CHAD CHAFFIN (No. 18 Dickies Dodge Ram) WHAT'S BIGGEST DIFFERENCE IN TRUCK SERIES FOR YOU? "When I was racing in the Busch cars, we were racing with teams that knew they didn't have a shot to win races. The emphasis was on qualifying good to...
CHAD CHAFFIN (No. 18 Dickies Dodge Ram)
WHAT'S BIGGEST DIFFERENCE IN TRUCK SERIES FOR YOU?
"When I was racing in the Busch cars, we were racing with teams that knew they didn't have a shot to win races. The emphasis was on qualifying good to make sure we made the races. Now that I'm with the truck series, the fun part is we're going to the tracks and trying to sit on poles and lead laps and win races and establish ourselves as one of the top teams. We finished last year 10th in points, so we're trying to move up and be a top-five team and a consistent winner."
WHAT'S YOUR OUTLOOK FOR MARTINSVILLE?
"I'm real excited about going to Martinsville. This year Bobby Hamilton Racing has made even a deeper commitment along with Dodge and Dickies. I'm seeing a new focus, not that we weren't focused last year. But last year Bobby had three teams and that's a lot to have under one roof. We had different challenges with Bobby trying to run for the championship and we were trying to get Bill Lester competitive. It kinda left the 18 team in limbo sometimes. Now there's a real commitment for us to win races. We've got new trucks and a lot more engineering and a lot more development is going into both teams. We're sharing a lot of information. I'm excited. I think we can be a winning team everywhere we go. The next race is Martinsville, so we're going there and try to win it."
DO YOU LIKE TO BEAT THE BOSS ON THE TRACK?
"Bobby Hamilton is probably one of the best drivers in NASCAR. I've known Bobby a long time, and he literally came from nothing. He's a very competitive person, but he's also my owner. He wants me to win. He wants us to do good, but when they drop the green flag, he wants to beat me just as much as anybody else out there. He has to wear two hats. When they drop the green flag, he's all driver. When the race is over, he's a truck owner again. I know in victory lane at Atlanta one of the things he wanted to know was how I finished. I like to beat Bobby, but that's not really the goal. My goal is to win the race and do the best I can for my team."
IS MARTINSVILLE A TOUGH TRACK?
"It has very long straightaways and very tight corners. It's really a finesse track. You can't attack it like you can some higher-banked tracks. We ran well there last year. That was the first time I'd raced there, and we led 80 some odd laps in the Dickies Dodge and had second place in hand and ran out of fuel with three laps to go. You don't see that a lot at a short track. We went back in the fall and didn't run quite as good. It's just one of those tracks where if you get everything right you can run around there real smooth and fast. If you're a little bit off, you'll struggle."
TALK ABOUT SATURDAY'S BUSCH DEAL AT NASHVILLE FOR YOU
"Obviously, I probably didn't do myself any favors by doing that, but that 77 car was my first Busch ride and it's crew chiefed by Jimmy Means. Jimmy called me to try to help them out. The team had been struggling. He knew I had done well in that car in the past and had won the pole at the last Craftsman Truck race at Nashville. They desperately needed me to try to qualify that car for the race. I took it as a challenge. Unfortunately, in our sport, the whole racing world is watching, and you've got to be careful when you stick your neck out like that. We still got that car fast enough to make the race. We had to be the first car out for qualifying. When the ARCA series qualified they laid down all the Hoosier rubber, and two types of rubber don't mix real well. Me being the first car out on the Goodyears, I had to go out there and kinda clean the groove out for everybody else, and I think it cost us from making the race. Our car was fast enough in practice. I think it was just a bad luck draw to have to go first. I'll chalk it up to that and go on. We lost half a second from practice to qualifying. It's really hard to lose half a second if something doesn't happen to cause that."