NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Press Conference 2004 Championship Contenders Nov. 18, 2004 Bobby Hamilton (Driver of the No. 4 Square D Dodge) - Current points leader Dennis Setzer (Driver of the No. 46 Silverado Chevrolet) - 2nd in points, 70...
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Press Conference
2004 Championship Contenders
Nov. 18, 2004
(Driver of the No. 4 Square D Dodge) - Current points leader
Dennis Setzer (Driver of the No. 46 Silverado Chevrolet) - 2nd in points, 70 boints back
Ted Musgrave (Driver of the No. 1 Mopar Dodge) - 3rd in points, 130 points back
Carl Edwards (Driver of the No. 99 Superchips Ford) - 4th in points, 148 points back
Question: Carl, you are technically eliminated from the championship at the drop of the green flag tomorrow, but we wanted to have you in here anyway. Tell us how you are approaching this weekend, and how your team is looking at this race this weekend. Also it has been a really good year for you - you have moved up to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition; you've had wins at Daytona, Kansas and Bristol.
Edwards: "It has been a great year. I think if I could start over again, we'd be in a lot better position. I feel like as a driver, driving that Cup car has helped me a lot to mature a little bit. These guys are unbelievable and I am just glad to be sitting up here this close to them. They are great drivers and I have learned a lot from them this year, and it has been a lot of fun. We really wanted to win this championship for Superchips, and we're just going to go out and try and win this race - lead as many laps as we can and win this thing. That is our mission tomorrow."
Question: Could you just comment on the year and some of the good finishes that you have had in the NEXTEL Cup so quickly.
Edwards: "This year has just been unbelievable for me. I never expected to be in the position of even driving a Craftsman Truck Series truck for a guy like Jack Roush, and to get to jump in that 99 Cup car and to have the great luck that we've had, had some of the runs that we have had is pretty amazing. I'm just living the dream, and it's pretty spectacular for me.
Question: Ted, you are in the third place position entering tomorrow's race - 130 points back of Bobby, and I know that you guys are going to need a lot of help, things that are going to have to happen. How's your team looking at this race tomorrow and setting up the truck.
Musgrave: "Evidently, maybe if the halfway flag comes out I'll be eliminated. It's pretty bleak for us, but we've had one heck of a second half of a season. The first part of the season didn't turn out very well. We really got behind. I think we were down to 17th in points. It looked pretty bleak for doing anything - even to try and get a top 10 was a struggle. So, to take the team and rally around it and change it all0x2866 The whole organization got changed. The crew chief got changed. All the trucks got changed. Actually, after about the fifth or sixth race of the season we basically had to rebuild a whole organization and start over. So, I'm pretty proud of what the guys have done for the last couple of months, coming out strong like this. It just shows that they are championship-caliber people, we've just got to put together a full year of that and go for it. Now that Dodge has won the manufacturers championship, my goal right now - I don't think I can win the championship here with these two guys (Bobby Hamilton and Dennis Setzer) being able to do what they're doing - but I will have a shot to maybe go out and lead laps and try to win the race for Mopar"
Edwards: My mission is to beat Ted in the points race right now.
Musgrave: Yeah, we have got our own little race going on right now.
Question: Have you ever been a part of a team that shifted gears like that in the middle of the season and rallied like you have?
Musgrave: "Well, not this bad. I know everybody in racing, if the season is not starting out very well then a lot of things get changed. You have a driver change or crew chief change. Things like that happen. But, we had a lot of changing going on. It just took a lot of hours and a lot of time, and to do that in the middle of the season - or even in a quarter of the way into the season - that's pretty tough on a team. I think it happens from time to time with people, but you can't win a championship by doing that. So, we're preparing ourselves for next year."
Question: Our second place driver, Dennis Setzer, driver of the No. 46 Chevrolet Silverado. You're 70 points behind Bobby Hamilton. How do you guys assess your chances going in to tomorrow's Ford 200.
Setzer: "It is going to be tough as far as that goes.The guys on my team have done a good job all year in race preparation, as far as anything falling off the trucks. Consistency has been there all year. Unfortunately, we had a little problem last week at Darlington, but that is just part of racing. All of us up here, the top-four in the points chase have had a similar problem at some time this season. Before Darlington, we were close enough to see Bobby again but now it will be really tough unless Bobby has some type of bad luck. It will be hard to actually catch him and beat him in points on the race track especially with as well as he runs. But we will just stick to our game tomorrow and see how it goes from there. Silverado has given us a chance to be here. This team has stepped up immensely this year. We moved the team from Oklahoma to Statesville, North Carolina. We came out of the box strong at the beginning of the season ever better than we ever thought we could. We haven't run quite as well here in the last part of the season as we did earlier in the year. We are searching to get that strength and consistency back under us right now."
Question: Will you and your guys pay attention or scenarios tomorrow or just go out there and do your job?
Setzer: "Unless something goes wrong with Bobby, there really aren't any scenarios for us to pay attention to. We just plan on sticking to our game plan, run as hard as we can, pick up as many positions as we can during the race. If something would unfortunately happen to Bobby during the race, then we would look at it at that time. But unless that situation unfolds, it isn't the right thing for us to look at anything else right now."
Question: And now our championship leader, Bobby Hamilton. Bobby, how has the week been? How's your team feeling? And how are you feeling going in to tomorrow's Ford 200?
Hamilton: "It's been pretty relaxed. I threatened to fire every one of them halfway through the year if they even focused on this thing. So, honestly (the pressure) has been pretty easy for my people because I really just made them have fun with this and not focus on it. You know, you have to sit back and look at what got all of us in all of this position, and that was winning races and running up front all of the time. And the minute you lose sight of doing your job, making weekends like that, that's the minute the points start going away. I told them last week, they had a bad stop the first week at Darlington, I came over the radio - I never say anything - and I said, 0x2858Calm down. Have fun. Forget it. Brush it off. Let's go out and race. Let's see if we can win the race, you know?' Obviously we're into the last race and we have to be careful what we do, but for them it's just been a pleasure watching them bop around, have fun, throw water balloons at one another. The other day they were in a wrestling match up in the hauler while practice was going on and I said, 0x2858Okay, I'll sit here and let them get through wrestling.' It's been pretty cool, seeing them, as the owner, staying in a laid back attitude mode."