Martinsville II: Winning team interview

MIKE SKINNER , No. 5 Toyota Tundra, Bill Davis Racing Finished: 1st How does it feel to have swept both races this year at Martinsville? "I thought Jimmy Hensley was the undisputed king of Martinsville -- see Jimmy when you quit racing they...

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

1st How does it feel to have swept both races this year at Martinsville?

"I thought Jimmy Hensley was the undisputed king of Martinsville -- see Jimmy when you quit racing they all forget about you. For us to sweep both races at Martinsville with Jeff (Hensley) living just a couple miles through the woods over here -- that's pretty good. It's great that Bill Davis Racing was a part of Toyota winning their second consecutive Manufacturer Championship and I think they clinched that today. If we wouldn't have won then I think the No. 60 (Jack Sprague) would have and he did an awesome job running us clean -- I owe a lot to him."

Did you have a different strategy in today's race and did you have the best truck?

"Jack and Terry (Cook) got together and Terry was on a different strategy -- they had the motor de-tuned, trying to make it on fuel mileage and that took away some of the horsepower when you do that. We came here with the same thought, but we had too much to loose by gambling at Martinsville so we tuned the motor back up. I have to thank all the guys back at TRD (Toyota Racing Development), they put some power back in the motor and then we just had to stop and get gas. When Jack and Terry got together it really opened the door for me. I really didn't think I had a truck that was strong enough to stay up front, especially if we went green for a long time. The No. 60 was the best truck on the long green, but those cautions kept flying and we came out victorious."

How does it feel to regain the point lead now by one point?

"This thing will probably change back and forth a couple more times. Hopefully he gets the lead at Atlanta, I take the lead at Texas, he gets it at Phoenix and I get it at Homestead -- that's what I want."

What does it mean to clinch the Manufacturers' Championship for Toyota with your win here today?

"First of all -- it started in February when Jack Sprague won the race in Daytona. (Johnny) Benson has won three races and we were fortunate to win some races. Todd Bodine has won a couple races so it's not any one team that can win this thing. Toyota is really good about giving information to all the race teams -- our engines, our stuff is really equal and you can see hat every week. I just want to thank Toyota for allowing myself and Jeff (Hensley) for allowing us to be a part of this program."

What type of adjustments and changes did you make to your truck today?

"We always get upset with Goodyear when the right-front tires wear out so we need to make sure to praise them on such an awesome tire here at Martinsville. We were able to run 200 laps on those same tires and there with one lap to go, on a slick race track, we ran a lap within a tenth of where we qualified. I expected a lot more mix-up there at the end -- I knew Jack was hungry for a win and he definitely played it like a true champion. He could have wrecked us and he chose not to. I just hope that some day the shoe is on the other foot and I can pay him back with that same type of respect."

Were you points racing today with all the wrecks around you?

"In order to be there at the end of these races, you have to do an awful lot of riding during the race. I had a lot of tire left and a lot of brake left there at the end of the race. The brakes only got upset with me once during the race and we got a caution so I was able to get them cooled back down. In fact I turned all the fans off there at the end to try to get as much horsepower as she would give me. Then when I hit the gas, I was wishing that I had about 50 less horsepower because the track was so slick and all I did was spin the tires. But the horsepower came in handy on the backstretch."

Did this race seem any wilder to you than other short track races this season?

"It's the Craftsman Truck Series and it's exciting. We've seen lead changes, we've seen tempers, we've seen people act professional -- we've seen it all. When you come to tracks like Martinsville, Bristol and Richmond -- you're going to see it all. This was only a 200-lap race and we never really had a chance to adjust on our truck -- we never changed tires and all we ever got to do was adjust a little wedge on the thing. After we started back I thought that was a bad decision, but after we lost some fuel in the thing and we got a bunch of nose weight -- I thought it was better. It was classic short track racing at Martinsville and it was awesome."

What was your impression of Dario Franchitti and Jacques Villeneuve in today's race?

"Those guys are just like Juan Pablo (Montoya) and he's proven that it can be done. You have to understand that it would probably be easier for Jeff Gordon to go drive a Formula 1 car than it would be for Jacques Villeneuve to come drive the No. 24 (Gordon) car. These cars are heavy, they don't stop, they won't turn and they want to spin the tires when you hit the gas. That's a challenge when you're used to something that drives like a go-kart or a slot car where you have traction control and engineers on the box tuning the motors while the car is going around the race track. You know what your tire temperatures are while you're going around the race track, which makes it pretty easy on the crew chief. That is very high tech racing and NASCAR has done a great job keeping this where it's not just the driver or the crew chief or the engine builder. Everything has to go perfect in order to win a race in any of NASCAR's big three divisions."

JEFF HENSLEY , Crew Chief, No. 5 Toyota Tundra, Bill Davis Racing

Can you talk about the way the race progressed today?

"We didn't really have as good of a truck here today as we did in the spring. We were mandated to pull a little higher gear than we had here in the spring and I think it hurt us. We never really got the truck where it needed to be or where we probably could have gotten. With the race only being 200 laps -- we only had one shot at it. We thought about making it a fuel mileage race, but we kind of gave up on that strategy before the race even started because it was too risky. Mike took a mediocre truck and ran great with it -- track position meant everything today and you could see that early on. That's why we got gas only when we came to pit road -- that enabled us to pick up a spot and then when Jack and Terry got together we were able to take the lead. We had a pretty good truck today, but not nearly as good as we had in the spring. I kept thinking with about five laps to go that I wanted to carry this truck to Phoenix and I was starting to worry. Mike did a heck of a job -- it's unbelievable that we swept both races at Martinsville."

-credit: toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Todd Bodine , Jacques Villeneuve , Dario Franchitti , Jack Sprague , Jimmy Hensley
Teams Bill Davis Racing , Toyota Racing