NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: NextEra Energy Resources 250
Topics: NextEra Energy Resources 250
February 18, 2011
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
DENISE MALOOF: We're going to get started with our post-race interviews tonight for the Camping World Truck Series season opening. We are joined in the media center by Elliott Sadler and Clay Rogers.
Clay, awesome night for you. Describe it.
CLAY ROGERS: It was really an up-and-down night, to say the least. But, you know, when we showed up here, we had to qualify in on speed. We had to do things that weren't good for the race in order to go fast for qualifying.
It showed tonight. We weren't a very good pusher. If we didn't have somebody behind us, we really couldn't go anywhere or even stay up in the pack the way we needed to. There were times in the race where Joey Coulter and a couple other guys, Michael Waltrip one time was pushing me pretty good, we could make headway then. Seemed to be a decent leader.
Kyle said before the restart, came down to our spotter, said, We'll push you on this start. I knew if a hole opened up, I better go with it or he was going to go with somebody else. Luckily a hole opened up off of two and we carried a huge run off the back straightaway. That was one of the most amazing things I've ever been a part of. It was pretty wild.
DENISE MALOOF: Elliott, take us through the last lap.
ELLIOTT SADLER: Michael is an amazing drafter. We all know that. He's very successful here, Talladega. For that reason we've been working really good together the whole race, trying to stay ahead of all the stuff, just staying in line, pushing. When we took the white and he got to my back bumper, started pushing me tandem, in the backstretch, I was in the chip with my motor. I was like, Oh, boy, he's got me where he wants me now. Came off of turn four, I blocked a little bit high, but he had such a good run, I probably wasn't quick enough to try to block him. But I didn't want to give him the inside either. He made a good move. Just the way it goes.
So proud of my guys. Gave me a good truck. I just couldn't make it back to the start/finish line first. It's a good run for us. If anybody deserves a win on today's race, it's probably Michael Waltrip.
DENISE MALOOF: We're also joined by tonight's top finishing rookie, Miguel Paludo. Your night obviously went very well.
MIGUEL PALUDO: Yeah, was pretty good. First time here in Daytona. I talk to a lot of the drivers before this race. They said, Man, you have to be patient till the last lap. So I did that. Since the 22 went into the wall, I saw that it would be my night because I got lucky. I had a lot of accidents in front of me, beside me. We were pretty good.
The truck was real fast on the drafting. Is unbelievable finish fourth first time here.
DENISE MALOOF: Thank you, gentlemen. We'll take questions.
Q. Miguel, how did you get through the big wreck that claimed almost everybody else behind Elliott and Michael?
Clay, how does it feel to be the points leader in the Truck Series?
MIGUEL PALUDO: For me, I don't remember which truck was. He was sideways in front of me. My only choice was inside lane. So I push inside, brake a little bit. As I said, I got lucky because I didn't hit anything.
I was watching the replay later. I couldn't believe it.
CLAY ROGERS: To be honest with you, my heart just dropped when you said that. I hadn't even thought about that (laughter).
You know, our plans coming into Daytona were not to compete in the full Truck Series schedule this year. We'll have to talk to that man right there after tonight. But, you know, our team is a very small team. We're based out of Cerro Gordo, North Carolina, an hour on the other side of Rockingham. We'll see what we can do. We're definitely going to run the first five races and we'll see where it goes from there.
Q. Elliott, always tough to lose a race. But under the circumstances, seeing Waltrip win on the 10th anniversary of Earnhardt's death, does it make it a little easier?
ELLIOTT SADLER: I went to Victory Lane to congratulate him. I watched the special today right before the truck race. That's what I told him in Victory Lane, You know, if anybody deserves to win a race today, you do. You race like you're supposed to. You won the race. You're the best driver tonight. You deserve to be able to celebrate tonight and cherish this moment.
Michael and I have been friends a long time, I mean a long time. We worked together tonight. He made a great move at the end. It does ease the pain a little bit. I want to go to Victory Lane, too. We have another chance tomorrow.
We had a new sponsor on the truck tonight with OneMain Financial, a lot of people here. It's a great way to start a relationship with somebody to run like we did, lead some laps, finish second. I'm more proud of that than anything.
Q. Elliott, if you could kind of go back to those last few laps, what was going through your mind before the restart and your ideal scenario or how you wanted it to work out? Racing in this series, what are your plans in terms of racing here as well as the Nationwide Series?
ELLIOTT SADLER: My plan was, Michael and I found each other after the first green flag pit stop. I think we drove from 25th and 26th up to 12th and 13th in six laps. We knew our trucks worked then pretty good together. Once Hornaday got taken out, my teammate, I didn't have anybody left with me, Michael and I worked good together. We were planning on getting together on every restart, me kind of getting out ahead and pulling down. We saw the guys do that in the Bud Shootout, and Duel race, get out ahead of everybody and leave it up to us to settle the race.
He made a great turn out of turn four. I tried to block him a little bit, but I was guarding against the inside. He had a lot of momentum.
When I went into turn three, I jammed the brakes trying to get him off my bumper, I said, I'm in trouble. Came off four, he got me, made a really good move. That's the way it is.
As far as running truck races, we're going to run 14 races this year, in the 2 truck, Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick, Cale Gale, we're going to split it up a little bit, then run for the Nationwide championship.
OneMain Financial is on for that, too. This gives me a lot of confidence and a lot of momentum going into tomorrow as race. So we'll see what we can do with that.
Q. Elliott, can you help me understand the physics of a spoiler a little bit. Michael came in with the right side folded down.
ELLIOTT SADLER: I asked him how he did that, where is the switch for that. I guess it came down when we had the green-white-checkered. I mean, it definitely helps his truck as far as drag. When he pulled out, he went by me. I was like, Wow, he's fast. I tried to side draft off of him and I couldn't.
It definitely helped him. But I think he still would have won anyway. He made a really good move off of turn four. He was going to side draft off of me. Might have been a little bit closer to the line, but he had a lot of momentum. That's not the reason why. It definitely helped some. He made a really good move off of turn four.
Q. Clay, did you pit very late? I thought I heard you say you were running out of gas at one point.
CLAY ROGERS: Yeah, we were. Actually our truck shut off halfway down the back straightaway and again in the middle of turns three and four coming with one to go for that restart. We were trying to stretch mileage because I made a mistake on pit road and missed my pit stall. We were trying to overcome that. Stretch fuel miles a little bit. Like I said, we were set up for qualifying. We were jetted a lot leaner than probably a large percentage of the field.
We were getting better fuel mileage. I think we had enough fuel to get to the end. Riding around under caution on these high banks was making it run away from the pickup. That saved us. Plus the gas can got stuck in the hole as we were leaving the pits, so we got a penalty. But that penalty put us right in front of Kyle. What seemed to be a terrible situation at the time, could have been the best thing that could have happened.
Q. After the top line didn't work all day long, Elliott, how surprised were you when Kyle pushed the 84 truck up there and all of a sudden there they were, battling for the lead?
ELLIOTT SADLER: Yeah, our plan, we all went to the back and rode, and the race got very single file very quick. We got to change our plans because we don't know how much the outside is going to, would. We were goofing around with it during the middle of the race, me and Hornaday and Todd Bodine. We couldn't get tandemed up correctly.
When Kyle got behind the 84 truck, he started doing the tandem like we've been seeing all week. They were coming on to the front.
I think until Kyle got hot, they got separated when the 31 came up through the middle, they were going to have a good run coming to the front. I really didn't know what move I was going to make when I got there. I was playing it out in my head depending how fast they were going to get to me, whether I needed to leave Michael, move up. They came a lot quicker than I thought they would when they got hooked up together, yes.
Q. Clay, you heard Miguel's view from that late crash. Did you have a good view from the mirrors?
CLAY ROGERS: Actually at that point, like I said, we didn't have anybody behind us at that point and had kind of fell away from the draft about 10 or 12 car lengths, had just picked up the 10 truck behind us. We were hoping to pull back up. That's when all chaos broke loose there.
We were fortunate to have enough time to get slowed down and pick our way through there. It was a couple close calls, especially with the 3 truck. Almost centered him. Luckily, once again, there were several times tonight in our race that things that looked horrible, ended up benefitting us in the end. I guess luck played a large part in it as well.
DENISE MALOOF: Guys, congratulations. Thank you.
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