NASCAR Media Conference
November 15, 2012
KRISTA VODA: We begin our program by spotlighting tomorrow night's NASCAR Truck Series season finale here at Homestead Miami Speedway, the Ford EcoBoost 200. Now, this has arguably been the most competitive season in series history, and I have two reasons why: 15 different winners including nine first‑time winners, both of those are series records. Like last year, we have reached the end of the season‑long battle with three drivers still in championship contention.
Introducing first a driver who is no ordinary rookie; he is third place, thanks to a consistent season with 17 top‑10 finishes. Welcome, please, one of our sport's bright young stars, driver of the No.3 Bass Pro Shops Tracker Boats Chevrolet Silverado for Richard Childress Racing, 20‑year‑old Ty Dillon.
Next up, this driver in second place going into Friday's finale, 11 points out of first, he has two poles, two wins, 10 top 5s and now a chance at the championship. Welcome, please, the driver of the No.17 Toyota Tundra of Red Horse Racing, Timothy Peters.
And our NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points leader, he was up here last year and trying to finish what he started, came into this season without a NASCAR win. He now has more Truck Series wins this season than any other driver. He drives the No.31 Great Clips Turner Motorsports Chevrolet. Welcome James Buescher.
Guys, lets get some quick opening comments from each of you. Ty, you're 12 points back trying to win the championship, just like your brother Austin did last year, and should you win that, by the way, you would break his record as the youngest series champion in history. Has there been any trash talking in your family?
TY DILLON: No, you know, he's just pushing me to go and get the championship, too. He wants to see me succeed, and it's been a great year for us, and we've been really consistent, and these last few races we've taken ourselves out of being rookies and taken ourselves to championship contenders.
We've been very fortunate in finishing where we have and what we've done. So we're going to keep battling, and this weekend raises a great opportunity for us to win a race and hopefully win the championship. So we've been getting faster and faster every week, so our plan this weekend is to lead the most laps and win the race, and where the championship falls, it'll hopefully come to us. But we're just going to do what we can do, and that's win races.
KRISTA VODA: Timothy, like Ty you have a little bit of ground to make up in the championship but not much, just 11 points. You've had something else in your life sort of to focus on, your wife getting ready to deliver your first child in just over a month is the scheduled due date. Has that helped calm your nerves because you're worrying about something entirely different?
TIMOTHY PETERS: That definitely puts a lot in perspective for sure. She got cleared by the doctor to come this weekend. She couldn't come to Texas or Phoenix, and it's comforting for her to be with me on that plane this morning headed down here in the position that we're in. It has helped ease my mind to think about being a parent first time. I mean, everybody goes through it that has a kid, and you want to be good at it. It's taken a little bit of the pressure off coming down here, but also maybe added a little bit because it would be cool to welcome him into the world as a championship dad.
KRISTA VODA: Timothy, by the way, our veteran of this group at the ripe old age of 32.
James, you were up on this stage last year trying to finish off what you started. Without giving away too much, I know you have a strategy for Friday night. If you could share maybe a little bit or tell us what last year taught you, why you're a better driver now than maybe you were last year.
JAMES BUESCHER: I think our whole team is just better than we were last year from every aspect. We gel together very well, and Michael Shelton and I have come a long way, him on the pit box and me as a driver, and last year we were sitting on the stage with no wins, and this year we have four in the Truck Series.
I think we're in the position we need to be in. Looked like we were going to have a bigger points lead with five to go at Phoenix, but that wasn't in the cards for us, and we had a problem and blew a right front tire. I guess we just like to keep it interesting in the Truck Series.
We're still leading, so we're still where we want to be. We just have to go out on the track tomorrow and do what we know how to do and run up front. We've won all four races on mile and a halfs this year, so it plays into our cards pretty well. I feel good about this weekend.
KRISTA VODA: To conduct our question and answer session with our Truck Series contenders, here's the senior director of competition communications for NASCAR, Kerry Tharp.
KERRY THARP: Thank you very much, Krista. It's great to see a full house here at the media center, Homestead Miami Speedway championship weekend. We're going to get it started off right now. We're going to take a few questions for our NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship contenders.
Q. For all three of you guys, you've got three guys within 12 points of the lead right now, unlike the other two series where you've got one guy leading and another 20 points back. Does that make your approach to the race more complicated than it otherwise would be? I know, James, you've got a number that you've got to hit in order to shut them out. Are you guys watching each other pretty closely during the course of the evening?
JAMES BUESCHER: I mean, I have a number that I have to hit to guarantee myself, but that's if they lead the most laps and win the race. So we have to approach it the same way that the other guys do. They have a number, as well; theirs is just not as low of a number. So I don't know, like I said, I guess we just like to keep it interesting. It could have been a 20‑point spread, but with two to go we blew a tire.
TIMOTHY PETERS: I look at it as all or nothing. We need to come in here and probably just like the other two, Austin and James, they want to lead the most laps and win the race, and whoever‑‑ I'm sorry, I've got Austin on my mind, Ty. Ty‑‑ lead the most laps and win the race. We've got a lot of real estate that all three of us got to cover. From my position I like being the guy chasing James. It's going to be interesting.
TY DILLON: Well, my number is 1. We've got to win the race and lead the most laps and put the pressure on everybody else. That's our main focus this weekend, and anything short of that is not going to be acceptable for us to win the championship I don't think.
Q. Timothy, you seem a little nervous right now. Do you think that tonight you will be able to sleep thinking that you have to catch up with James, or in a month you won't sleep at all, so that will be different when you have a kid.
TIMOTHY PETERS: Believe it or not, I've got the best sleep this week that I have all week. I'm ready to get it going. I wish we were getting on track this afternoon. But you're right, I'm resting up now because next month about this time I definitely won't get any sleep.
As far as being nervous, I mean, I've got a little bit there. Always have. My dad always told me that if you wasn't, then something was wrong. It's going to be good.
Q. James, you have a little bit of breathing room but you're in a situation where you can't be too careful and you can't really overcharge things, either. How do you work a balance between not wrecking the car early but finishing high, too?
JAMES BUESCHER: You know, the things that have happened this year when we didn't finish in the top 5 or top 10 is mechanical problems or stuff out of our control, blowing tires and having parts failures. So we have to approach it like any other race weekend. I think if we switch to defense, you get too worried about what these other two guys are doing, and you don't focus on your team and what you need to do on the racetrack.
We've just got to stay focused on our team, run our race, just like we have every other week, and hope we have luck on our side to not have any failures because when we haven't had failures we've ran really well everywhere this season.
That's our plan.
Q. As a follow‑up to that, James, and for all three of you, will all of you‑‑ will you want to know where the other people are, or is that too much to think about during a race, to say, all right, where's Timothy, where's Ty, where's James, how do we stand? Is that too much to think about during a race?
JAMES BUESCHER: I think that's switching to defense for us. I mean, my team is aware of it because they have the screens right in front of them, but if I don't see them out my windshield I know they're behind me. We just need to plan on running up front and running our race, like I said. If I get too worried about what they're doing, we'll start making mistakes.
Q. As far as the Truck Series goes, the excitement that it seems to be generating over the last couple years, could you talk a little bit about that, about fans, any of you or all of you, about what the excitement of it means to you?
TIMOTHY PETERS: You know, it's hard racing from the time the race starts with the green until the checkered. There's no time to ride or be cautious, and it's all out. From Daytona to Martinsville, there's literally bumper tag and door slamming, and I think that's what makes everything intriguing about the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and here we are in Homestead and it's going to come down to the last lap who wins this championship.
You know, everywhere we go, whether it's your hometown or Vegas to back East Coast, everybody is talking big buzz about the series, and you had a lot of teams‑‑ new teams come in this year, and you hear more coming next year. It's pretty cool to see the way the series has grown.
JAMES BUESCHER: I think he hit it pretty good. The shorter races, you have less time to get it done, so you have to go out there and get it done. The competition is so tight, Krista talked about it, nine first‑time winners, 15 different winners this season. It's a lot of teams that are capable of winning races, and we've had less races than the other series.
To be coming to Homestead with the closest points battle doesn't surprise me at all.
TY DILLON: Yeah, the way the air moves around with these trucks you can't get away from each other, so everybody is packed in a tight pack and then we're only allowed a certain amount of tires. Then there's a strategy game that's pulled into a giant pack of trucks that can put any good truck up front at any time and allow young drivers to get up front and show what they're made of. I think that's why you see such a variety of winners and great finishes in the Truck Series. I think it's the fastest growing series that we have right now that people really sit down and watch the truck race because they know it's going to be an exciting race.
Q. With you guys being so young and so much on the line and you seem so calm, do you have people that are giving you advice? Do you want advice? Do you have veteran drivers that you go to? Or do you just prefer to go off on your own and run your own race? How is it behind the scenes?
TIMOTHY PETERS: It's one of those deals to where you get all the advice that you can stand, I guess. But then at the end of the day, when you show up, after this is all over with, it's game on and you want to go off on your own and just think about how the cards are dealt to you. That's what your hand is. I guarantee you that Foreigner "Head Games" song is pretty popular this weekend.
JAMES BUESCHER: For me, my wife gives me a lot of motivation. Everybody that I can think of tries to give me advice. I can't tell you the number of text messages I've gotten this week from people I haven't talked to in six months. That doesn't help for sure. I mean, they're trying to help, but it doesn't.
But there's a plan, and whatever is supposed to happen is going to happen, and that's just part of it. We'll see how it plays out and hopefully it plays out in my favor.
TY DILLON: Everybody knows my family, so they like to talk, so I'm getting plenty of advice. It's been great, and the best advice is just to go out and win races. That's the way to gain the most points in NASCAR, and that's the only thing I can look to do. Pressure is off of us, just go win races, and that's what got it for my brother who won the championship last year, my dad and my grandfather, everybody at RCR has been helpful, so we're just heading down trying to win a race.
KERRY THARP: Thank you, gentlemen. That concludes our question‑and‑answer session with our three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship contenders. Thanks to Ty, Timothy and James.
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