* With 10 wins this season, Dodge has clinched its third NCTS manufacturers championship (2001, 2003, 2004) * Dodge has a winning percentage of 47% since the beginning of the 2001 NCTS season. Dodge Rams have won 45 of the last...
* With 10 wins this season, Dodge has clinched its third NCTS manufacturers championship (2001, 2003, 2004)
* Dodge has a winning percentage of 47% since the beginning of the 2001 NCTS season. Dodge Rams have won 45 of the last 95 races.
* Dodge has won all four NCTS races at Darlington (Hamilton -- 2001, Musgrave -- 2002, Hamilton -- 2003, Kahne -- 2004).
* Kasey Kahne becomes the third driver to win in his first NCTS start (2/5/95 -- Mike Skinner at Phoenix; 2/15/02 -- Robert Pressley at Daytona).
* Bobby Hamilton needs to finish 12th or better next week at Homestead to clinch the drivers championship regardless of Dennis Setzer's finish. A Dodge driver has never won drivers title in truck series.
BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Square D Dodge Ram) -- Second
"We sat there and strolled around all night. That Dodge really drove good, and we had a set of tires there at the end -- like everybody did there at the end. I think the caution might have saved all of us from catching Kasey (Kahne), because we were catching about four or five-tenths a lap, and on that restart everybody had cool tires. And then I ran over Bobby Jr. on the restart, so that didn't give anybody a chance to get to Kasey. I think one of the three trucks behind Kasey probably would have won the race instead of him. But, that was pretty cool for him to win his first truck race he's won, I guess. But it was huge for us, for Dodge to win, to clinch the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series manufacturers championship.
"I sat out there (with son, with Bobby Hamilton Jr.) for a while, so yeah, I talked to him. He told me he just missed a shift. I heard it, but you just ride up each other's tails here. That happens a lot here. That happens a lot here, at Michigan... There's a few racetracks that it's pretty bad at, and it just happens a lot here. I wasn't torn up about it. It was over with. But, you just get to thinking about it. He's my son. You would have been too. I won't make a story out of it. He was probably going to win his first truck race, and he hasn't had a very good season anyhow, and he gets in his Cup car and he's not running that good because it's a lot harder over there, you know it just goes on and on. They've got to put a whole crew together, and you were just hoping to see a good run for him. And it was my truck, so I totaled one of my trucks and I wasn't even driving it, and I took a chance on hurting him. I know that going in, but we're pretty careful around one another. We have a ton of respect for each other, like all the Dodge guys do. We race each other as clean as we can, and with him out there it just made it extra so. Like I said, he's my kid."
"We've always run really good here. I think until tonight, Ted (Musgrave) were the only ones to have won truck races here. I think first and second place finishes are the best and worst we've done here. You practice here and you burn tires up and there's no use in it. Basically for me -- and I don't know how it was for Ted, he didn't like his truck much tonight it didn't seem like -- this track has always kept about the same setup. Ran qualifying and parked it. Then NASCAR gave each of us a set of tires for happy hour, so that gave the No. 59 and myself an extra set of tires over everyone else. But, Ted caught on to it too. I think he had a set of nine-lap scuffs or something, so he had an extra set of tires too.
"I think the No. 59 was the best shot (for the win). When they got racing side-by-side there is a way to come to the line three-wide here -- especially with the trucks. So, I think Ted (Musgrave) was ready for the same thing. Kasey definitely wasn't as fast as we were on tires. And if he got a big jump we would have caught him with the green-white-checkered flag finish. That's why I was really close with the No. 59 truck. You actually can draft here a little bit. You can feel it down the straightaway. So, I was just trying to make sure that he got up to speed good. You never know. The No. 59 was pretty hungry for it, and if they had got together a little bit, I had radioed to my spotter and told him, 'You make sure you tell both of them that we need to win this manufacturers championship.' And I looked behind us, and it was Ted sitting back there with me. So, I said, 'It's almost no way for us to lose this thing unless we all four wreck, and if we do the manufacturers championship isn't going to make any difference because they're going to fire us all.' But, we pretty much knew that if we could run with him on the start we thought we could get by him, but we had that mishap right there."
On yellow flag finish instead of a second green-white-checkered...
"I had forgotten all about it. I was calling in to my spotter, saying, 'I've got a tire rub. I've got a tire rub,' because my truck was crunched up pretty good. I thought we were going to go back green. I had forgotten all about it, and then they were like, 'No, you're coming to the checkered, dude.' So, I don't know. It's okay. I would have rather seen it like it was. Even though my truck was torn up, it probably would have cost me, but I still would've liked to have had more shots at it."
On Setzer's accident
"We don't talk about that stuff. We feel like if we focus on it, it's going to make us do something different than what got us here. We were just trying to win the race there at the end.
On championship hopes...
"Homestead, again, is another really good racetrack for us, and we tested really well there. You know, you just go in there hour by hour now. You've still got to out-run the No. 46 truck. I had no idea that I would finish second place tonight. I was going to be happy if he finished 15th, I was going to be happy with 14th. Then, I got to looking how jumbled it was back there. And I was really fast if I needed to be, so I said, 'I'm going to try and drive on up through here.' I caught it just right where it wasn't really busy, and I put my self up there. And I said, 'I'm going to try and stay up here, now.' It was just easier to do that.
TED MUSGRAVE (No. 1 Mopar Dodge Ram) -- Third
"Third place was pretty good because at the beginning of the race the truck wasn't really right. Sometimes you get it right, like last week, and sometimes you miss it like tonight. But, there was just a lot of experience in our crew chief (Gene Nead), and the adjustments, making the right calls, when to pit, when not to pit, when to have tires on and when not to. Not only that, but just missing some of the wrecks that were just exactly right in front of me was the biggest thing, I think, to make it through. But, with the top-three Dodges being up there, Dodge clinches the NCTS manufacturers championship, so that's pretty cool. So, that's one feather in our cap tonight, and now we're going to try and put a whole headdress on.
"On the amount of people in the stands, I think my crew chief said, 'There's not enough up there to make a good fistfight.' It's a cold, nasty night. When the schedule came out we looked and said, 'It's a night race at Darlington in the middle of November.' I think everybody knew right away what was going to happen. But, under the lights, the lights were a pretty neat deal. It was a little bit different racing here under the lights than it usually is in the daylight. And tonight, Bobby (Hamilton) and I were talking about we've never raced here with the soft-walls either. Now, in the Cup race earlier in the spring they ran with it. So, the line's a little bit different. The visual effect of it is a little bit different under the lights. But, it's a neat deal. You could see everything, but it's just a little bit different Darlington.
On yellow flag finish instead of a second green-white-checkered...
"I don't know. I'm kind of undecided since it's the first time that's happened. It's a little bit different too, because we were coming for the green flag. It wasn't like we were coming for the green flag. It wasn't like we had made a half lap or three-quarters of a lap and everybody was kind of settled in about where they were going to be. That was a little bit of an extreme, like comparing apples and oranges right now. I think we need to do it a couple more times to figure out if that's really a neat deal, just having it one time. But for me, seeing the top three trucks (were Dodges) I was happy to see it over."
STEVE PARK (No. 62 Orleans Racing Dodge Ram) -- Fifth
"I think the guys with the experience knew what needed to be done tire-wise and stuff. We gambled and stayed out there and faded to the back, got the caution, and were able to get some tires on and not lose a lap and get back out front. I really thought Dodge was going to have a one-two-three-four finish. It started to look like that. I've been racing a long time, and I've never seen somebody cause a yellow-flag, or cause an accident, and then get their spot back. It amazes me. I don't make the rules, but I'm really happy for Dodge. They worked really hard to get the manufacturers championship. My hat's off to them."