Sparta: Dodge race notes and quotes

ROBERT PRESSLEY (No. 18 Bobby Hamilton Racing Dodge Ram) NOTE: Pressley finished third, earning his fourth top-five and seventh top-10 this year. "I'm pretty happy about the finish with what we had to go up against. This is a new truck that...

ROBERT PRESSLEY (No. 18 Bobby Hamilton Racing Dodge Ram)
NOTE: Pressley finished third, earning his fourth top-five and seventh top-10 this year.

"I'm pretty happy about the finish with what we had to go up against. This is a new truck that we've just had for the last couple of races, ever since Danny Rollins came on as crew chief. We've been taking the Bobby Hamilton Dodge and have been regrouping and redoing the truck, just working the bugs out of it. The thing is, we've been competitive the last couple of weeks. We've been up there where our Dodge needs to be. We can't worry about what we're doing with the Chevrolets and Fords because they're kind of in a different league than we are. We're just kind of racing the Dodges right now.

"The longer we'd run, the faster we'd get throughout the whole night. What made it good was that during both pit stops the crew, led by Danny Rollins, brought us up in positions. No matter what you do, the easiest truck to pass is the one sitting on pit road. That's what those guys have been working for, and they know that's what it's going to take to win races.

"We're starting our own notebook this year because it just seems like the way Bobby Hamilton, Joe Ruttman and I all drive, everybody is totally different. Joe had run trucks for a long time. I think the worst thing that I've got to worry about right now is to get a lot of this car-syndrome out of my system and worry about this truck wants."

JASON LEFFLER (No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge Ram) NOTE: Leffler finished fifth, earning his sixth top-five and eighth top-10 on the year.

"The track changed just a little bit from the rain that came today, but we didn't really have to change much. We just tried to make the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge a little bit better with our first pit stops. Tim Kohuth and all the Ultra Bad Boys did a great job. We had awesome pit stops again, so that got us up front today. I've got to thank Team ASE, CARQUEST, Dodge and Arrington Engines, everybody involved in our team. We did all we could do and we ended up fifth. We probably would have ended up second or third, but we blew the transmission up leaving for our final green flag pit stop. I had to leave in fourth gear and we kind of lugged along. Everybody did a great job tonight, so we'll just keep digging.

"We just got behind the No. 14. He had a good truck, and he had a good truck last week. The last few weekends it's between the two of us and the No. 16. Bliss has really been quick, so we're just going to have to work to keep up with him."

TED MUSGRAVE (No. 1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge Ram)

"Well we made a mistake at the end and stayed out there a little too long on the tires we were sliding around on. Some of the guys in the back like Robert Pressley and Dennis Setzer, a few of them neglected to come in and get tires. The top-five guys stayed out at that time, which didn't help us at all because we ran too long on that set of tires. That was a top-10 for us, but that's nowhere near what we wanted to do. We want to keep racking in those the top-fives. We'll have to think about it. There was a little miscue in the pits. The jack man fell down and we had lug nuts fall off, just the usual stuff."

"The track was a little tight in the beginning because of the rain that came down earlier today. You've got to set the trucks up a little loose early in the run to have them balance themselves out later anyhow. We just didn't have it for 'em this time. We just tried our best, and we'll pick 'em up next time."

BRENDAN GAUGHAN (No. 62 NAPA/Orleans Dodge Ram) NOTE: With his 11th-place finish, Gaughan was the top-finishing Raybestos Rookie for the seventh time in 2002.

"For all the mile-and-a-halves that have been built in the country right now that all of us are calling cookie cutter tracks, and are kind of boring - Vegas is the closest one to my heart of course - this track is the only one that has gotten into a full second groove. In turns three and four you can go three-wide. It's really has brought in a great groove in turns three and four. Whoever repaved this place has really done a great job of it because it's really the only other mile and a half track that is pure two-groove. You can go high and not be nervous.

"Anybody who was driving a Dodge tonight is my hero. With the way NASCAR has these rules setup - and I'm not a guy that bitches and moans about things, ever - to drive a Dodge in this series is the most difficult thing you could ever ask for. You've got to hold on. I'm behind guys in Fords and Chevys that shouldn't be there, and they're stuck on the track with all of us clocking the same times. I was driving behind Ted Musgrave, who might be the best driver in this series, and he and I are holding on for all we've got to run the same times. It's got nothing to do with our setups either. The Dodges right now, with the lack of spoilers and the lack of balance, it's just killing us. This is phenomenal how difficult you can make it for one manufacturer just because it has the best drivers. You've got to go and make it difficult for them.

"We started out with a plug wire falling off again for the second race in a row. Kevin Kroyer of Kroyer Racing Engines has built every motor I've ever raced since I was 15 years old. I can count on one hand the number of major problems we've had. We just had a plug wire problem, and I can promise you that'll never happen again. We got that fixed, and the only person who I didn't see today was Mike Bliss. Bliss passed me, and I passed everybody else up to Ray Crawford. We knew the NAPA Dodge was extremely strong, and to hold onto that Dodge the way it was, my guys did a great job giving me a setup to run tonight.

BILL LESTER (No. 8 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Ram)

"We had a pretty good truck all night. We just had to make really minor adjustments. The guys did exactly what we needed to make me better. We ran times that I think were comparable to what the leaders were running. The guys weren't too happy with the way the pit stops were, but I don't care. I think they did a great job. We brought home the truck in one piece. Sure, we would have liked to have finished higher than 14th, but that's going to come. We just know that when we're out there and running, we're fast. We know we have a Dodge that's good, and a team that's good. I understand that we were just in front of the leaders towards the end of the race and they couldn't gain anything on us. I know Robert (Pressley), in the No. 18 Dodge, finished third and we were catching up to it. It's just going to take a little bit more time for us all to come together. It's been one little problematic thing after another. This series is just too competitive for us to have anything go wrong. We'll just learn from this and keep going. It's been spread evenly throughout this season; it's been things that have happened to all of us. We're a team, we're tight and we're not going to let it bother us. We're just going to pick up and go to the next race.

"What's been happening is that Kip McCord has been acting as my spotter, whereas formerly he was my crew chief. It was really because he was giving me a lot of guidance from up above -something I needed since I was so new to this series. But this is the second half of the season now and I think I've got all the foundation that I need so that I feel comfortable, and I think that Kip really feels more comfortable on top of the box. So, from New Hampshire on forward Kip's going to be on top of the pit box, our spotter will be acting as a spotter again and we're going to be that much better."

CARLOS CONTRERAS (No. 43 Hot Wheels Dodge Ram)

"I'm very disappointed. This truck was very good at Kansas, and we knew even though this truck wasn't really fast for qualifying it would be really good for the race. So, I was very positive coming into this race. I don't know what happened. We were really good for the first 15 laps, but then the nose of our truck really started bouncing around. We started to get loose, then tight, and then loose again. I'm pretty mad about it. I was very excited coming into tonight, and now I'm not to happy about how we finished."

LANCE HOOPER (No. 5 Diamond Cut Jeans/ Dodge Ram)

"The motor ran great all race. We've got a young team here, and we're back to finishing races again, so we'll work to build off of that. We had great pit stops and the truck ran well. We were a little loose at the end, but all in all we had a good day. We had a good finish, and we're happy to have the come back in one piece."


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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Robert Pressley , Ted Musgrave , Dennis Setzer , Joe Ruttman , Mike Bliss