Aric Almirola earned his second career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) win on Saturday at Michigan International Speedway. Almirola led only the final seven laps of the 100-lap race, which included a series track record of 20 lead ...
Aric Almirola earned his second career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) win on Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.
Almirola led only the final seven laps of the 100-lap race, which included a series track record of 20 lead changes among 10 drivers.
The victory was the 71st for Toyota since entering the NCWTS in 2004 and third at the two-mile track, which was also the site of the first Toyota win in NASCAR (2004).
Tundra drivers Todd Bodine (second), Kyle Busch (third), Timothy Peters (sixth), David Starr (eighth) and Nelson Piquet Jr. (10th) also earned top-10 finishes.
Toyota drivers Mike Skinner (12th), Justin Lofton (18th) and Brad Sweet (19th) were also in the field.
Bodine continues to lead in the unofficial NCWTS point standings, now 55 points ahead of second-place Almirola. Peters (third), Skinner (sixth) and Starr (eighth) are also in the top-10 in points after nine of 25 races.
ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 51 Zyclara/Graceway Pharmaceuticals Toyota Tundra,
Billy Ballew Motorsports
Finishing Position: 1st
How was your race today? "We struggled at the beginning of the race just being really tight. Dirty air was so bad today. Clean air was so important and we got to the front and we got in clean air and it just was a different truck. It drove great. It was a little bit free where I had fought tight all day, but Richie Wauters (crew chief) and all the guys at Billy Ballew Motorsports - they work their tails off all week long and it shows man. We had an awesome truck. I want to thank Graceway Pharmaceuticals. They stuck behind us and they've been a great supporter of ours. I want to thank the fans - what a crowd today. I was doing my burnout there and I seen them all cheering and waving and stuff so that's cool. That makes you feel good when you come and see a packed house like that."
TODD BODINE, No. 30 Germain.com Toyota Tundra, Germain Racing
Finishing Position: 2nd
How do you feel about finishing second in today's race? "You never like to lose, that's for sure. We had a great Tundra and the Germain crew did a great job. Aric (Almirola) was just good at the end when he needed it. Richie Wauters (Almirola crew chief) has proved over and over - he put Kyle (Busch) in victory lane and he's going to put Aric in there also. We had a great race truck. That's Camping World Truck Series racing at its finest. That's what its about and that's why people love to watch our races and come to the races. It's hard-nosed, go get 'em every lap racing and it's a lot of fun."
How instrumental was your crew in your finish? "I said it all along and I say it every week, I have the best crew on pit road. They do one hell of a job and they got us off pit road first. On the second run, our truck was too tight in the middle and the last run, it was too tight on exit. That's why I just couldn't roll up outside of Aric (Almirola), I got too tight outside on exit. The crew, they build great Tundras, put them on the race track every week and knock on wood, we'll keep doing it and keep plugging away and keep these top-fives -- when we can win, we win."
How do you feel about your team at this point in the season? "We're back in our form. At the beginning of the year we were struggling pretty hard. (Mike Hillman) Jr. (crew chief) got it figured out and now the trucks are driving incredibly well. It's fast, it's doing what we need it to do and we just have to continue doing what we're doing. We didn't come here to finish second, but we finished second and you have to look at it as a points day. Aric (Almirola) gained five or three points on us because he won. We stayed right with him that was good. We look forward to every race. This one's over and where are we going next? Iowa. It was a good day. Nobody likes to lose. Unlike a lot of people, I'm not a sore loser. I'm happy for Aric and Billy (Ballew, team owner) and Richie Wauters (crew chief) and the whole bunch. They worked hard. They've proved that they can put any driver in there and win now. That means a lot to a race team and a group of guys that work their guts out every week to put these things on the race track. I'm proud of them to go out there and be able to do that. At the same time, I have to say that I'm proud of Austin (Dillon) for what he's doing. He's doing a hell of a job - a rookie and never been at these places. Doing awesome."
Were you surprised when Aric Almirola took the lead from you? "I won't say that I was surprised, maybe it caught me a little off guard. On that restart, I told (Mike Hillman) Jr., 'Man, this is tough, who do you want behind you?' Be on the outside or be on the inside and take the chance of having him drive around you. So I chose Kyle (Busch) and the outside. Aric's (Almirola) is a hell of a racer and they had a good truck when it counted. That just proves you can never count them out. They are always going to be there. On a short run like that, especially as many laps as we rode around under caution with the tires cooling down, everybody's handling pretty good for three or four or five laps. I really believe if the race was 10 laps longer that I probably would have beat him. He was starting to get really tight down there blocking me and I was still rolling good. I wasn't getting any tighter, I was still rolling good and the longer the run went, the faster our truck was. Like racing with Kyle, I could really beat him off the corner and that's what was going to happen with Aric if it was another 10 laps, but it wasn't another 10 laps. It just proves again how good this series really is and how good the competition is and why our fan base and TV audience is growing. The Camping World Truck Series is proving every week that we deserve to be here racing and putting on great shows for our fans."
What was it like racing three-wide at the end of the race? "For me it was easy, I was on the outside. I think Aric (Almirola) was in the middle so it was a little harder for him because I am taking some of his air. I made sure I gave him plenty of room. I won't name names, but there's a lot of drivers that pinch you right down and suck the air off of you and spin you out. I wasn't going to do that. It was too good of a race and that's what racing is all about. Then Kyle (Busch) was on the inside and he had it the toughest. It looked spectacular and it really is when you're inside there. There's a couple times when my spotter called, 'Four-wide.' I was like, you have to be kidding me. It was fun and that was great racing. I finished second and second sucks, but I had a lot of fun."
How much did you enjoy today's race? "This is why I started racing. A lot of guys in this sport have lost site of that fact of why we're here and why we do this. It's a damn shame that some people can't go back out there and enjoy it. I just want you to all know that the Truck Series is a lot of fun and this is what we do every week. A lot of you guys don't see us every week, but this is what we do and we have fun doing it and it's a crying shame that the rest of these guys can't."
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Finishing Position: 3rd
Did you have anything at the end of today's race? "Just didn't have enough unfortunately. Can't thank Toyota enough, M&M's and all the guys on this team. They gave me a good truck and the driver didn't get it done."
What happened on the restart with Todd Bodine? "Just typical NASCAR restart. He (Todd Bodine) slowed down, didn't go by the first one, he went by the second one, it was fine and it was legal. Then he didn't go. He held his truck part throttle to where I had to slow down so I didn't beat him to the start-finish line. He just suckered me and then (Ron) Hornaday got me three-wide going down into turn one. The race for the wreck was on."
What were the challenges you faced with your truck today? "My truck was all over the place so I could run the top in (turns) one and two and the bottom in three and four. When you can only run a specific line and you can't move around the race track anywhere else, then you're stuck. Especially here, you can't pass a guy down on the bottom of one and two because you're loose down there and you can't go up high in one and two and get on their outside because then you're going to be loose in three and four. Just frustrating the way we didn't have it right."
TIMOTHY PETERS, No. 17 Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing
Finishing Position: 6th
DAVID STARR, No. 81 Zachry Toyota Tundra, Randy Moss Motorsports
Finishing Position: 8th
How was your truck in today's race? "Our Zachry Toyota Tundra was a handful today. It was tough. It was so wicked loose that we went a lap down. I just couldn't drive it and it was unbearable. The first couple pit stops, we dropped the track bar. (Turns) three and four were awesome, but I couldn't turn the wheel left in one and two - you have to be able to turn to go through the corners when you're racing. It was ugly. The team made some changes and they were some good adjustments that made the truck come alive. Then we got lucky and the caution came out and we got the lucky dog and we were able to battle back to a top-10 finish. It was just a team effort and we never gave up."
NELSON PIQUET JR., No. 15 Qualcomm/ArcSight Toyota Tundra, Billy Ballew
Finishing Position: 10th
MIKE SKINNER, No. 5 International Trucks/Monaco RV Toyota Tundra, Randy
Finishing Position: 12th
JUSTIN LOFTON, No. 7 VisitPit.com Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing
Finishing Position: 18th
BRAD SWEET, No. 90 Great Clips Toyota Tundra, Stringer Motorsports
Finishing Position: 19th
-source: toyota motorsports