Dodge Rams of Bobby Hamilton Racing claim three of top-six spots. BILL LESTER (No. 8 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Ram) - Third NOTE: Lester will start a career-high third in tomorrow's American Racing Wheels 200. Prior to today, Lester had started...
Dodge Rams of Bobby Hamilton Racing claim three of top-six spots.
BILL LESTER (No. 8 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Ram) - Third
NOTE: Lester will start a career-high third in tomorrow's American Racing Wheels 200. Prior to today, Lester had started third twice this season (Kansas, Kentucky). He was the top-qualifying rookie for the 10th time this year, most by any 2002 Raybestos Rookie of the year candidate. Lester's time of 40.996 was .052 seconds from the pole position.
"I was just thinking that my teammates were putting some pressure on me with their great qualifying times today, and that I needed to hold up my end. The guys at Bobby Hamilton Racing just gave me a good truck. This Dodge just responded great. It was better in qualifying than it had been all weekend. The crew gave me the confidence to know that I could hold this pedal down in these corners, and I just tried to concentrate on holding the pedal down. Before I went out today I asked them, 'Are you guys going to be mad at me if you have to bring out the backup truck before the race?' They said, 'Let's try not to do that, but let's go after it.' So, that's what we did.
"Well I didn't hold the pedal flat to the floor - I can't lie. I held it down as far as I cared to, though, believe me."
"This is kind of like my home track. It's about as close to California as the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series comes to Northern California. I really call Sears Point my home because I have road racing background, that's where I started out. We had qualified third twice before this at Kansas and Kentucky, and I think we raised some eyebrows doing that. We knew we had it in us. I was really excited about trying to get back up there again. To be up there on top of the board is really exciting. I know that as a rookie it's a steep learning curve in this series, and there's going opportunities for me to get poles. I'm not going to let David or Coy take all of them. But this is a building process. It's an opportunity for me to really learn these trucks. They're a lot heavier than what I'm used to. I'm used to 2,600 lbs. in a sportscar with big wide tires and a whole lot of breaking. Here it's a heavy truck with a lot of motor and no breaking or downforce. That's a big adjustment for me. In my sportscar background you're used to a 13-turn roadcourse where you have an opportunity to kind of wait and see and pick your spots. In the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series you don't, here you just go for it. So, it's been a steep learning curve. It's been a lot of fun. I'm happy to here. It's just so competitive here. You can't give anything to these guys because they just don't give back. When Wayne Auton talks to us in the driver's meetings about give-and-take, give-and-take, I think just about everybody rolls their eyes because everybody's taking. But we're enjoying ourselves out here. We're doing well, and we're hoping to come back with the No. 8 next year and keep climbing the ladder."
ROBERT PRESSLEY (No. 18 Square D/Dickies Racing Dodge Ram) - Fifth
"We've been good all day in practice, and we were good yesterday afternoon. We're just trying to fine-tune everything here. We're pretty much out of the points deal, now we're able to change things up a little bit. We're going to go out and try to win some races. Everyone talks about how much gas you can give your truck through the corners, but we're out of the throttle a whole lot out there. I think it's a wash with how fast you can get down the straightaway, and how fast you're going to get through the corners."
RYAN HEMPHILL (No. 4 Bobby Hamilton Racing Dodge Ram) -- Sixth
"We were too tight in practice this morning, and we freed it up a little bit. We didn't know how far to go, but we went enough that it helped us pull a lap, almost, in the top-five. Now we're going to be working on freeing our Dodge up a little more, and trying to keep it consistent for a long run. All in all it was a good lap. I'm really happy for it. Bill Lester was ungodly fast out here today - they found something out there. So, we'll probably talk it over and see if we can get a similar car. Overall, this No. 4 Bobby Hamilton Racing team is doing really, really well for me today. They're getting this Dodge closer to where I need it to be, and closer to where we can keep it up for tomorrow for a good finish."
JASON LEFFLER (No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge Ram) -- Eighth
"Our Dodge is handling great. That qualifying lap was the best lap we've turned all weekend, but it was just slow. We'll work on it through, and we'll pick up some time before tomorrow's race."
BRENDAN GAUGHAN (No. 62 NAPA/Orleans Dodge Ram) -- Ninth
"Honestly, this is the best handling car or truck that the Orleans Racing team has ever brought to Fontana. We ended up ninth fastest, but it's honestly the best piece that we've ever brought here. We build a lot of downforce into our Dodge's, so that's why we're maybe not as fast in qualifying trim at a track like California. But our engine builder Kevin Kroyer has great power, and that's what got us where we are. We came here on Thursday, and we weren't very good. Shane and the guys brought something new here that we were experimenting with, and it didn't work. So we changed things up, and now we've got the best piece of equipment that we've ever brought to this track.
TED MUSGRAVE (No. 1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge Ram) - 11th
"We had someone blow an engine right before us, but the track was fine when we went out. A lot of guys out here picked up some time in their laps today. We had an engine related problem and had to switch motors earlier. So we put a different motor in for qualifying, and now this one isn't running too well right now. We've got to figure out what we're going to do. Maybe we'll fix the other one and put it back in tonight or something. I'm not sure."
CARLOS CONTRERAS (No. 43 Hot Wheels Dodge Ram) -- 20th
"All day yesterday we were tight. Today we tried to fix that, and loosen up our Dodge. Howard (crew chief, Comstock) made a good call, and we found what was going wrong in yesterday's practice. I think we're going in the right direction. I don't care about qualifying, I just want to figure out how to be fast tomorrow."