NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Chevy Silverado HD 250
Topics: Chevy Silverado HD 250
February 15, 2008
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
KERRY THARP: We're going to go ahead and roll into our post race press conferences here for the Chevy Silverado 250. We're pleased to be joined by our Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Justin Marks. He's the driver of the No. 9 Construct Corps. Toyota. Nice finish for you.
Our third-place finisher is Johnny Benson, driver of the No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota.
First of all, Justin, your first race here I guess at Daytona in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Your thoughts about how you did?
JUSTIN MARKS: I had a really, really good truck. Construct Corps. Tundra handled really well all night. It wasn't great. Sort of in the middle run of the race, that long green run we had, we made a change to try to free it up a little bit. We got too free in and it made us real tight up off the corner.
It was a good all-around effort. Just a little bummed out there about what happened with the 99. I mean, we were trying to get a little bit of separation there and we all came out of the pits together, was trying to get away there. I was just hooked up underneath him. If he was waving, I didn't see him. I tried the best I could to stay off of him. So sorry about that.
But the guys did a good job to bounce back from it. We restarted. With two or three to go we were 15th. We were able to get a solid top 10 finish and carry some momentum into California.
KERRY THARP: Third-place finisher as I mentioned was Johnny Benson. Johnny, your thoughts about tonight's race?
JOHNNY BENSON: It was pretty exciting at the beginning, that's for sure. A lot of things going on. Seemed pretty early, you know, to have to work that hard it seems like.
But I think once everybody got into a groove everybody got single file and just rode for quite a while. At the end, these truck races are always extremely exciting. I mean, I think the fans saw a good race to the end. We ended up third.
For starting last in the field, I consider that a great day for the Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Tundra.
KERRY THARP: We also have our race runner-up, that's Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 51 NOS Energy Drink Toyota.
Kyle, you were caught up in a little bit of stuff there at the beginning, but you had an opportunity there at the end to go for the win. Your thoughts about how you thought the race unfolded?
KYLE BUSCH: Well, you know, to comment on that incident for a second, you know, just a product of a racing deal and my truck not exactly handling the way I wanted it to be. We were running through the corner there behind the 8 truck. I think I was three-wide for a moment there or something.
But the 8 was looking a little bit loose and I was a little bit afraid to follow him. Wasn't sure if he was going to be able to hang onto it or not. He did a whale of a job doing it all night long, so I kind of got more confidence in him as the night went on.
When I turned down to pass him, my truck was bouncing all over the place all night. It went ahead and it grabbed a bump and it turned the front end so abruptly that I just held the wheel straight instead of correcting and overcorrecting and wrecking myself or the 8 truck, you know, hoping that I would still be able to stay clear of those guys on my inside.
Unfortunately, it wasn't to be. You know, those guys wrecked behind me and ended their Speedweeks in Daytona. Hopefully they'll be able to rebound from that. They're a strong team with the 5 especially, and the 10 should be fine and all those guys. So I apologize if I was to blame on that.
The rest of the night went all right. We rode single file, and rode single file some more. Didn't have a truck that would handle very good, so we were all over the place. Luckily there at the end -- Johnny pulled out I felt like too soon, so I didn't go with him. He got back in behind me again a little bit later there with the last lap.
I let Todd get out too far on us. Trying to get a run through the last part of the corner I had to breathe it on the exit again. Wasn't quite able to get the run that I wanted down the last straight chute. We were able to come home second.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions for these three competitors.
Q. Justin, can you talk about the incident with Darnell with 12 laps to go.
JUSTIN MARKS: Yeah, I didn't get a call or anything on the radio. We came out of the pits, all three of us together - me, him and the 30. I guess they let some lug nuts loose, had a loose wheel or something, I don't know.
But we went down in through three and four. I was just tucked up right underneath him, man. I was just pushing right there through the corner. If he was waving, I didn't see him. His spoiler was just too high. I couldn't see nothing. He started slowing down there a little bit. He didn't slow down super abruptly.
I jumped off the gas and he hit the brakes and I knew there was a problem. I just jumped to the outside as fast as I could. Just got a piece of his right rear.
I hate it for those guys. Never want something like that to happen. Tore us up a little bit. Feel bad about it. It's one of those things that I guess we'll just learn from.
Q. Kyle or Johnny, two victories for Toyota. One in Cup, one in Trucks. What does it say about the progress the manufacturer is making?
JOHNNY BENSON: Well, I think you'd have to ask Kyle that on the Cup side for sure.
In Trucks, I mean, it's obvious the last couple years have been running extremely well. I did have an opportunity to go down and test one of the Gibbs cars at Las Vegas. It ran extremely well. I was really happy how the test went there. Their engines feel pretty strong there, but they were strong last year there, too.
The only real comparison that you can probably see from the Toyota side would be the difference between last year's Cup engine and this year's Cup engine. We felt our engines last year were great. The new engine we got now we feel is just as good, if not a tad bit better. We're extremely pleased on our end.
Q. Johnny, what do you think it means for Todd to win here finally after 17 years and 34 tries?
JOHNNY BENSON: Well, I think that's great. I mean, I'd like to have been a part of that, been able to win it. But we been close the last couple years. Todd has been close the last couple years to winning it. It's super.
Todd has been racing for many, many years. As a matter of fact, I didn't realize that was his first win here, but that's cool. Any time that you can win a race here, no matter what it is, it's a great accomplishment. Coming to Daytona for, you know, Speedweeks, everybody's excited, everybody's excited to get racing.
To win the first race, no matter where it's at, is a pretty cool deal. But to definitely win it here at Daytona is extra special.
Q. Johnny, you about got that three-wide finish down on the frontstretch there. Done that for a couple years. If you'd had the opportunity to hit Kyle and bump him forward, would it have helped you or were you trying to lay off?
JOHNNY BENSON: Oh, I hit him (laughter).
KYLE BUSCH: He got me. You can't bump-draft much in these things. I would have just spun out probably and wrecked us both.
JOHNNY BENSON: It was one of those deals, like Kyle said. He got a little bit too far away from the 30. I think it's 'cause none of us were handling good off four. I tried to go to the outside. I seen him coming up because I didn't want to slow down. That's not going to help me either. I did give him a shove. I saw him starting to get loose. I didn't really want to push him any further because I knew he was going to wreck. I didn't want to be involved in it either.
So it was just one of those deals you had to check just a little bit I'm sure either way. If I would have hit him square, probably would have helped him out. I just didn't get a good square shot at him.
It probably slowed up both of our opportunities to get into the front. But it really doesn't matter 'cause Toyota finished one, two, three and four. The end goal is to be able to make that happen. If any of us won, it would have been great.
KERRY THARP: Guys, thanks for putting on a good race for us tonight.
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