proud of what Toyota has done for the sport. We know there's a lot of customers out there that will come back and be very proud to be driving a Toyota."

How important is it to get off to a good start to the season? "That's the key to any series, any points race. I've come out of Daytona 38th before and it's a long hard struggle to get to the top. Normally, you never get to the top. You get to the top-five, that's about it. It's a great way to start the season, for sure."

Can you talk about the incident with Matt Crafton? "It was racing hard. Matt (Crafton) got down there and got loose and I was already committed to the outside of him. When I went outside, I was tight on him. When I got tight on him, I knew it was going to make him loose, so I turned up the race track, but it was too late and he got into me. He came over and apologized and I know he didn't mean to do it, but that's four times that that's happened with him- just him and us- not to mention the five guys that he's gotten into. I know (Ron) Hornaday is pretty upset with him. We'll just go to the next race."

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TIMOTHY PETERS, No. 17 K&N Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing
Finishing Position: 7th

BRAD SWEET, No. 90 Great Clips Toyota Tundra, Stringer Motorsports
Finishing Position: 12th

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TAYLER MALSAM, No. 56 One Eighty Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Finishing Position: 13th

How was your race today? "We were just loose all day. The first stint we were real bad. We worked on it all day and got it better, but it was just a little too late. We had a good run going right after the 100-lap mark. We had tires and were able to pick a lot of trucks off. If it had gone green all the way to the end, we would have been in good shape."

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MIKE SKINNER, No. 5 International Trucks/Monaco RV Toyota Tundra, Randy Moss Motorsports with HT
Finishing Position: 14th

DAVID STARR, No. 24 Zachry Toyota Tundra, Randy Moss Motorsports with HT
Finishing Position: 15th

STACY COMPTON, No. 60 SafeAuto Insurance Toyota Tundra, Wyler Racing
Finishing Position: 19th

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JUSTIN LOFTON, No. 7 visitPIT.com Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing
Finishing Position: 20th

How was your race? "It was disappointing but we showed we can run with those guys. I'm real proud of my team. We are building. We had a good truck. I feel like we could've finished within the top-five."

-source: toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Kevin Harvick , Stacy Compton , Matt Crafton , Timothy Peters , Aric Almirola , Justin Lofton , Tayler Malsam , Steve Wallace , Brad Sweet , Kyle Busch
Teams Germain Racing , Kyle Busch Motorsports , Red Horse Racing