Daytona Preseason Thunder - Toyota notes 2008-01-13

TOYOTA NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) Test Day 3 Daytona International Speedway January 13, 2008 PHILLIP McGILTON, No. 22 Toyota Tundra, Bill Davis Racing What happened during the incident on Sunday? "We were just out there drafting....

TOYOTA NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) Test
Day 3 Daytona International Speedway
January 13, 2008

PHILLIP McGILTON, No. 22 Toyota Tundra, Bill Davis Racing

What happened during the incident on Sunday? "We were just out there drafting. I got up on the high-side with Mike (Skinner) and we came around a guy going into turn three. I had the No. 30 truck (Todd Bodine) behind me and everything was fine. We hadn't struggled there all day. It wasn't something I expected. I think it was just an 'aero-deal.' The No. 30 was going to the outside of me, and it just sucked the rear- end around. It happened so quick, I didn't have any time to save it. It's torn up pretty good. We just have to get it back to the shop and turn it around for the race. We were having an excellent day until that point. We were able to go to the back of the pack and run right up to the front. We had a really good piece, but we didn't want to end the test like this."

Do you think you're comfortable here at Daytona after the test? "I think we're going to be stout for the race. I felt pretty good out there, and I felt good moving around. The truck allowed me to move around quite a bit. The guys really did a nice job getting this truck ready for Daytona. I hate it for them that they have to work hard over the next week or two getting it ready, but I know they can do it."

Can you talk about your opportunity with Bill Davis Racing? "I'm just really excited to get an opportunity to come to a team like Bill Davis Racing and have teammates like Mike (Skinner) and Johnny (Benson). To have a group of guys like Mike and Johnny around me and to pull information from -- it's been real exciting."

What are your experiences at Daytona International Speedway and expectations for the race? "I like Daytona, but I've never been around it in a truck before. Friday was my first time out in a truck. There are some little differences here (from the ARCA car) -- the aero is the biggest thing, just getting that right feel and adjusting. I think we've made some good progress. I had some help from Mike and Johnny -- just watching them and learning. We're just going to keep on digging. Coming here for the race, I'm really just looking to finish with a good solid run. I want to gain experience, and you can't gain experience if you don't finish the race. The biggest thing for me here at Daytona is to come finish the race, have a good solid run and gain some respect from the guys out there on the track."

What are your goals for the 2008 season? "As far as my goals for the season, I really would like a chance to nail down the 'Rookie-of-the-Year' award and I'd like to see a top-10 finish in the points -- that's a couple goals I'm looking for. I know we have a big mountain to climb, but I have the guys around me to climb it."

What does it mean to have two veteran teammates? "Having Mike (Skinner) and Johnny (Benson) as teammates definitely puts some pressure on me. It puts some pressure on because I know I have to perform. But, it takes some pressure off because I know I have this caliber of guys around me, and it's going to make that learning curve for me even better. It's got pressure, although I don't think there's as much as people think. Coming to a team with this much experience it makes that transition easier."


MIKE SKINNER, No. 5 Toyota Tundra, Bill Davis Racing

What did you do during the off-season? "We have had an extremely busy off-season. We've had a lot of things going on with our race team -- but it all came back together and everything is back the same with Jeff (Hensley) as crew chief again. We traded a couple of people around with some of the other BDR teams. I think Johnny (Benson) got one of our guys and we got a couple of new guys. It's been extremely, extremely busy -- and not enough time for golf. I've been a little too involved in the business, probably more than I want to be as a driver. I've been chomping at the bit to get going again and to get here to Daytona and start running some laps. We've had a few good days."

What is the mindset when two teammates are battling for the championship? "Johnny (Benson) and I have been teammates for years, even in the Cup Series. Race drivers are greedy. We get paid to be greedy. We're supposed to win and perform. It's going to come down to us all being smart and helping one another. We just need to be patient. I feel really good about having Johnny Benson as a teammate when we come down to the stretch if either one of us are fortunate enough to be in the hunt. It's just up to us to be smart about how we go about things all year. I think we'll be in the middle of it."


JOHNNY BENSON, No. 23 TCUV Toyota Tundra, Bill Davis Racing

How was your bobsled experience during the off-season? "To go up to the bobsled deal at Lake Placid for the U.S.A. Bobsled Team was a pretty incredible thing to do. It was a lot of fun and I had a great time. Boris (Said) pretty much stomped everybody when it got down to the end. But, to jump in the sleds and go down that run was pretty exciting. Hopefully, all the drivers get an opportunity to do it. A lot of people don't know that the bobsled team has to raise their own money to go run, and the event was a cause organized by Geoff (Bodine) to raise money for the team."

Do you see you and Mike Skinner battling teammates Ron Hornaday and Jack Sprague for the title this year? "I think you're going to see that, for sure. I hope it ends up being a two-way battle between me and Mike. Are they going to be tough? Absolutely. Ron showed last year that he was pretty tough. There's no doubt that they're going to be a group of guys that will be a threat for the deal. I'm sure they feel the same way about our organization. It's going to be exciting. I think the fans will enjoy a great season of great battles."


DAVID STARR, No. 11 Red Horse Racing Tundra, Red Horse Racing

What are your thoughts heading into the 2008 season? "It's exciting to be back with Red Horse Racing and Toyota in 2008. All of these guys that drive these Tundras are great drivers. You can throw a blanket over the trucks as far as wind tunnel numbers and power. They just have fabulous equipment. I'm just looking forward to working with Jamie Jones (crew chief) again and working with all the Toyota drivers. I'm looking forward to being competitive again. We knew where our weaknesses were in 2006, and hopefully we can work on them and have a great year."

-credit: toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr.
Teams Bill Davis Racing , Red Horse Racing