Shige discusses his adjustment to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: "Practice is preparation for me -- seat time is what I really need. We had a great test in Talladega and Daytona, which was huge to me because I was able to gain on my speed. ...
Shige discusses his adjustment to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series:
"Practice is preparation for me -- seat time is what I really need. We had a great test in Talladega and Daytona, which was huge to me because I was able to gain on my speed. I have spent more time at the shop these past few months with my crew chief Tom (Ackerman), Mike (Hillman) and the rest of the crew. I have learned a lot more about the AISIN/AISIN AW Toyota Tundra and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series itself. It is incredible how much work and dedication my crew puts in -- it is almost like twenty four hours seven days a week and I am honored to be a part of that team."
Shige on being the first Japanese driver to attempt to start at Daytona in any of the three national series:
"I am really excited and proud of being the first Japanese driver to attempt to race in Daytona - it is a little weird, as I don't think about the Japanese part, just the winning. I have a lot of experience just not in this series. Honestly, I just want to win. I hope to be just judged by my performance on the racetrack not just by my nationality."
Shige comments on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in Japan:
"NASCAR is definitely popular in Japan and has been for many years. I've been of always been a fan of the sport even before I moved to California ten years ago. Unfortunately the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series where I am racing this season is not broadcast there. I would really like to introduce that to the Japanese culture as I think they would find it as exciting as I do."
"It was my first drafting experience in NASCAR and also in the Toyota Tundra race truck. When I drove in the IRL we drafted but this is totally different. The skills I learned in the IRL have helped me here because we raced side by side there as well. I was able to make enough laps on the track to pick out the bumps and get a feel of the grooves. It will be a big help for the Craftsman Truck Series race."
"I've always been comfortable with side by side racing like when I've raced in Texas and California. I enjoyed drafting today with the rest of the drivers. They were fair and gave me space to get around the track. In the IRL when a new guy would come in people didn't really want them in the pack because they didn't want them to make a mistake and cause a big crash. Today I did draft with just about everyone and was able to put myself in more of race situations. The truck was great and Toyota engines are fast. I enjoyed the whole experience and was so comfortable in the truck."
"Overall it was a good test. I am so comfortable with the team and Mike and especially the Toyota Tundra. We did what we set out to do with this test. The competitors in this series are good race car drivers and I am looking forward to getting to know them and racing together this year in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series."
Career at Daytona:
Shige will be making his career debut in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series racing the No. 9 AISIN/AISIN AW Germain/Arnold Racing Toyota Tundra at the 2.5 mile-trioval of the Daytona International Speedway.