David Starr, driver of the No. 10 International/MaxxForce Diesel Ford F-150, is the defending race winner of the Kroger 250 while Stacy Compton, driver of the No. 16 Melling Engine Parts Ford F-150 is a native of Virginia and very familiar with ...
David Starr, driver of the No. 10 International/MaxxForce Diesel Ford F-150, is the defending race winner of the Kroger 250 while Stacy Compton, driver of the No. 16 Melling Engine Parts Ford F-150 is a native of Virginia and very familiar with Martinsville Speedway. Below are some highlights from their press conference, which took place before practice.
STACY COMPTON -- No. 16 Melling Engine Parts Ford F-150
HOW HAS THIS SERIES CHANGED? "It's still as good a racing as its always been. The Truck Series, to me, it's more fun than anything we've done in a long, long time. I think the car of tomorrow is gonna be a lot like the Truck Series right now with the way they drive. I can't wait to see the car of tomorrow on a race track like an Atlanta or somewhere like that because I know the way the trucks drive and as much fun as they are, the Cup Series is gonna be the same way. I know a lot of people are not real happy with it, but I think it's gonna make for better racing and obviously it's safer. I think that's the key we all need to keep in mind, but the Truck Series is blast. As anything in our sport, it's gotten more and more competitive. Everytime you step into one of these things you realize there are more and more better teams any way you look at it. There are 30 good teams out there and, obviously with Toyota coming in and Ford stepping up their program and Chevy stepping up their program and Dodge, of course, all of the manufacturers right now are tough over here so it's good racing. It's good, hard racing. It's back to the basics of racing the way we used to do it, good short track rubbing, beating and banging and that's what the fans like to see."
DAVID STARR -- No. 10 International/MaxxForce Diesel Ford F-150
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT LAST YEAR'S RACE? "Last year was a great win for us. Anytime you come to Martinsville and win a race like any race here at Martinsville, this track is so treacherous and to come out of here clean and to come out winning the race was just incredible. Last year I was driving for Red Horse Racing and the truck I had that day was just incredible. It rolled through the center really good. It rolled the center so good and my forward bite up off the corner was incredible. People were saying, 'Man, you got off the gas so early on the straightaway,' well, one thing about Martinsville is it's easy in and hard off. If your truck is that good, you can race it that way. I think the same thing we saw last year during the races here at Martinsville, it's gonna be an exciting race. Stacy pointed it out. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, anywhere we go the competition level is so tough. There are 30 teams that can win any given weekend. We're coming back to Martinsville and coming back to the roots of where we grew up racing -- good old short track racing. You will see a lot of beating and banging and a lot of paint swapping. It's gonna be an exciting race tomorrow and I'm looking forward to getting out there and getting started. We have different changes this year. We've got a splitter on the front instead of a valance, so there might be some question marks in my head about how the truck is gonna react differently from last year, so I'm looking forward to getting started to see if we're gonna have to change the setup that we had last year. I won't know until we make a couple of laps, but it's gonna be exciting I do know that."
YOU'RE TEAMMATES WITH RICK CRAWFORD THIS YEAR, WHO HAS ALSO WON HERE.
DAVID STARR: "Even though we won the race here last year and my teammate, Rick Crawford, won the race here a couple years ago, it doesn't really mean much for the race tomorrow. We know what it takes to win. We know the feel that we need. We tested last week at Caraway Speedway and had a great test. Hopefully we can bring that to the race tomorrow. We know what we need to do and hopefully we can get it done. The Truck Series is so competitive and whoever has the best truck or can be the most patient and have a good handling truck and take care of their equipment will be the guys that run up front all day tomorrow. Hopefully, it'll be me or my new teammate Rick Crawford."
HOW WOULD IT BE TO WIN HERE?
STACY COMPTON: "For anybody that knows, this is the reason I'm here -- Martinsville Speedway. We came here in '96, made the show and got a lot of people's attention. In turn, the next year we signed a truck deal and was able to start our career basically here. This is my hometown. I slept in my own bed last night and drove up this morning, so there's a lot of people here watching us -- a lot of family and a lot of friends. It would be pretty cool to come to Martinsville and win. We've come close. We've come close in late model. We run good in the trucks and ran good in the Cup cars and Busch cars as well, so this is one of the dates on the schedule that when we look at it, we get excited about coming back here. It's been awhile since I've been here in a truck. I was pretty excited to come last year with the Busch Series and run some laps here after they repaved it and re-concreted the corners. That changed the track a bunch. It's got a lot more grip than it used to, but it's the same old Martinsville. You've still got to get in the corner, get through the corners and, once again, take care of your equipment. This is my hometown, so if we could win a race here it would be pretty big."
DOES WINNING HERE GIVE YOU CONFIDENCE FOR TOMORROW?
DAVID STARR: "It really does. I'm just glad to be a part of Circle Bar Racing, glad to have a teammate like Rick Crawford and glad to be driving a Ford F-150. We've got a great sponsor in International MaxxForce Diesel. We've got a lot going on for our new team, but we definitely haven't lived up to our expectations. We built a new truck that we tested last week. When you come together as a two-truck team -- Circle Bar Racing bought out another team and bought out all the equipment. As a teammate working together as one team, we don't have the same chassis yet. We're working together for the future to get the same chassis, so we can benefit each other. The benefits of a two-truck team is to run the same equipment and work back and forth and try different things. We don't have that luxury yet. If we had to start over from scratch, we might not have even been ready for this race here, so we're working through some issues right now. I think as time goes on, it's gonna be beneficial to the MaxxForce team, so we're looking forward to the race tomorrow because we built a new truck for it and we tested good last week. We're looking to turn our season around. The first three races have been very disappointing for us."
WHY IS THIS TRACK SO HARD FOR DRIVERS TO GET COMFORTABLE?
STACY COMPTON: "I think it's a combination of several things. You're in a car that weighs a bunch more than almost any of us used to run, you're on radial tires and you can't stop these things. We used to run 300 or 400 horsepower and these things are 700-plus horsepower. The biggest problem you run into, and I think anybody you ask that struggles here like a Greg Biffle, probably one of the best in the business, but it's not his type of race track. He's a racer that wants to run wide-open all the time. This place you can overdrive it so easy and I catch myself doing it. As many times as I've been here, I'll tell the guys, 'Put a rev-limiter or a chip in it that will let me know when to back off,' simply because we're racers and we want to run as fast as we can. We want to drive in the corner as hard as we can and, as a racer, it's hard to roll out of the gas early and you will, you'll overdrive this place probably easier than anywhere we go. With the horsepower that you've got, you try to drive in the corner as hard as you can, but then when you get back on the gas, a lot of people pick the gas up too early and, in turn, spin the tires so it's a tricky place. This place is probably as close to a road course as anything you'll run because you do have to finesse it so much."