NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Ford EcoBoost 200
Topics: Ford EcoBoost 300, Camping World Truck Series
November 16, 2012
KERRY THARP: Let's hear from our 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship team. We have James Buescher, crew chief Michael Shelton, team owner Steve Turner is on his way. Tonight James drove the No.31 Great Clips Chevrolet, and this is his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title. He becomes the 12th different driver to ever win a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship. At 22 years old he's the second youngest series champion in history. And this is Michael Shelton's first career championship in the Truck Series, and this is Turner Motorsports' first career Truck Series title, as well.
James, you told me a second ago it got kind of interesting out there. It certainly did, but you're the champion, and tell us how that feels.
JAMES BUESCHER: It feels great. It definitely was a nail‑biter down to the end. We were in range of being the champion for most of the race, and one of the late restarts there Ty got a good jump on the field and was making a charge for the lead it looked like. But I was doing everything I could to keep our Great Clips Chevy going forward. It was pretty loose and really slick out there. We struggled finding speed in our truck tonight. But we did what we had to do to win the championship, and it worked out in our favor.
I've got to thank everybody on this team, Michael Shelton, Steve Turner for a great year. Championship or no championship, it was going to be a great year, and to win the championship after winning four races this season makes it an incredible year.
Couldn't be more proud of this team, and now we get to stress‑free celebrate.
KERRY THARP: Michael, just talk about what it means to be a championship crew chief.
MICHAEL SHELTON: It definitely means a lot. Like James said, this is a dream come true. I guess three years since we kind of started the deal, and it's all finally come together. I just can't thank Steve Turner enough for believing in me and James and giving us this opportunity.
KERRY THARP: Steve Turner, you've had a super year. Not only have you won a championship in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, but you've had a lot of wins. You've had that 30 truck win, the 32 truck had a good year, you've won at Rockingham, you've won in the Nationwide Series. Congratulations. I've got to believe that this championship is one that you'll remember for a long, long time.
STEVE TURNER: Well, you'll always remember your first championship in NASCAR's top three series. Daytona this year was‑‑ the 31, that was unbelievable there. Kasey won our first truck race and broke the ice, and then every driver we seemed to be able to put into trucks this year has been able to win, and that shows that the shop‑‑ all the guys at the shop that work so hard on weekends and nights and are not with their families give these drivers what they need. That's the most important thing to me.
Q. James, how closely were you keeping track of positions toward the end of the race there because I know at one point Ty was second, you were 13th, so that was an 11‑position spread there. Was the late pit stop just for insurance to make sure you hadn't run over any debris coming through that wreck?
JAMES BUESCHER: We were keeping somewhat an eye on what was going on. The fact that they weren't leading makes each position a spot, so you can kind of guess how many spots there are between you. You're doing enough out there trying to hang on to your truck to do a head count on what position you're running the whole time. And when he was up to second, I didn't know where I was, I just knew I needed to be further up for some insurance.
And back on the insurance subject, yes, that is why we pitted at the end there. When they wrecked, I didn't know if I hit any debris or not, but there was a lot of it, and parts flying everywhere, and the fact that the 17 was right around us on the racetrack, we didn't have a lot to give up to go in and pit, so it was the safe call to go in, put four fresh tires on, or fresher tires on, and make sure that we didn't have any holes in the tires and nothing crazy to happen for a green‑white checkered. It was definitely the right call to me, and now we get to celebrate as champions.
Q. James, can you just talk‑‑ you had like a 21‑point lead with three races to go. Did you ever think you wouldn't get a top 10 and still be able to eke it out?
JAMES BUESCHER: You know, yeah, the 21‑point lead was comforting with three races to go, and we managed to give points away every week since. It looked like last week in Phoenix we were going to be able to come here with a little bit of a buffer like the Cup and Nationwide Series had, but we blew a tire with two to go. It seems like the points leader all year long in this Camping World Truck Series has had just bad luck. Anybody that took over the points lead would run into trouble, and we saw it all year long, the 3, the 17, the 6 when he was leading the points early on, and us earlier this season, we got the points lead and gave it right back.
It seems like if you're the points leader, you were giving up points. We did everything we could to give up not too many. I don't know how else to word that. It all worked out, and coming into this weekend with an 11‑point lead, I knew that our team was good enough not to give up 11 points, so it was just a matter of things that are out of our control that could have played into us not winning this championship tonight.
Glad everything worked out our way, and I'm having a lot of fun.
Q. Any reason why this truck had been so good on the mile and a halfs, why you think it wasn't as strong tonight?
JAMES BUESCHER: If I knew, it would have been better. For whatever reason, we were just off. We got off in practice, and we figured out where we were off, and my teammates‑‑ the 4 and the 30 were really fast all night. We saw that, and we looked into their notes after practice, talked with those guys and were able to get our truck back in the right direction. This racetrack is a lot different than every other mile and a half out there. It is just different.
STEVE TURNER: I'd like to add he won't be bringing a honey badger back anywhere. He's retired. We're building new trucks every week that show better numbers, and he keeps returning to that one. Only thing I know to do is bring it to Texas and put it in the warehouse there and be done with it. That means he doesn't get it.
Q. For all three of you, first of all, James, can you talk about what was the first thing you thought when you found out you'd actually won the championship and it was official? How emotional did you get?
JAMES BUESCHER: I was worried that we were going to prematurely celebrate, I guess. There was kind of silence on the radio after we crossed the start‑finish line. I think I made it all the way to Turn 3 before somebody really said that we were the champions. I was seeing where the 17 was on the track. I knew he was quite a few spots ahead of us, but I didn't know exactly how many, and I wanted the official word before I started getting too excited.
I would say it still hasn't set in. Just kind of trying to take it all in.
Q. Steve and Michael, could you answer the same thing? What was going through your mind?
MICHAEL SHELTON: Same thing. We waited on our computer on the box to update the points. I was making sure it did, then I kind of just did the math in my head and I realized that we definitely had won it. Like James, just didn't want to celebrate too quick. But still hasn't really set in. It'll be tomorrow sometime when we realize what we've accomplished here. Just happy.
STEVE TURNER: I want to celebrate when we all three go meet Wayne Auton and let him tell us we did win. I'm kind of worried that we need to go see him.
Q. James, you started this season with a victory at Daytona, and you end it with a championship at Homestead and another series. Can you talk a little bit about what that year has been from start to finish?
JAMES BUESCHER: This year has been incredible for me. First of all, I got married in January, and my wife is my No.1 supporter, so to be able to start off the race season after taking that next step in my life with a win at Daytona was incredible, best thing I'd ever done in racing. You know, that kind of opened the floodgates for us to win some races on the truck side. We won four of them, and now we're the champions.
Being the champion of the Truck Series definitely trumps winning a race at Daytona, but the race at Daytona is still pretty high up there. But it's been a phenomenal year for my racing career and for my personal life. I just feel really blessed.
Q. Steve, do you know how many trucks and Nationwide cars you're going to have next year, or did you need this to help‑‑
STEVE TURNER: No, we knew about four months ago what we were going to do next year, but we'll tell you next week.
KERRY THARP: Congratulations to this team on this championship. Enjoy it, and I'm sure there will be others to celebrate. Congratulations.
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