Las Vegas: Race winner interview

MIKE SKINNER , No. 5 Toyota Tundra, Bill Davis Racing Finished: 1st How does it feel to get your first win of 2008? "Erik's (Darnell) truck was awfully good. That 6 (Colin Braun) was right up my butt. I knew I wasn't going to wreck to win the...

MIKE SKINNER , No. 5 Toyota Tundra, Bill Davis Racing
Finished: 1st

How does it feel to get your first win of 2008?

"Erik's (Darnell) truck was awfully good. That 6 (Colin Braun) was right up my butt. I knew I wasn't going to wreck to win the race. I was going to push him, bounce off of him, do whatever I needed to do but he's a friend, he's a class act and he has a great future in this business. He's a great guy. Right now the No. 5 truck is back in victory lane and I want to thank Tundra. Man, we struggled. This team has really struggled but Doug Richert (crew chief) came over and he's a man of his word. He kept his word to television, did TV tonight and Slugger Labbe stood in for him. Last time I was here with Slugger I think we qualified fifth in Cup racing. Thank you Toyota."

What was going through your mind on that last lap?

"It's amazing. I tell you. I've been beat many, many times when I had the fastest truck. Erik Darnell is going to be sitting up here one day saying the same thing. He had the fastest truck tonight. We were just able to work him hard on the restarts and he was doing everything he was supposed to do to win the race. That's all the kid was doing and he's a good guy and a good driver. I knew I had to do something different from what I'd been doing and I thought they were going to line up and freight train me. I said, 'if they all think I'm going to the bottom, I'm going to the top.' I went to the top and his truck was so strong he came back and passed me on the outside. We just bounced off of it and killed his momentum a little bit. I wasn't going to wreck him to win the race. I don't think he'd do that either."

Did you think things were going to go your way after your qualifying run?

"I didn't know what was going to happen after qualifying. The weird part about the race was our truck was really, really good on that first run right there. It started getting loose there toward the end. They made a little air pressure adjustment and lowered the track bar down half a turn and the truck was so loose I couldn't drive it after that. Those left side tires stayed on the truck the rest of the night. Slugger Labbe (interim crew chief) chose to take right side tires and I thought he was a little early to do that and then we had to do it again. I think that's why our truck wasn't as good as Erik's (Darnell) but I think we were on the same tire cycle. I really didn't know what was going to happen. I knew that no matter what happened we made a lot of gains this weekend. Doug Richert (crew chief) did a phenomenal calling practice and Slugger Labbe did a good job calling the race. He put us in position to win the race and if we'd have finished fifth or 10th, I still think it was a successful day because of how much we struggled all year."

What do you think about the number of cautions in this evening's race?

"Erik (Darnell) and I were out there four seconds ahead of third-place with 20 or 30 to go. Those cautions started coming and I said, 'this isn't good.' I didn't like the cautions, I thought it was ridiculous how some of the folks were driving out there in the back. I don't want to bad mouth anyone but I sure wasn't liking it. I knew if it just stayed green we were going to finish second. What I didn't like about the race won the race for me -- what can you say?"

How important is this victory to you?

"I have a lot of races left to do here in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and we're running a handful of Cup races now. I enjoy it, I enjoy my life and I enjoy doing what I'm doing."

How is the relationship you've had with Johnny (Benson) been this year?

"It started back about a month ago. Trip Bruce (No. 23 crew chief) came to Richmond and helped us a lot with a test. He shared a lot with what the 23 was doing and having success with and really tried to help us a lot. We just went through a wall since Jeff Hensley (former crew chief) left. We've just not had the depth in this race team that I feel like it takes to win races. Mark Chambers, Bill Davis and all the folks at Toyota, we tried really hard to hire Wally Rogers and Kevin Harvick wouldn't let him come work for us. Doug Richert was kind enough to step in and take the job. He's done a phenomenal job for us."

Is today's deal with Doug in the TV booth going to continue?

"No, no, I think Doug (Richert, crew chief) is going to be able to call the rest of the races. I certainly hope so and I admire Doug for being a man of his word. He made a commitment to the television folks and he fulfilled it. I know he had a hard time sitting up there and doing his job tonight."

-credit: toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Colin Braun , Erik Darnell , Doug Richert
Teams Bill Davis Racing