Jason Leffler takes the pole as Dodge Ram lineup 1-2-3 for Florida Dodge Dealers 300. JASON LEFFLER (No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge Ram) NOTE: This is Jason Leffler's ninth career Bud Pole in 24 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races. Jason won...
Jason Leffler takes the pole as Dodge Ram lineup 1-2-3 for Florida Dodge Dealers 300.
JASON LEFFLER (No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge Ram)
NOTE: This is Jason Leffler's ninth career Bud Pole in 24 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races. Jason won eight Bud Poles in his first season with Ultra Motorsports in 2002.
"Jim Smith (team owner) puts a lot of emphasis on this race and to be fast at Daytona. The team worked extra hard over the winter, and it pays off for them to sit on the pole. As a driver, you just sit in there, mash the gas and go. It wasn't a very exciting lap from my standpoint. You know, you just get in there and drive around the bottom of the racetrack. But the excitement starts tomorrow in race practice.
"This Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge has more downforce than it did last year. From the first time at preseason testing, our car was always just a little bit quicker than Ted's (Ultra Motorsports teammate, Musgrave). But, you know that Ted's going to be tough on raceday, as a lot of guys are. It's great to sit on the pole in Daytona with all of the history here. To start the race with the big crowds they get here on Friday and have no one in front of you is really exciting.
"There's no doubt that we're going to win a race. Certainly we'd like to do it this Friday, and we think we have a really good chance of doing it. It'd be nice to get that out of the way, so I won't have to answer these questions. It'd be like getting a monkey off of my back. We're certainly going to give it 110% on Friday, and we'll see where we end up.
"I probably have a little bit different approach to this season. Last year when I would try too hard to win races was when I'd make mistakes. It seemed to be that when I would sit around and ride that we'd end up finishing second. It's hard to push it. You're day's going to come, but if you try too hard, obviously mistakes happen. We're just going to take it easy this year. But, we're going to try and lead every single lap. Certainly we have a fast truck and great equipment. We've also got a great pit crew this year, so that's going to help too.
"Jimmy (team owner, Smith) is a great guy. He's one of the best owners that I've ever run for. I've had a great relationship with him even before I ever started driving for him. He has a house in Park City, Utah, where we went out and did some snowmobiling in the off-season. It was a great time. Jim is a fun guy. It's a perfect fit for me. We have a lot of fun together. He's a racer. He's got a successful wheel business with Ultra Wheels, and puts a lot of effort into his racing. I think he probably spends a lot of his own money on it too. I don't think he's necessarily in this for the money. He's in it to have a good time and win races.
BOBBY HAMILTON (No. 4 Square D Dodge Ram)
"Our qualifying lap felt good. I don't have provisionals because I'm driving trucks for the first time. So, I don't tune them up, and do any special stuff like that. We've just got to finish. Basically what we did was qualify with race trim, and we're happy with that.
"I just hit my crew chief on the shoulder and told him that I was just happier than hell about getting that out of the way. You worry about not getting in the race because we've got people from Square D and Dodge that are expecting good things from us this year. We've really got to focus right now and get everything logged in. The only thing I know about sitting on the pole at Daytona is that you're usually running 20th after the first lap, so it isn't a big deal.
"We've got some good people in place with this team right now. I can see a little difference in attitudes and personality of our team members from me being there all the time, which has been a good thing. I think it's better. If there was a missing link, I think I bring it back in there and I think we're solid as a rock right now."
ROBERT PRESSLEY (No. 59 Harris Trucking Dodge Ram) - 2nd
"We did win last year's race, but as everyone remembers we had a No. 1 Mopar Dodge pushing us pretty fast. So, it's going to be hard to beat two of those Ultra Motorsports Dodges. Maybe this year we can help each other again. Daytona is different than Talladega, you've got to handle at this racetrack. Late in the run I think you're going to see Bobby (Hamilton), Ted (Musgrave), Jason (Leffler) and a couple of other guys. We're going to have an unfair advantage by really knowing what this racetrack is going to do.
"What really happened was we're the defending champion from last year, and a couple deals that we were working on hadn't quite materialized yet. I was wanting to come back to Daytona and try to defend the win we had last year. The people at Dodge helped us out with Carlos (Contreras) moving onto the Busch series. So, the Pettys had a truck and Jim Harris worked a deal out. It all happened about 15 days ago. It isn't like we rubbed magic on this truck or anything. Carlos qualified like sixth or seventh here last year. This is a good Daytona truck, and we didn't have to do a lot of work to do what we've done so far.
TED MUSGRAVE (No. 1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge Ram) - 3rd
"Last year we came down and sat on the pole by quite a bit. We led about the first three laps before we started to get really, really loose. We just kind of worked on it all the way until the end of the race. We made a bunch of adjustments, and the Mopar Dodge team got me where I could hold it wide open at the end. That's where Robert and I hooked up and moved to the front to run 1-2.
"This year we brought the same truck, but we changed it so it has a little more front and rear downforce so it'll handle better late in the race. That's where we want to make it happen. When the tires wear down and the trucks start to slide around, I want this Mopar Dodge to handle really well - put it on the bottom or top of the racetrack, wherever it wants to go. When you do that you have a little deficit as far as qualifying. Even though we're third, we could have been a lot quicker if we had ran a different type of body style on it. We elected to try and win the race, not the pole. We won the pole last year, so once I saw my teammate sitting in the front spot I said, 'Okay, I'm just going to back down, make sure everything runs okay and just run third."
BILL LESTER (No. 8 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Ram) - 8th
"I think we're pretty happy with that. This is a credit to the whole Bobby Hamilton crew. We were starting to get pretty warm on the first lap, and we kind of had to shut it down. But I'll tell you, I'm a lot happier to be starting eighth than starting 19th where we did last year.
"I'm extremely excited about running in Daytona. I kind of feel like this racetrack owes me one. At one point in last year's race we were running as high as second, before we got caught up in that big wreck. I'm hoping that this year we can keep our nose clean, that everyone will take care of each other and we'll bring it home strong."
BRENDAN GAUGHAN (No. 62 NAPA/Orleans Dodge Ram) - 11th
"Our whole goal is to try and pick off a couple of factory teams. Everybody knows that the No. 2 team can qualify, but we can race pretty good too. We built this Dodge Ram here, specifically to be really nice and snug in the draft. This truck was built with race setup in mind. It's a really nice race-trim truck, and we feel like we should do really well in the race. At Daytona you can never really guess what's going to happen. We think we can compete for a couple of poles this year, maybe get a lot of top-five starts. But more than anything we want to rack up some firsts, seconds and thirds."
CHAD CHAFFIN (No. 18 Dickies Racing Dodge Ram) -- 6th
"That was a fantastic lap. We almost didn't get that second lap in. We were running pretty hot on the water temperature on that first lap. We really cranked this thing off. I'm just glad this Dickies Dodge ran great. We were struggling all week. I think we must have had a bad gear or something. We finally went back to the gear we tested with down here, and we picked back up to about where we tested. I'm glad to get it back, because we've been off about four-tenths all weekend. I was really getting worried.