Ford F-150 drivers Travis Kvapil, No. 6 K&N Filters Ford F-150, Todd Kluever, No. 16 3M Ford Fusion and Kelly Bires, No. 21 Bush's Baked Beans Ford call Wisconsin home. All three drivers discuss memories of the Milwaukee Mile and the thrill of ...
Ford F-150 drivers Travis Kvapil, No. 6 K&N Filters Ford F-150, Todd Kluever, No. 16 3M Ford Fusion and Kelly Bires, No. 21 Bush's Baked Beans Ford call Wisconsin home. All three drivers discuss memories of the Milwaukee Mile and the thrill of racing here in the NASCAR Truck and Busch Series.
TRAVIS KVAPIL -- No. 6 K&N Filters Ford F-150
A FEW GENERIC QUESTIONS ABOUT THE MILWAUKEE MILE, SINCE YOU ARE A WISCONSINITE: DID YOU EVER COME TO THE MILWAUKEE MILE WHEN YOU WERE A KID? IF SO, PLEASE SHARE A MEMORY. AND WHAT IT WOULD MEAN TO WIN AT THE MILWAUKEE MILE. "Yes, I did come here quite a bit. I remember coming here watching ASA races watching all the legendary short track guys and always looked up to those guys when we came over here. Probably the best memories of it was, growing up going to little quarter miles and remember coming here and thinking how huge this place was. And if you ever got a chance to run here, then you must be pretty special. So, I think my Mom always gave the family a hard time because I think the ASA race might have been on Mother's Day and I remember that we always spent Mother's Day over here at The Mile watching ASA races."
TODD KLUEVER -- No. 16 3M Ford Fusion
ANOTHER WISCONSIN DRIVER COMPETING TOMORROW IN THE AT&T 250 AND IT LOOKED LIKE YOU WERE GIVING POINTERS TO SCOTT WIMMER ON HOW TO GIVE OUT THAT FIRST PITCH. "I did a Twins game last year, but I threw out the first pitch at the Madison Mallards game on Wednesday, and I threw a perfect strike, so I told him the pressure is on. It was little bit slow, I'll admit, it wasn't what they were used to. But I got the ball in my truck with scuffmarks on it, if anybody had questions. TELL US GROWING UP IN WISCONSIN IF YOU HAD GONE TO THE MILWAUKEE MILE WHEN YOU WERE A YOUNGSTER AND IF SO, SOME OF YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES. "Yea, I mean obviously the first NASCAR race I ever saw was here. I came and watched a truck race and had a ball. I've seen many truck races and stood up a couple of times. I believe we almost watched you win here once, didn't we Travis?"
KVAPIL (continued) "Probably close, I believe Ted got it that year."
KLUEVER (continued) "I can't remember, but it was one of the Wisconsin guys that was up there leading. I came here and raced Late Models. This was the biggest track when I was racing Late Models. Everybody wanted to get here; I came here in Late Models and finished fourth. Everything started here. For the longest time this was the biggest track that I ever raced was and was the only other place that I got to watch NASCAR racing besides on TV. Of course, with the history of this place it's a place you always want to come and put on a show for the fans. I'm looking forward to getting in the car tomorrow and starting."
TELL US ABOUT THE RIDE FOR DIABETES. "Yes. My brother was diagnosed with diabetes when he was nine. I've always wanted to do something and I didn't know how to go about it or what would be fun to do. I actually bought a Harley from Capital City Harley Davidson in Madison this summer. It was kind of an idea that I had in the back of my mind and they really helped me to bring it to life. We've got started late on it, so this first year it's kind of, no expectations kind of thing and whatever we raise is going to be great. It's actually going to be split 50-50 between the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Whatever it turns out to be -- it turns out to be. I have no expectations. I have no idea how to make this first year go, but I did receive word on Friday that there was a $10,000 donation from World Financial Group which is former sponsor on mine in the Truck series and I'm actually going to drive their car at Homestead this year in the Busch race. I can't thank them enough. No matter what happens now, I can say we raised over $10,000 for my ride. It won't be that big of a failure. I'm really looking forward to it. If for no other reason, I get to spend some time with friends of mine that are going to come on the ride. If the numbers I heard, if even half of those show up, we should have somewhere between 75 and 100 motorcycles, that is an awesome turnout for the first year. Even if it turns out to be 40, like I said, I'm just going into this with no expectations and no idea how to plan it and it is what it is going to be. Hopefully, we'll raise a lot of money. I've got a lot of great items [for auction]. We'll end up at the tavern that I co-own with my brother, on Sunday afternoon. We've got a lot of great items. We've got a fire suit that Matt Kenseth wore in the Bud Shootout in 2006. There's only two of them that were ever made and Matt has the other one. It's going to be the only one that goes up for sale. I have a helmet signed by all the Roush Fenway drivers and Jack [Roush], just a lot of really neat things. I have a Sunoco checkered flag signed by all the Busch drivers competing in the Aaron's 312 at Talladega, a Dale Jr. limited edition Sam Bass print, just a lot of really neat, special things that are going to be on sale. Hopefully we can raise a lot of money." OUT OF ALL THOSE 100 MOTORCYCLES, TODD'S WILL BE THE ONE WITH TRAINING WHEELS; HE'LL BE UP FRONT. "Yea, I don't know. I was going to try to stay in the back. Hopefully let one of the other guys lead. I grew up racing motorcycles so it was kind of a natural fit. But this motorcycle is probably the first one that I've had in eight years. So, there was a lot of rust to be knocked off."
KVAPIL (continued) -- IN THE MORNING PRACTICE SESSION, YOU WERE 10TH FOR MOST OF THE SESSIONS, AND THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN, YOU WERE TOP OF THE BOARD. WHAT DID YOU DO? "We just kept working on it. We unloaded and nothing spectacular, I guess. Just a 10th place truck, just kind of average. We were really loose in the morning and the guys just did a great job. I don't know if I've ever been in a two-hour practice session where we changed so much stuff. They just kept working away on it and I just kept trying to give them good feedback and in return they're making good changes. Finally in that second session, we made some changes that really didn't show-up on the speed track chart our tires were pretty old and hot and everything. But I told them my truck is really good right there and we hit on some things. Then we did a mock qualifying run at the end and it kind of backed up a little bit. The truck drove real good and had a lot of speed through the corner and put up a good number. I'm looking forward to it." WHAT SORT OF CHALLENGES ARE THERE WITH THE TEMPERATURE CHANGES TODAY? "Ted might have a little better idea, it's been a few years since I raced here. I think what my guys said about the last couple of years, guys like David Ragan, they would say they'd fight being free throughout the day and get into the race at night and be tight. So, I don't know what it will look like. I think we're fighting the same thing. Our truck was loose during the day. That's something we need to be aware of and maybe after qualifying, we'll keep that in the back of our mind."
KLUEVER (continued) LAST YEAR AT THIS TIME, YOU WERE DESTINED TO BE IN THE NO. 6 CAR. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO WATCH SOMEONE RACE IN THE CAR THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN IN. "It has been tough. The toughest thing is to watch someone in a car that you are used to driving. But I think Scott [Wimmer] will tell you, it's not about racing every weekend as much as it about being competitive in those races and being in good cars. I'd rather race 16 or 19 times every year with the guys that I have right now, rather than 35 in a car that is not competitive at all. That does make it a lot better. Plus I get to learn a lot from Greg [Biffle]. That's been good. If you look at the season we had last year, I knew. It's not like they were pulling any surprises on me. We ran horrible last year and that's the way it was. We didn't get our act together until the end. Sometimes that happens, you know. And that's in the past. Eddie [Pardue, crew chief] and the guys that I work with now are a great group of guys. We're having a lot of fun; we're running better than we did last year and hopefully the win comes sometime soon this year. But who knows from then. Right now, it's every week, and then I'll worry about the next week and week after that. I don't worry about anything else beyond that." DO YOU HAVE A SENSE WHERE YOU FIT IN ROUSH FENWAY NEXT YEAR? "It's not really time to worry about that; I've been asked that a lot. With silly season and Cup season starting so early, I don't think Roush Fenway has any idea who is driving what in the back of their minds. It definitely doesn't get translated to us yet. Like I said, right now it's week to week and I think there is a place for me here and we're just working on racing right now, that's all I care about. I have an answer to what you asked Travis about earlier [temperature, weather]. I have the advantage of having a Travis Kvapil race the night before me and a Mike Beam [Kvapil crew chief]. All the information that there are getting will get translated over. I know my crew chief Eddie Pardue is over there talking to Mike Beam right now. Since Travis is going real fast, they're over there trying to pick his brain and get a bunch of information. So, hopefully we'll get his information from tonight, too. That will help us tomorrow."
KELLY BIRES -- No. 21 Bush's Baked Beans Ford F-150
YOU'RE PULLING DOUBLE-DUTY HERE THIS WEEKEND IN TRUCK AND BUSCH. IF YOU COULD, PLEASE SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES ABOUT THE MILWAUKEE MILE. "We'll, I've only been here one time. It was last year and I raced in ASA and ended up winning it. This is the first time being here in a heavy car. I'm in the truck today. We brought a brand new truck today, never tested so we are working out the bugs. We got it better, I don't know if we have a winning truck, but a top-10 truck. We'll see how the adjustments go and see what we've got."
DID YOU EVER COME TO THE TRACK AS A KID? "I watched a good half dozen Truck and Busch races here when I was younger growing up." TELL A LITTLE BIT ON HOW YOUR EXPECTATIONS HAVE CHANGES FOR THIS YEAR. "Well, I think we've got about eight races under our belt this year between the Truck and a couple of Busch races. I really didn't know what to expect coming in. I set really high goals for myself entering into this stuff. But it is a different world and different race cars. There's a lot more people involved that really need to be on the same page to run good. We seem like the truck program that we're missing a little bit on short tracks and superspeedway. We've got a pretty good mile and a half package where we run competitive and have a shot at winning. As you've seen with Mark [Martin], he's been pretty close this year. Getting into this Busch car lately, I guess you could say the odds are against me because I never really a chance -- well, Nashville was the first chance where I really got to sit in the Busch car in that practice. I'm trying to do really good and run well and get good results, yet I lack a lot of experience. I've got to pull my reins back at bit and try to get the best finish. There might be more to the car, I'm still to new to know."
GETTING ALL THE LAPS YOU'LL GET THIS WEEKEND IN THE TRUCK AND BUSCH CAR, WILL THAT SPEED UP THE LEARNING PROCESS? "Yes, I think so. I don't think it will hurt me. Running this truck race will give us some information that we can pass over to tomorrow to make sure how loose we need to be to start the race. I'm not sure how loose we need to be for tonight; we're just going to have to guess at it, not running here ever before. This trucks run a little bit different than the Busch car and stuff, yet you can probably translate the adjustments with how tight or free you need to be."
YOU ARE STILL EARLY IN YOUR CAREER. DO YOU HAVE A TIMETABLE OR EXPECTATIONS THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE? "Yes, at the start of this year, I was scheduled to run 19 truck races, that was the deal; Mark Martin was running six races. And that's all I knew coming into this year. The Busch races the last two weekends and this is the third straight race that my schedule is unknown, depending on Jon's [Wood] condition. Whether I go to Loudon or Memphis next week is to be determined, I have yet to be told. But, ideally I'd like to be in a Busch car full time next year. If it happens that we run a lot of races this year; that is cool. It will get me a jump on my season next year and get me learning and used to the crew chief that I'll be working. That always seems to help if you can work with them and run with them for a while before the season and beyond. It's coming faster than I thought. Getting used to these cars and getting them up to speed and stuff. Trying not to do the wrong thing. I'm just trying to keep everything in the up position and steadily rising."
-credit: ford racing