RAY RICHARD, (Manager, Dodge NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Motorsports Operations) On the rules change prior to today's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Florida Dodge Dealers 250: "Basically, the fact that NASCAR made the change on the day of ...
RAY RICHARD, (Manager, Dodge NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Motorsports Operations)
On the rules change prior to today's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Florida
Dodge Dealers 250:
"Basically, the fact that NASCAR made the change on the day of the race has positives and negatives. The positive aspect of it is that it is going to affect all of the teams, not just the Dodge teams. The negative side of it is that none of the teams had a chance to react prior to the race. Had they enacted the rules change yesterday, at least we would have had yesterday morning's happy hour practice to go out there and test the gearing and test for handling and see how the trucks reacted, particularly coming in and out of the drafts.
"That's our biggest concern right now. There's going to be a positive pressure every time the trucks come in and out of the draft, and only being able to take in air in through one intake is going to make it a crapshoot. The Dodges were running strong, and we still feel pretty confident. But it's all going to be a case of wait-and-see, and we'll see what happens."
BILL LESTER (No. 8 Dodge Dealers Dodge Ram)
NOTE: Lester made his seventh career start in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series today, starting 19th and finishing 18th (matching his career best from his last race at Phoenix last October.)
"I did all I could. I saw was happening and I thought we were going to get through it. I thought we were just going to clear it and the next thing you know, boom. It felt like the left rear, and around I went, and it seemed like forever to get the darn thing started again. We looked it around and they did what they could to get me back out there. It's pretty good, but by that time it was just the matter of getting to the checkered flag.
"It was terrific that Robert won in the No. 18. I had a victory of my own in being able to finish the race. I didn't finish it where I wanted to, but Bobby Hamilton Racing is a three truck team with the No. 18, No. 4 and the No. 8. If the No. 18 wins, that makes me extremely happy. Robert is a good man, and my hat goes off to those guys, they worked really hard.
"I wasn't keeping really close count of the laps, but I know that when I was running second for awhile that felt extremely good."
Team owner Bobby Hamilton got on the radio after the wreck and said, 'You
did great, don't worry about it':
"That's exactly the case. I almost felt like burying my head in the sand although I nothing to do that for. But he's a very reassuring individual and he's got a lot of confidence in me, and if it wasn't for him I wouldn't be in the position I'm in right now. That perked me up real quick.
"If I could say it in one word it was overwhelming. It was terrific. I'm glad to do it. It's been a long week. They say Speedweeks is a long one, it felt like two weeks. But I'm out there ready to do it again. With what I've learned now and what I know, I feel that the next time I come back here I'll be twice as good."
TED MUSGRAVE (No. 1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge Ram)
"I'd say the day turned out poorly because I wasn't in the front at the end of the race. But, it was exciting. The truck was a little loose at the beginning. But I led laps and got some points, then faded back where it was safe. The guys made a few changes and the truck got better.
"I hung in the back because I saw a lot going on that I didn't like. On that last deal, we were strong at the end. I was side by side with Robert Pressley. I knew I couldn't get past him but we knocked up and got past Harvick. I was glad to be in the position at the end and happy to stay out of trouble the whole race. That wreck kind of happened behind me. The No. 4 truck was in the middle and somebody got underneath him and the No. 2 was out on the outside. The No. 2 got off the gas and it was a chain reaction.
"The trucks push so much air and make such a big pocket, I just faded back. Within a half a lap I could just suck back up if I wanted to. The guys up front aren't going to stay there very long, because third place, fourth place and on down the line can just pull out and pass you if they've got a drafting partner. That's what makes NASCAR Craftsman Truck racing so exciting here at Daytona. It's not like we saw in the (Gatorade 125s) where one guy gets in line and that's it. The front guy is going to be slow and the next guy is going to take him over. I don't think they need to change the rules very much at all to make this exciting again.
"It takes a freight train to overtake a truck out here. We got three Dodge trucks in line and went. It's that Dodge one-team effort, I guess. We helped make Robert win. My Dodge was pretty good all day. I faded back but was able to suck back up. The truck up front is slower and three or four guys can pull out and pass.
"We don't need a rules change. The latest rules change didn't hurt the racing. It slowed the speeds down though. Safety is the main thing. We had some good, safe racing. It's a good balance between speed and safety. NASCAR has done a pretty darn good job. We don't have to run 194 mph to put on a good show.
"The new Dodge Ram is pretty good. The aero is a lot different and the truck definitely races differently. There's a lot less downforce than before. That's going to be a factor to address. We haven't tested at all on short tracks and we've got a lot of work to do out there. The truck is good but it's not close to last year's truck yet."
BRIAN ROSE (No. 4 Sunclear Energy Team Dodge Ram)
"My Dodge was pretty much tight all day - in the draft and by myself. I just kind of bought my time. I didn't want to make any moves or do anything drastic. Ted and I talked before the race and our main goal was to be there with 10 laps left, so we could at least try to make a move at the end. I was sitting right behind Ted around 5th or so, Robert was sitting in third and we all just kind of got a hold of our spotters and team owners then we linked up and did the Dodge thing.
"It was more of being in the right place at the end. When you're up front in these things, you feel like a sitting duck. But I feel like when you're second or third, you're Superman. So, the best thing to do is have a game plan, and a couple teammates up ahead of you and just know what you're going to do with five, or three, or ten laps to go, that way you can run with a good group of guys in the inside and make a move.
"I had a lot of hopes that I could hold on to the lead. But, once you're out front you kind of know you're a sitting duck. I saw myself making a run and I was trying to set up myself for a fourth, fifth, sixth spot, someone out in the middle there so I wouldn't be a sitting duck with two or three to go. Luckily we had a whole Dodge team effort and we were up front enough and we could run three people down in a group and pull past the outside line."
RAY RICHARD, (Manager, Dodge NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Motorsports Operations)
"This was just amazing. To sweep the top three spots, I can't even describe the feeling. The engineering guys and the teams totally thrashed all winter long to get these trucks ready. We really didn't know how we would be today, but we felt pretty good. The teams worked so well together at the end of the race. It took a team effort to win that race, because the other makes had the front locked up. With only two or three laps to go you need to work as a team to make that change and they did. This is what we've been talking about. Everybody ask about what this one-team approach is, and that was it out there today. You had a Run With the Ram team working with two factory teams, working with an independent team. Joe Ruttman fired that march that came up from the middle of the pack. That's what it's all about. That's the one-team approach. That's what it's all about.
ROBERT PRESSLEY, (No. 18 Dodge Dealers Dodge Ram)
"It's kind of an unfair advantage there at the end, because we run so many laps here at Daytona, Talladega in the draft. We knew what we wanted to do. The competition didn't have any idea what was getting ready to happen. Whenever Ted and I team up, we put about 100 years of experience on those guys. It wasn't anything that they did wrong, but it was all that experience that overtook them."
"All during practice everyone said all the trucks they just stand around, you get out there by yourself and you won't see anyone for awhile. Every time I looked in my mirror I saw about 20 trucks lined up and just fighting and dicing it out. The competition, whatever NASCAR decided to do this morning, it equaled up the competition. The lead was not the place to be all day. We tried to stay up there, but it was a partner deal trying to stay together."