This Week in Ford Racing July 5, 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Todd Kluever, driver of the No. 50 Ford F-150, posted a career-best second-place finish last week at Kansas Speedway in his first raced teamed with veteran crew chief Mike ...
This Week in Ford Racing
July 5, 2005
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Todd Kluever, driver of the No. 50 Ford F-150, posted a career-best second-place finish last week at Kansas Speedway in his first raced teamed with veteran crew chief Mike Beam. Kluever, the winner of last year's Roush Racing Gong Show, spoke about the need for change on his team and the 2005 edition of Roush's Race for the Ride.
TODD KLUEVER-50-World Financial Group Ford F-150
WAS THE CREW CHIEF CHANGE LAST WEEK THE SPARK YOUR TEAM NEEDED?
"Having Mike Beam and Hal Ralston (team engineer) and Steve McCain (truck chief) come over was the key to last week's performance. McCain can light a fire under anybody, and he proved that last year when he worked with Carl on the 99 truck. That was definitely the spark that we needed. All of the guys have a bounce in their step now and are excited about the rest of the season. For Mike, Hal and Steve McCain to come in and run that well right out of the gate with those guys is really a neat deal, and I'm looking forward to continuing that for the rest of the season."
DID YOU HAVE ANY INPUT INTO THE DECISION TO SWAP CREWS OR DID JACK ROUSH IMPLEMENT THAT CHANGE?
"That was Jack's decision and I support him in it. Jack is not content to run fifth to 15th where the trucks were running. He wants to run in the front, he wants to win races and he wants to contend for championships. Obviously, it was no hidden secret that the way things were we weren't going to do that and he wanted to make a change and I support him in any decision he makes."
PREPARATIONS FOR THE NEXT ROUSH RACING GONG SHOW ARE PROGRESSING. WHAT WILL YOUR ROLE BE IN THE LATEST EDITION?
"As far as I know I'll be there doing what I can to help get the contestants through it and giving them advice. I'm also going to be doing some sit-down stuff with the contestants after they get done driving that night. I guess whatever the people at Roush Racing need me to do I'll do. The Discovery Channel show, I know some of that will be about me being the previous winner, and I'm going to help with some of the behind-the-scenes stuff with what the contestants are going through and what's on their minds at certain points of the day."
ARE YOU THANKFUL YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE PROCESS THIS YEAR WITH OVER 1,600 APPLICANTS?
"I always said that last year was hard enough, but this year is going to be harder. Not only are there so many applicants, but also because of the publicity with the Discovery Channel coming on board, there's going to be so many quality contestants there. It's going to probably be more competitive than the Gong Show that I was in, and there's going to be TV cameras in front of your face and that's going to be a new element that I didn't have to deal with when I went through my Gong Show. I'm definitely happy I went through it when I did and don't have to go through this one."
SO YOU FEEL THAT THERE WILL BE MORE PRESSURE PUT ON THIS YEAR'S APPLICANTS?
"With the Discovery Channel being there filming the whole thing and all of the behind-the-scenes stuff, it's definitely going to be a lot of pressure on these kids to not only perform on the race track, but to be the complete package off of the race track, too. I think when it's all said and done they're going to have a very fair assessment of who is going to be able to handle all of the stuff, not only driving the cars but having TV cameras put in their face and doing interviews; everything that driver needs to do nowadays. It's definitely going to be challenging."
WITH THE SUCCESS OF PAST WINNERS, DO YOU FEEL ADDED PRESSURE BEING A WINNER OF THE GONG SHOW?
"They've never really put a lot of pressure on me in that sense here. I've been very fortunate that Jack has supported me 100 percent and never questioned me. I've just worked really hard to figure out what I need in the trucks so I can drive them, and I think he's given me the opportunity to find that and we're starting to run a little better every week now. I felt more privilege than pressure just to be picked and compared in the same category as the previous winners. They've believed in me and I believe in myself and they've never really put the pressure on me to perform, and they just know that when we get everything right that we can perform."
ROUSH RACING RECENTLY ANNOUNCED THE ADDITION OF MAX JONES AS GENERAL MANAGER OF THE MOORESVILLE SHOP. HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO MEET WITH HIM YET?
"I have not had a chance to sit down and talk with Max yet. Last week I was home and this week I'm doing some sponsorship appearances in Las Vegas, so I haven't really gotten to see Max since he's been here. From what I understand, and I have talked to him on the phone quite a bit, he seems like a great guy. The neat part about it for me is that he was a driver himself, so he knows exactly what I'm talking about when we have a conversation and he knows what it's like to be a general manager and that side of the business, too. He's very organized and he's going to bring a lot of good things to the table, not only the truck teams but the Busch team, too. Looking at what he did with Roush Racing before and the championships that they've won and the amount of races they've won when he was managing in Livonia (Mich.). He's just going to be a welcome addition to our shop."