NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Florida Dodge Dealers 250 February 13, 2004 An interview with: TRAVIS KVAPIL - 2nd MIKE WALLACE - 3rd DAVID REUTIMANN - top rookie THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Mike Wallace. Take us through the ...
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Florida Dodge Dealers 250
February 13, 2004
An interview with:
TRAVIS KVAPIL - 2nd
MIKE WALLACE - 3rd
DAVID REUTIMANN - top rookie
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Mike Wallace. Take us through the race.
MIKE WALLACE: Disappointed. The only reason why, the situation was with 10 to go, when the restart went, I basically comitted myself to stay behind Carl. I didn't want to have to race seven other trucks. I was trying to get enough to get away. 24 got away just a little bit. About three to go, I had a shot to get by him down at the bottom, at least I think I did. I could probably wiggle him up, back down the back straightaway. If I would have done that Setzer was coming, Kimmel was coming. It was best to stay where we were at. Patience prevailed. Every other lap, he was shoving the nose off of two. I thought I would wait till the last lap. Just happened to be the lap he turned good.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
MIKE WALLACE: I don't think so. Any more, unless Travis just walked in, unless there's something they're paying them guys to do. You don't have any buddies out there at the end. I was waiting for a restart, asked for them, I knew all those bets were off. We all run the same race at the end. I know I didn't want to race the whole field. I'm sure Travis didn't either. We were dragging a brake, rolling out of the throttle. Just trying to put ourselves in the best position. The whole thing, we're in this business for our teams and ourselves. That's what we're trying to do.
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Travis Kvapil. Finished second tonight. Again, Toyota first thing out, you deliver a nice finish to get things going. Also you're going for another championship. This is not a bad start. Something you can come away positive about tonight?
TRAVIS KVAPIL: Exactly. Good points and bad points tonight. We definitely had a truck that was capable of winning. And like Mike said, them last couple laps when we were all lined up, I was doing all I could to just discipline myself to try and stay in line, you know, for a while there looked like it was going to be a three-truck race. That's what I wanted to get down to the last couple laps. I was out on the throttle, out on the brakes, doing all I could to keep slow and stay in line.
You know, to come out of the box with a good finish, you know, that was the main thing. We definitely are looking at the 2004 Championship. That's what I want to do, that's what I'm focused on. I know we got a team that can do it. I know we got a manufacturer and sponsor that can do it.
Come out of the box second. That's what I did last year. Things worked out for the rest of the year. Just got to be there at the end.
TRAVIS KVAPIL: For a race car driver, I don't think it really did a whole lot for us. It looked like a lot of trucks were really getting pretty ill handling as tires wore out. I guess the cool conditions maybe helped that a little bit. If it had been hot and sunny, kind of kept us a little bit more under control, just being cool.
Q: The question is about the final lap where Mike was on your bumper.
TRAVIS KVAPIL: Like I said, I had a truck that was really strong. I was doing all I could just to stay in line the last couple laps.
I knew if I was going to win the race, I had to make a move on the backstretch. But me and Crawford both kind of peeked out there. Most of it's looking in your mirror, the last couple laps. Didn't look like everybody wanted to go. Everybody was trying to stick to the bottom and stay in line.
I was afraid to make my move on the outside because it didn't look like anybody was going to come with us. The last about 10 laps, I was working on a move coming off of turn four, and I could really get a big run off there. I knew I could at least pass one truck, so I kind of had that ace in the hole for sure, I was going to get one truck. I was going for a win on the backstretch. Didn't look like nobody was going to give me help. Didn't want to get hung up to dry, finish 8th. I figured I'd try to get back off the bottom, get one truck off the turn four. That's what I did.
Q: Being with a new brand, did you have trouble finding teammates to draft with you?
TRAVIS KVAPIL: You know what, I mean, there was times in the beginning of the race when me and my teammate Mike Skinner was out there, if anybody was going to work together, it would be me and Mike. There were times I'd be able to push him to the front, then we'd almost have to bailout on each other. You can only stick with each other for so long. You know, you got to get back in line.
It didn't seem like, you know, I had -- the biggest thing I found was our truck was pretty good. If we could make a move, we could get anybody to go with us. If you got a fast truck, like I'd say Setzer was one of the fastest trucks out there tonight, too. He could pull out and make a move, people would go with him.
Didn't really have any trouble finding people to go with me or hooking up with people. It's just, you know, wasn't any specific manufacturer or team I was working with. It was kind of like where you were on the track, who was around you, if your truck was fast enough to make a move, seemed like people wanted to hook up and go with you.
Q: Travis, how do you feel about Toyota's debut in the Craftsman Truck Series?
TRAVIS KVAPIL: I'm excited. Obviously, there were a lot of question marks coming into this race. I knew they were going to give us some horsepower. I do know numbers still show we're down a little bit. Biggest question mark, I was happy that it ran the whole race. Nothing came off the oil pan, we got a good finish. I'm just happy, you know, to kind of prove that we can run a couple hundred-mile races. You know, I know they're going to go back and still find us some more horsepower, get us up to where we need.
To come out of the box this strong, knowing we're only going to get better is pretty exciting.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by David Reutimann, the best rookie finisher.
Q: David, your first race for Waltrip Motorsports, Toyota. Ninth place finish. A solid effort. You were up front, you were contending for the win. Are you pleased with the effort today?
DAVID REUTIMANN: Yeah, I mean, obviously I kind of made some pretty huge mistakes early on, but then -- I'm happy with the effort. I did a lot of stupid things, a lot of stuff they would call rookie mistakes. I made plenty of them. I was real happy the way the guys performed. Guys got us back out quick.
You know, I think the main deal was trying to find the line that you needed to be in. Seemed like I was always in the wrong one.
THE MODERATOR: First race for Toyota. Do you kind of feel happy about the start? Travis performed well. Is it getting off on a good foot?
DAVID REUTIMANN: There was a big question mark on the whole Toyota program when we got here. I think now the -- our truck was good enough to win. I could figure out where I was supposed to be on the racetrack. But, yeah, I mean, I'm just so pleased with the people at TRD, Waltrip Motorsports. Those guys have been working 24-hour shifts to get our stuff done. We've come light-years from when we started. I'm real happy with their effort.