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NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: NextEra Energy Resources 250

Stock Car Racing Topics:  NextEra Energy Resources 250

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: NextEra Energy Resources 250

Terry Cook
J.R. Fitzpatrick
February 13, 2009


KERRY THARP: We're pleased to be joined by Terry Cook. Outstanding run out there tonight, finishing third. And our top-finishing Raybestos rookie of the year candidate, really put on a great show for us tonight, J.R. Fitzpatrick.
Terry, your thoughts about how the race unfolded tonight.
TERRY COOK: Well, it was pretty obvious right from the start that our team felt like we had a really strong truck, something we thought we could win with. Made some chassis adjustments halfway through the race. Backed off on them on the last pit stop, halfway between the first adjustment and the last adjustment.
Got what I could call a Days of Thunder set of tires at the end. That truck was rolling, that Toyota was so stout at the end of this race, that I truly felt like when we took the white flag that we were going to be in Victory Lane. I felt Kyle was going to make the move off of turn four. When they went double wide, I felt like we were going to have a supercharger hooked up to that Tundra engine, because that thing would suck up so well. Felt like we were going to make a three-wide photo finish.
Kyle I think pushed the issue a little bit too hard going into three, in my opinion. But he's driving his truck. I think he was trying to get Todd a little loose getting into the corner. He did, but Kyle had to check up a little bit, and we lost momentum coming to the start/finish line.
KERRY THARP: J.R., your thoughts?
J.R. FITZPATRICK: I mean, we knew we had a great truck all weekend. But, man, I'll tell you, that thing was hooked right up in the race. It sucked up really well. Didn't run very well by itself. I was out there biding my time, trying not to get in the way of anyone. I learned so much out there tonight. I mean, I was going to be happy with a top 10. A fourth, that's very unexpected.
But the whole TRG Group did an awesome job. My Mammoet Chevy did an awesome job. My PME motor pulled great. I just had a lot of fun.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions for Terry or J.R.

Q. Terry, what would you have done if you were Kyle? Were you thinking about trying to help him at all?
TERRY COOK: It was all about me, baby (laughter). That last lap, I was only thinking about me. Looking back on it, being selfish, I felt like Kyle maybe went a little too early. Maybe that was his only option. Maybe there was no way without some help he was going to go by Todd.
Honestly, if he would have went right, I would have went left, tried to stick him three-wide. Being selfish, I would have rather he waited off of turn four and tried to do it there. Like I said, I felt at that point my Tundra would have felt like it had a supercharger on it. I ended up finishing third.

Q. J.R., you're in Daytona, in the top five, best rookie, best Chevy.
J.R. FITZPATRICK: I mean, it's been a long time. I mean, last year we ran NASCAR Canada Tire series with the 84 Chevy. Then we did a test with TRG at Iowa Speedway. Had a lot of fun there. We ended up doing three races last year. They went pretty good.
I mean, I still am trying to bite the nervousness running with these guys. Tonight all I was doing was trying to go out and learn as much as I possibly could, gain a little bit of respect, not get in anybody's way. We come out with a top five; that's just unbelievable.
When I first came here, the biggest track I raced on before I came to Daytona was a three-eighths of a mile. It's just unbelievable. It's like racer's heaven right here. It's a lot of fun. I still got lots to learn. I'm going to talk to who I can and learn what I can and go from there.
TERRY COOK: Todd, don't help him anymore (laughter).

Q. J.R., you led 15 or so laps there towards the end of the race. You had Kyle Busch on your bumper that whole time. What was going through your head?
J.R. FITZPATRICK: I was going down the straightaway saying, This is so cool (smiling). I mean, I watch Kyle Busch, you know, all these guys every weekend. Knowing that I was leading the Camping World Truck Series my first time in Daytona, having Kyle Busch chase me down.
I was really nervous on the first restart. We had a couple smooth starts. Never really lost anything. Really nervous. But then I said, if I'm going to keep being nervous, I'm probably going to end up screwing up. I calmed myself down, focused on keeping it at the bottom.

Q. Terry, how come Todd has won four straight restrictor plate truck races?
TERRY COOK: Uhm, their truck. I mean, honestly, not to take anything away from Todd. Todd is doing a hell of a job. But that truck, that Toyota Tundra, they've got this thing, as you saw again tonight, phenomenal. I think they take it home, mothball it, put covers over it, put it to bed. The crew chief is shaking his head yes, of course. That truck is just phenomenal.
Todd, obviously you've got to be a wheel man to get around here. He knows when to hold him, when to fold them, so you put that package together. They're unbelievable at these superspeedways.
We had a drive-through penalty. I went below the yellow line. They said that Todd was back there. When I went back on the track, they said he was probably half a straightaway behind. They said, Start trail breaking and let him catch up to you.
Todd pushing me, the two of us were running together. We were running in the 4890s. That time, they said the lead pack was running in the 4940s, 4950s. The two of us together were running half a second faster than the race lead pack.
At that point, I wasn't worried about going a lap down. To answer your question, it's the truck and the driver combination is just stout right now.

Q. J.R., you had a grand total of three truck races before tonight. How does a guy who comes from a Canadian series, how did you learn the politics of drafting down here so well?
J.R. FITZPATRICK: I mean, the video games obviously helped quite a bit. I went to a buddy's house. We got the ARCA SIM. Played with that a bit. Just talking to a bunch of people. I was going to ask Jeff, but I never got there in time. I talk to anybody I can. That's obviously a privilege to be able to go ask anybody I want and get advice.
But really the ARCA test and the ARCA race with TRG was one of the best things we could have did. We had a - test at ARCA, learned so much there. I'm really thankful of that. If I would have came here in just the trucks, didn't do the ARCA, it probably wouldn't have turned out so great.
Obviously I have a lot of support from the crew, and I learned this weekend I have a lot of support any time I want from the fellow drivers. I'm really privileged to have that.
KERRY THARP: Gentlemen, thank you.

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