BRENDAN GAUGHAN (No. 62 Orleans Racing Dodge Ram) "We gave everybody a chance to keep it tight. The fans love it. It made it more exciting to be up here and have a chance to do something like this. We know we have a great program. We won the...
BRENDAN GAUGHAN (No. 62 Orleans Racing Dodge Ram)
"We gave everybody a chance to keep it tight. The fans love it. It made it more exciting to be up here and have a chance to do something like this. We know we have a great program. We won the pole at South Boston. We just didn't race very well. At Martinsville I had to follow D.W. for 60 laps, and you can't move D.W. That would be a career-ending move if you moved D.W. out of the way. It would not work well. We've been running pretty good.
"We were running great at Phoenix, heading for Kevin Harvick. I told Kevin today that if I had got there I was going to move him, I didn't care if he got mad or not. I've seen him move people. We're having a lot of fun right now. We've got a great truck. This is the truck that won at Michigan and finished second at California and won Vegas. This track to me reminds me a little of Michigan and a little of Texas. It's really cool. You go into the corner and follow somebody. One of us goes high and another goes to the bottom and you move back around. They did a nice job here. I think absolutely nothing of South Boston when I'm here. We're just having a lot of fun.
"Jimmy Smith was one of the originators of the California supertruck series. It was started by a bunch of off roaders. Walker Evans was one of those guys. He was my team owner forever. We're basically the only off roaders that are left and basically the only people left on the west coast. I guess Dennis (Setzer) is the furtherest west besides us, and he's in Oklahoma. We believe it can be done, and we've been working hard at it. I was hoping Jim Smith could bring one more truck here this weekend for my mother to drive. My mom has her helmet and race suit, but Jimmy said he couldn't find another truck to give her. We made the commitment three or four years ago when we opened this race team that we were going to do it from the west coast. It's working out really well for us. Our guys don't leave the team. A lot of guys are looking to come to work for us.
"It would mean a lot to win the drivers' championship for Dodge. I've been a Dodge driver since I was 15 years old. We won the Winston West Championship with Scott Lynch in a Dodge this year, and that was pretty exciting for them already. Whether it's Jimmy Smith or myself, we'd both be honored to win the championship for Dodge.
"Why would I run the 61? Scott is in the 61 truck. It's Lone Star and it's our four-time Texas winner. Scott won the Winston West championship for us, so we gave him a truck to run this race. We have what we feel is the best Dodge in the field. It's very strong. It's very good. It's been in the wind tunnel and we know the numbers on it. I won Texas from the back. We started in the back in two other races this year. It's going to be exciting for the fans. Dennis started in the back at Martinsville and won the race.
"The engine wasn't the problem at Phoenix. That was a plug wire. It's not that we have an engine problem. We don't even know what this one is yet. Something weird had to happen. There was some metal in the intake. I really don't know what that means, but I'm never nervous about our engines. I've lost one motor in a race in five years, and that was at Kentucky this year. We found out what the problem was with that, and it's fixed. When you lose an engine in practice, you just save yourself a bunch of headaches. The new engine has two horsepower less than the one we took out, so we're not worried.
"It's no big deal. I played basketball for John Thompson at Georgetown. Here's pressure. I'm sitting on the bench in the Big East Tournament. There's 25 seconds left and you're up by one. You're sitting on the bench and you can't do anything. You sit and watch and wait. Ray Allen of Connecticut throws up a shot with nine seconds left and it falls. We get the ball back and all you can do is watch your superstar run down the court and hope his shot is true. That's pressure. I can't do anything.
"My dad the other day tried to tell Shane Wilson (crew chief) to take camber out of the right front to be safe. My dad doesn't know what the hell camber is. He picked up the book "Crew Chiefing for Dummies" and decided to say something. I called Coach Thompson and told him to call my dad. Coach laughed and said, 'let me guess. He's trying to take control of everything.' He told me we had to keep doing what got us here. We're not changing anything. They've got to hope we have a bad day.
"I have fun with this stuff. It's great for the fans. Ted and I are good friends. We're having fun. My attitude wouldn't change if I had a 100-point lead or a five-point lead. There's 10 seconds left in the game, it's the national championship and I'm up by three. My team has the ball. I'm going to try to score. I want to win the Bud Pole Award. We believe this Dodge can win the pole. We want to go win everything and prove the team from the west coast can win it all. Our raceteam is very good. I have all the faith in the world in them. I know how good that Dodge truck is. It's very good, and I know we have a shot to win this race."
TED MUSGRAVE (No. 1 Mopar Performance Dodge Ram)
"Everybody has got their favorite track, and this was kinda my ace in the hole. Last year we led the most laps here and almost won the race. The previous year we ran good in the Cup race here. When they changed it I just hoped it wouldn't be like Texas. We were struggling a little bit the first day trying to get the balance we needed for this particular truck. This truck is not a superspeedway type truck. We got a handle on it today. It feels a lot better. I'm in a pretty good mood right now. The only thing is the team that doesn't get a flat tire or run out of gas or have any misfortunes on the racetrack is the guy to beat.
"I think all the four trucks (with a shot at the championship) are running pretty close in race conditions. I think it's going to be a heck of a race when they drop the green flag on Friday. Halfway through the race, we're pretty much riding along until then, and then from halfway on is when you'll see these guys stand on it. I think it'll be a heck of a battle.
"Dodge is looking for upcoming drivers, and the 7 truck has been out there since halfway through the season. It's a driver development deal. Marty Houston used to drive a lot, and he's looking for a ride. He's been the truck chief for his brother on the 2 truck all year long, so here's a little incentive program for Marty. The same thing with P.J. Jones. He's a real good friend with Jimmy Smith. That's Parnelli's boy out there, and he told him back in California that we were going to have a truck for him. The 1 and 2 trucks have been there all year, and the other guys were told not to interfere on any part of it. It's driver development and a freebee saying thank you.
"Dodge has been in it quite awhile. They won the manufacturers' title year before last. Chevrolet has pretty much gathered up everything else. To win the driver and the manufacturers' championship in the same year, I think that's the ultimate goal right now. All the Dodge guys are pretty nervous and sweating it out right now, but I told them not to worry about it. Brendan and I will just run side by side for the last hundred laps. We've got to make it exciting for everybody.
"Don't get me wrong. I would have loved for the track to stay like it was, but it's a good thing for everybody they made the changes. Nobody has any notes. Nobody has any homecourt advantage. If we'd had it in Martinsville, we might as well put Dennis Setzer's name on the trophy. It it had been at Texas, it would have been Brendan's. Now we've all got a shot at it. It's the greatest thing in the world to have it like this. I would have given anything to have it like it was, but it's fair for everybody now.
"We're just going to try to drive as hard as we can and make the best decisions we can and at the end of the day look up and say where did it play out? That's all we can do, give it our best shot and see where we land. We've got next year coming up, too.
"I think the Craftsman Truck Series is a neat little deal. I spent 10 or 11 years in Winston Cup and you get burned out over there. You could be over there running 25th and driving just as hard as the guy leading the race, just because of the team and the equipment you get. I was getting kinda tired of that. I came over here and talked to Jimmy Smith about the 7 car. He told me about the truck, talked about two hours and signed the deal. I've got one of the best teams in the series, trucks, sponsors. I could win poles and go for the championship. It doesn't matter what you're racing. We could be out here running shopping carts at K-mart, and I'd still want to win."