NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: NextEra Energy Resources 250
Topics: NextEra Energy Resources 250
February 24, 2012
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
KERRY THARP: Let's hear from our winning race team, winning the 13th Annual NextEra Energy Resources 250 is John King. He drives the No.7 Red Horse Racing Toyota of Red Horse Racing. He's joined by team owner Tom DeLoach and crew chief Chad Kendrick.
Congratulations to John on his first career victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. A big night tonight for Red Horse Racing. What a way to start the season. John King from Kingsport, Tennessee, winning here at Daytona.
JOHN KING: It's unbelievable. A dream come true. I knew what the organization was when we went to Red Horse. I didn't know how great it was, though. I mean, everything. Toyota is unbelievable, the backing and support you get from them. Joe Gibbs Motors, you can go on for days with the horsepower they've got. I've never driven anything so smooth in my life as that racetrack. It's just a dream come true.
KERRY THARP: Chad Kendrick, survival of the fittest out there tonight. You did the job also on pit road. Talk about the performance of the 7 truck tonight.
CHAD KENDRICK: We had a game plan. First of all, I got to say this was a truly, truly team effort from the whole organization, from the shop, to the track, all three teams worked together. We talked in practice. Formulated plans what we were going to do in the race.
We did the race the way we planned it from the start, from taking the tires the first stop, to not taking tires the rest of the race. Taking the fuel. John did an awesome job coming onto pit road and coming around. He had to come around the 19 twice to take fuel. One time we got blocked in by the truck in front of us.
But we stuck to our plan. This truck has won this race, this is the second time. It won in 2010 with Timothy Peters. I guess it's ironic Timothy helped push us to this win with John in it.
John's a great, great kid, awesome to work with. I mean, you put somebody in good equipment, they have a good head on 'em, I guess you always have a shot.
KERRY THARP: That's certainly a good way of putting it. Tom DeLoach, what a good way to start the season going 1‑2 here at Daytona.
TOM DeLOACH: I think we're 1‑2 and 5. The guys did a fantastic job. As Chad said, they play well together. My job is to get the right people together. I believe I've done that. Then turn 'em lose. I turned 'em lose tonight. Boy, they played the game the way they were supposed to play the game. Ran hard. Kind of anticipated what they needed to do and never quit digging.
I'm really proud of 'em. They do a fantastic job.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions now for the winning team.
Q. I think you got 42 laps out of the last tank of gas. Were you close? Could you have made it to the checkered if it stayed green?
JOHN KING: I think so. I was on the clutch. I mean, we were coasting around there three‑fourths of the caution lap, I mean every single lap. Fourth gear, just enough for the motor to pull. I'd push in the clutch and coast.
He assured me we were good. When we got the last green‑white‑checkered, it was going to be close. Stayed on the apron, made sure we didn't get air in the line. We were able to pull it off.
We left the last green flag without a hitch, didn't miss a beat.
TOM DeLOACH: Chad, NASCAR did give him the 25‑gallon rookie tank?
CHAD KENDRICK: I can't talk about that. It held the proper amount, for sure (smiling).
Q. John, realistically coming into this race, what were your expectations? At what point in the race did it dawn on you that you might win this?
JOHN KING: The expectations were just to finish. That's what I told them at the start of the race. I said, Let's get a finish, keep me out of trouble. We dropped to the back with Timothy and the other guys with hopes of missing the big one. We did miss some wrecks. It wasn't until we made it into the top five on restarts that I thought, Man, this could happen, this could get going. There were a couple uncertainties with a couple green‑white‑checkereds we had to encounter, but we made it happen.
Q. John, what happened with getting into Sauter? Were you getting pushed?
JOHN KING: I don't know that I was getting pushed. All I know was closing rate was real fast, I couldn't get off of him.
I'm a rookie. I've never pushed in my life. This is my first time at Daytona or any Superspeedway. I apologize to him from the bottom of my heart. It wasn't my intention at all.
Without wrecking him, I was good to go. I couldn't get off of him. Once I got up to him in the tri‑oval, that's all I had, so...
Q. John, you talked about how badly you felt there for Johnny. Chad, what did you do there? Sounded like you almost talked him down off a ledge there so it didn't get in his head.
CHAD KENDRICK: Yeah. I'm telling you, this is probably one of the nicest did guys you'll ever meet. When the caution came out, you could hear the concern in his voice, like he was truly almost sad about wrecking Johnny. I told him we'd worry about it at the end of the race. We had a race to run, we still had laps to go. At that point we were a legitimate contenders. That was Daytona. That happens at Daytona. It's happened a million times. It will happen again.
So we both hate it for Johnny. But it was a racing incident. He was going as hard as he could, Johnny was going as hard as he could. I just kept reassuring him it's fine. It's a racing incident. Johnny has been around long enough, he understands that. It was okay. Don't worry about it anymore. Don't have a second thought about it. Let's go win it.
Q. Where did you learn to be a psychologist?
CHAD KENDRICK: I took a little bit of that in school (smiling).
No, I guess working with multiple drivers. I don't know. I mean, if it was some other driver, I've worked with other drivers, they wouldn't have even brought it up. I'm telling you, this guy is genuinely a nice guy, truly a nice guy.
Q. I speak for a lot of people in America, on Twitter and everywhere else, they're asking a simple question: John, who are you? In all seriousness, can you explain how this Red Horse Racing opportunity came about, how in the last couple months you've gotten to this point where here you are?
TOM DeLOACH: Talk a little bit about your background, what you've been racing.
JOHN KING: I came off of dirt late models, went to late model stocks after that. We've run a few truck races. This is feature win number three for me my whole career. This is it. I've won one dirt late model race and one late model stock race. It's unbelievable. I couldn't imagine being here. We're here.
But we got together with Tom in the off‑season. I don't really know how it worked out. We just kind of ran into each other. It just evolved from there.
TOM DeLOACH: Let me give you a little bit more background on that.
John and his dad, this is J1, his dad is J2, John King also. What we did, they came to us, wanted to talk about, What have you got as a race team? Why should we be with Red Horse versus this team, this team, this team? Why are you the right person?
We showed them what we had. We brought them in, said, This is what the race team looks like. We do a lot of work with people. Part of the time I'm going to be your dad, part of the time I'm going to be your cheerleader, part of the time I'm going to be beating you on the back. This is what it's all about.
We're in there to try to mold a young driver so they can be very competitive as they go forward in their career. As I talked to John and his dad, that's kind of the way it came across. My team manager, Kevin Ray, worked very hard on making sure all this is going back and forth. We're still trying to put all the pieces together. We don't have all the sponsorship done. You notice that truck out there said Red Horse all over it. We're millimeters away from a sponsorship deal, but a millimeter away is still away.
The one thing I was impressed with, Chad said it two or three times, I've never gone and sat with a driver as much as with John and all I get is, Yes, sir; no, sir; uh‑huh; yes, sir; yes, sir.
Very polite, very disciplined, incredibly calm in a big race like this. You guys probably scanned him a little bit. You heard that voice on there. You didn't hear him up on the chip. You heard a guy that was very meticulous about it.
Terry Cook is the spotter. Most of you guys know Terry. He's raced 400 truck races under his belt. Having Terry as a spotter fills in some of the background that John doesn't have. That's what we did is we kind of put a big warm blanket around John and tried to maximize his ability. Folks, you see what happened tonight.
Q. We've talked a little bit from your days of Bill Elliott Racing. Casey Roderick has tied himself into the Nationwide Series. You're trying to run full‑time in the trucks. What did that experience there with that backing and from a restrictor plate race help you prepare for this?
JOHN KING: I mean, you know, an experience like Bill Elliott is like none other. I mean, he has won everything there is to win, past champion. We just moved down there. Kind of came out of the blue. Worked really hard. Learned a lot. Learned a lot from Bill, learned a lot about the business, how I need to conduct myself.
TOM DeLOACH: Maybe that's the secret.
JOHN KING: It may be.
TOM DeLOACH: What's written on the back of your seat in the truck? What's on that seat?
JOHN KING: Bill Elliott (laughter).
TOM DeLOACH: It's a Bill Elliott seat with an insert for him. Maybe we brought a little bit of that mystery in there, too.
JOHN KING: But there's no doubt how much the huge amount of knowledge I learned from Bill Elliott Racing, from Ernie and Dan, the whole family. Just great people. Just great to be around. I wouldn't give it for nothing. I wouldn't take anything for it.
Q. Tom, anything going forward for Todd at all?
TOM DeLOACH: We're working that one day‑to‑day. Like I said with John, we got a lot of issues and a lot of possibilities that far away and we're continuing to work it.
I think we're going to be successful. But being successful and thinking you're going to be successful are two different things.
I'm always a glass is half full. If it's not half full, it's at least three‑quarters full. We believe that we can do the undoable right now, get sponsorship in the Truck Series. That's what we're working on.
KERRY THARP: Guys, congratulations. What a way to start the season. John King, congratulations. Tom, Chad, keep it up. Keep that smile on your face.
JOHN KING: Thank you.
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