Musgrave takes third victory; Dodge Rams finish 1-2-3 at California Speedway. JASON LEFFLER (No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge Ram) - Second NOTE: This is Leffler's sixth second-place finish, and first behind Ultra Motorsports teammate Ted...
Musgrave takes third victory; Dodge Rams finish 1-2-3 at California Speedway.
JASON LEFFLER (No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge Ram) - Second
NOTE: This is Leffler's sixth second-place finish, and first behind Ultra Motorsports teammate Ted Musgrave. The finish gives Leffler the most NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series second place finishes by a driver without a win.
"In the start we went right up to the front and led some laps. With the second set of tires, when we made our first pit stop, the balance was off a little bit. We lost some time right there. We just kind of recovered from there. It took us until the very end of the race to where we got back up front. What a great day for Ultra Motorsports and Jimmy Smith, our owner. This is his hometown, and it's my hometown here in Long Beach. Coming home 1-2-3 has got to be a big thrill for Dodge. To have the race sponsored by one of the big competitors - what a great day. The guys ought to be gloating. This was an awesome day for the team.
"We're trying to win, but you can't try too hard because then you start to make mistakes. I found that out earlier in the year, just trying to win. I probably took us out of a shot to win a race back then. As long as we're running competitively in the top-five every week then I'm happy and the crew's happy. In the last three races we've been off a little bit, so to come here and get back into running up front and being competitive it lifts the spirits. We're also in a points battle. It's going to be tough for us to get the lead, obviously. But we can get to second or third in the points fairly easily. So, we're just trying to keep up the points, and see what we can get away with."
"I don't miss being in an open wheel car. I love NASCAR and I love driving stock cars. I've been fortunate enough to be in the Indianapolis 500, and I've done a lot of tire testing in the IRL for Treadway Racing. It was a great experience for me, and I took a lot of knowledge away from it.
"I don't think Ted had a truck that couldn't be beat. Brendan was coming up on him too out there. I mean Musgrave's a wily old veteran, so you don't know if he felt he had a comfortable lead and was just running an easy pace. Those guys have a knack for doing that. I ran on the outside all race. People were making fun of me in practice for doing it, but it paid off in the race. You had the whole racetrack to yourself up there, with lots of clean air. That was our advantage today."
BRENDAN GAUGHAN (No. 62 NAPA/Orleans Dodge Ram) -- Third
"I was kind of bummed when they threw all that quickie-dry down and left it out there a mighty long time. I'm glad they threw the caution because it bunched us up and gave us a chance to get close. But there wasn't oil down there - not enough to warrant three grooves of quickie-dry. That was kind of a bummer. We wasted about five or six laps just putting it down and cleaning it up. When it went green I went into turn one, and I called into my spotter and said, 'Hey, tell Dennis Setzer that I'm not even thinking about driving in here.' He was right behind me. Everybody's tires were white. I drove down in there and had it crossed up three times before I even hit the middle of two. That was just uncomfortable doing that. If there was oil, there was oil, but I didn't see enough to warrant three grooves of it."
"This is one of the best racetracks out there - it's as good as I've ever remembered it. There was a groove right off the wall, and I've never seen a NASCAR groove that high. There was a groove all the way up to the top of the racetrack and all the way down to the bottom. This place is just fantastic.
"We started out pretty good. We were a little loose in the beginning. But then the tires came in and we caught up to the top-three. We were right there all day. This is the Dodge that I put into the wall in the happy hour at Las Vegas. So, we put it back together. My guys in Vegas, the Orleans team, they're really good. They're bitchin', I love those guys to death. They put this thing back together just as good as it was before. American Racing Wheels, they are our sponsor. Jimmy Smith is a very dear old friend. The thing I'm laughing about is that before the race American Racing said that the top three teams get free wheels. Well, I believe we might be the three teams that didn't need the free wheels.
"It was a great race. Down at the end we came from eighth during the restart with 18 laps to go, and the fans saw a hell of a show. We went all the way down to the grass at one point to pass Robert Pressley. What can you say about Dodge being first, second and third? They're an awesome manufacturer, they really support us and I'm very honored to be with them. I think this shows that next year - we're looking for a sponsor still, with NAPA Auto Parts leaving us - we're going to be a contender next year too.
"It goes to show that there's parity in this series. I think the Dodge's have been penalized more than most, because we do more 1-2-3 finishes than any other manufacturer. I think that speaks volume for the teams, though. You can look at the caliber of our drivers and teams. You have the Ultra team with Ted Musgrave and Jason Leffler. Both of those guys came from Winston Cup, and both are guys that are the best drivers in the series. You have the Bobby Hamilton Racing teams, which has Bobby Hamilton who drives a bunch, Robert Pressley from Winston Cup and Bill Lester, who almost got the pole here. Then you have our team. We feel that Dodge isn't just the best manufacturer, but it has the best teams. That's what gives us the ability to go 1-2-3.
"At the end there Travis (Kvapil) was on the outside, and he got a run on Robert (Pressley). Robert was trying to push me low, and I got a run on both of them. I knew Robert was going to keep pushing me as far as he could, and I got a run where I could get my nose to him. He kept pinching me, and I said, 'Hey, there's no rule here. Racetrack is racetrack.' So, I went all the way down to the grass, and I looked up and saw both of them at the start/finish line. I was thinking, 'Man, I'm either going to be really stupid, or I'm going to look really good here.' For a change it worked out. We got lucky on that one, and we'll take it. It gained us a top-three."
ROBERT PRESSLEY (No. 18 Square D/Dickies Racing Dodge Ram) - Seventh
"Right after that last caution, we just didn't get back up to go there. Something happened, we were just a little bit slow there on the straightaway, and I don't know if we maybe over-reved in the pits or what it was. By gone, we had a good truck today, and I wished we could've got up there with Ted and raced him a little more."
BILL LESTER (No. 8 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Ram) - 14th
"I not too pleased with how everything went today. I appreciate the effort that everyone's putting in, but we didn't come here to qualify third and finish 13th. We kept trying to get the truck so it wasn't so free in the middle and tight off the corners. We were fighting that all day and we couldn't shake it. I'm elated that we were able to qualify as well as we did, but we've just got to finish better. I'm not sure what it is. I don't know if it's my lack of experience that's hurting us, or if we missed the setups or what. I didn't come out here to run outside the top-10."