ON WINNING THE POLE FOR THE RAM TOUGH 200 BY PEPSI "To tell you the truth, when I was done with the lap I thought that it would be ok, but I thought for sure someone would beat it. The truck has been tight all day long. We never got to tape it...
ON WINNING THE POLE FOR THE RAM TOUGH 200 BY PEPSI
"To tell you the truth, when I was done with the lap I thought that it would be ok, but I thought for sure someone would beat it. The truck has been tight all day long. We never got to tape it off and do a sticker run in practice and we knew that would free it up. Fred (crew chief Fred Wanke) made some adjustments to free the truck up even more, thinking that would make the Mopar Performance Parts Dodge fairly balanced and it was pretty loose. I couldn't really get into the gas the way I wanted to. We thought someone would beat that time, but we were lucky enough and nobody did."
ON POTENTIAL CHANGES PRIOR TO THE RACE
"We're going to change four shocks. We were going to do that before qualifying, but we ran out of time. I think we can improve on the handling of the Mopar Performance Parts Dodge. It was good enough for a good qualifying lap and I think we'll probably run something similar to that in the race."
ULTRA MOTORSPORTS OWNER JIM SMITH ON WINNING HIS FOURTH CONSECUTIVE NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES RACE AS AN OWNER
What do you say, Ted Musgrave, Ultra Motorsports, Joey Arrington, everyone has done a tremendous job this year. Our guys are just so pumped, you know when you get momentum going, it's hard to stop. NASCAR took some rules away from the Dodges and we went to work and worked even harder. This is a challenging track, so Ted had an advantage, but that young kid (teammate Scott Riggs) was right behind him. What do you say about these two guys? We've won 80 percent of the races this year, the last four in a row, should have won five. It's just phenomenal."
TED MUSGRAVE ON WINNING THE RAM TOUGH 200 BY PEPSI AT GATEWAY INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
"I had to set the record straight. When Amy East from ESPN interviewed me Saturday she told me that a pole winner and a Dodge has never won this race. Well I just had to be a record breaker that's all. It's just like Homestead they said it never happened and we made it happen. We're on a roll pretty good just because of guys like Jimmy Smith and Dodge stepping up with the Mopar Performance Parts sponsorship."
ON THE RULE CHANGE FOR DODGES AT GATEWAY
"NASCAR is trying to do everything they can (to make the series more competitive) but we just have a super strong team. That's the deal right now. It's tough to beat guys who are as pumped up and dedicated as my guys. They give me the right equipment and time in the wind tunnel and all that stuff through the sponsorship program. It's just a top-notch team. Naturally, you need a little luck on your side, but strategy and performance is the key to this whole deal. We've got it all together right now."
ON WINNING BY 10.425 SECONDS, THE THIRD WIDEST MARGIN OF VICTORY IN SERIES HISTORY
"I was running as hard as I could for a long time just to see what was going to happen. I looked back and I was stretching it out a little bit and I said, "well I'm not pushing the truck to the limit, but I'm getting close and I'm just going to keep doing this.' The tires have been so good. Goodyear brings tires along that won't drop off. Lap times are very consistent. You can run hard and the tires will stay underneath you for a very long time. I've got to hand it to Goodyear this year. They've done an excellent job as far as keeping a tire that will perform all the way through a run like they've done. I've noticed that this year. They've really done an excellent job. My hat's off to them."
ON ANY CONCERNS THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF THE RACE.
"I was concerned from Lap one until the end of the race. Naturally, the biggest fear is something happening. Right there at the end I was trying to save a lot of fuel. I got behind Ricky Hendrick and kind of rode around a little bit because we were getting low on fuel. I might have run out of fuel if there would have been a caution and we had a green, white, checker, I might have run of fuel if the race had to keep going longer. There were concerns all day long, but not as many as a lot of the other guys out there."
ON WINNING OR BREAKING
"Unfortunately, we did have that happen twice this year. Self inflicted things happen sometimes, nobody's perfect. At least when it did happen we were leading at Daytona when had the head gasket go out on us, which was our own fault for getting the truck to hot. At Martinsville we had too much power and broke the rear end gear. Maybe I just had to be a little easier on the gear or something to that effect. But, then again we were up near the front, we running third. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to break at all, but at least when things do happen at least we're up leading or near the front which shows that the team is that strong. We're not in the back breaking. At least we go out in a blaze of glory."
JIM SMITH ON BUYING HIS TWO DRIVERS NEW HARLEY DAVIDSONS FOR FINISHING FIRST AND SECOND IN THE RAM TOUGH 200 BY PEPSI
"This was the last Dodge sponsored race of the year and they are our major sponsor. They took us all out to dinner Friday night and we got to talk about it and of course I had my back bowed up a little bit with the rule changes. I thought it was going to put us back a little bit. So I gave these guys a little challenge. It started out that they both had to sit on the front row and run one-two in the race. I let Scott off the hook for qualifying fourth and I told him if he ran second today he would get a new bike. Anyway, they get to go get a new Harley next week and I'm tickled to death to buy them one."
TED MUSGRAVE ON HAVING FUN IN THE NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES
"I'm having the time of my life. The only time I really enjoyed myself in Winston Cup was when we were running good at Roush and I was able to work with James Ince and we were doing things the way we wanted to. We were running good. A couple of wins eluded me, I ran second to Dale Jarrett at Darlington, second to Rusty at Martinsville and Phoenix. But, when they started pulling my reigns back and James' reigns back then from there on it wasn't fun. Jimmy lets us do what we want to do. He knows that Fred and I and the boys back home will build the trucks the right way and he gives us the green light to build them the way we want to. He doesn't tell us what we have to do. He trusts us to build what we think can go out and win. I didn't have that for quite a few years and I have it back now, so yes, this is more fun then I've had in a long time."
ON BEING THE DOMINANT DRIVER IN THE TRUCK SERIES
"The only other time I've been this dominant is back maybe in the ASA (American Speed Association) or running the late model stuff when I started out. Not for quite a long time have I had the domination and the equipment to do it. Jimmy is giving me my confidence back and it's working. It's great pulling into the racetrack knowing that I've got a shot to win, the equipment to do it and the team to do it. When you get that in your head, that's another thing, you're not being beat mentally."
ON THE RULE CHANGES FOR DODGES
"Believe it or not, it did hurt. My truck wasn't handling like it used to. The new aero package did hurt a little bit. I could feel it in the chassis. It did hurt the truck in the front end very much. We had to run a different spring and shock package then we anticipated before the rule change. That was one of the big things that happened during qualifying. We were searching quite heavily on a lot of things and we would come out and make a lap or two and I'd say that's not the right type of shocks or the rebound wasn't right' we would come back in and change it, back and forth, back and forth and kept working at it because of the rule change. Every time NASCAR throws something at us, we just have to work a little harder and search for the answer to get it back." "These are the same trucks the series ran last year and Ford kicked everybody's butt last year. They finished one, two and fourth in the points and won over half the races and it's the same rules. All it is this year is different people got in different trucks and made a difference. So NASCAR is handicapping because of better teams, but if it makes for better racing then, what can you say."