Dodge Rams Sweep Top Three Positions; Win Third Straight Truck Race at Darlington BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Square D Dodge Ram) NOTE: Hamilton won his second NASCAR Craftsman Series truck race at Darlington. He led once for 16 laps, the final 16...
Dodge Rams Sweep Top Three Positions; Win Third Straight Truck Race at Darlington
BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Square D Dodge Ram)
NOTE: Hamilton won his second NASCAR Craftsman Series truck race at Darlington. He led once for 16 laps, the final 16 laps, and held off Ted Musgrave bor a .139-second victory. Musgrave led the most laps, four times for 90 laps. Hamilton leads the series standings by five points (345-340) over Travis Kvapil after the first two races. Brendan Gaughan completed the Dodge Ram trifecta Friday at Darlington.
"I knew when we came here, back when we were building trucks to come here and picking the race tracks we thought we'd be good at, I think that Ted Musgrave is one of the best drivers who's ever been to Darlington. He should have won two or three races here in a Cup car. We knew Ted would be the guy to beat here, and Travis Kvapil is excellent here, but the guy that surprised me today was Brendan Gaughan. I think he did an excellent job, but we knew we could be good here. The thing that confused us is we built a brand new truck and we had all this rain. The motor never got started on it until we got here. It was a cat and mouse game all day. I don't think Ted showed his hand, and I didn't show my hand. I don't know how much he was holding back, but we felt like we were better than him on long runs even, so it was between the two of us.
"I ended up winning the race because of short runs, but we were good either way it felt like. The strong point yesterday in Happy Hour was long runs. Like I said, I really respect that guy's ability here at this race track. I knew he would be the guy to beat. I felt like if we were on new tires, to get all I could out of my tires. I pumped them up like qualifying stuff. I said they were only going to live about 15 laps, and that's all they did. On that last lap, they really gave away. We actually set the air pressure for a short run there at the end, but we were set up for long runs.
"Now that I'm driving this thing full time, and I own it and I pay the bills, any time you have a good finish you get a lot of money back, so it's pretty important. Plus my car owner, is my wife, and she can be real ill if we don't break even or something. We're after the drivers' championship. Dodge has never won this thing since they've been in the truck series, and we think they're due. We're going to put the best effort we can to try to win this, and the Dodge engineers are giving us a lot of technology. We're getting a lot of tunnel time, and we're hitting it as hard as we can.
"It's been fun. It's a strange deal. I went out there today and I watched the Cup cars practicing and I went right to work. I didn't pay any attention to it. I think the biggest thing I miss about being in a Cup car is not being around all my friends. Instead of sleeping four hours a night, I sleep 10. My wife thinks I'm in a coma."
TED MUSGRAVE (No. 1 Mopar Performance Dodge Ram)
"The Mopar Dodge was better for the long run. Every time there was a long run it was the dominant truck. When it got down to the end I knew we were in trouble. We put some air in the tires, but the chassis was set up for the long run. We were coming on, but Bobby's truck was good all day long. It's Darlington, you've got to set it up for a long run, but it just didn't work our way today. It cooled off and got a lot tighter. My truck down here in three and four just wouldn't turn. I had to wait for awhile, and that's where Bobby was a little quicker. Our truck was better in the long run. We had a 16-lap shootout, and my truck got tighter. I just ran out of laps. It just bit us. We thought we were going to be able to run to the end, but my hat's off to Bobby. I couldn't say anything bad about today. The caution just bit us."
BRENDAN GAUGHAN (No. 62 Waterloo Tool Storage Dodge Ram)
"I guess the other guys are going to start whining and crying. I think we had the best Dodge out there. The way I look at it, Bobby Hamilton has been racing here since 1984. Ted Musgrave, I think this is the track he used to kick butt in the Busch Series. We just think we're the best Dodge team and we got beat by two Winston Cup drivers. I love my guys. We've got a hell of a team and they did an awesome job today. Those other two guys just have that D.W. 'sperience' and they kicked my butt today."
CHAD CHAFLIN (No. 18 Dickies Dodge Ram) - Finished Fifth
"The program Dodge puts behind these trucks are awesome. The 1, 2, 18, 62, they're all great teams and had great days. Dodge is really behind us. We've got to get ready for Toyota I guess, and I think we're ready. We had a little trouble from the get-go. We fell back a little bit at the start. Yesterday in the two Happy Hours we were as fast as anybody, except the boss - Bobby (Hamilton). We had a pickup fuel problem, and we actually ran out of gas. I think it hurt the motor. It never did pull up off the corners like we needed, but we had a great run. As soon as we'd get a few laps on the tires, I could stand on the gas and that Dickies Dodge would sail through the turns. It was handling awesome and the crew did a great job. They made some adjustments and the Dickies Dodge was flying. The crew was telling me I was faster than the leaders. I just wish I could see 'em, and I might have picked up another tenth. Bobby Hamilton is my hero and I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him. I can't say enough good about him. I'm glad he's in victory lane. Maybe next time it'll be us."
JASON LEFFLER (No. 2 Team ASE/Carquest Racing Dodge Ram) - Finished Sixth
"We were loose at the start and we got it good the last part of the race. I think when Andy Houston crashed I ran over his tire that came off and bent our valence. The last 20 laps I was just hanging on, but it was a good finish for us. We'll rebound from here and go on to Bakersfield."