Today NASCAR and International Speedway Corp (ISC) announced that the Craftsman Truck Series will race at the Talladega Superspeedway in 2006. The following quotes are from key personnel from the Orleans Racing team and cover their feelings on the newly announced date.
Brendan Gaughan - Driver of the # 77 Jasper Engines Dodge
Feelings on the new race at Talladega?
“It’s going to be interesting. One of the best NASCAR races of the year is the NASCAR Craftsman Truck race at Daytona. Look at the famous finish from Rick Crawford’s win in 2003. Every year at Daytona is a fantastic, fantastic race.
“As a driver we always like to have one speedway race and get out of there with whatever guts we have left and go on to the next week. We’re going to have to do that twice next year. It’s a challenge. It’s one we’re going to have to step up to. These trucks move around a lot on the superspeedways with the air and the aero package – we’re just going to have to suck it up twice a year instead of once.
“I think it’s exciting. Going to Talladega. Man, there is no place bigger.
Perspective with your car owner’s cap on?
“From a car owner’s standpoint it’s a bit of a challenge because now what you’ve created is a need for a special truck. From what my engineers and what my crew chiefs tell me a Daytona truck is not going to work at Talladega.
“From a car owners standpoint I’d rather do a road course because it’s just anther race car. If they’re going to make us do Talladega heck, put the road course back on and lets do Talladega and a road course. Then at least I’ve got a truck that can work twice.
“From a car owners standpoint it means another one of those scary races that when you do damage you do serious damage. It looks like another time when we’re going to have to build a specialized truck because a Daytona truck won’t work at Talladega."
Steve Park - Driver of the #62 Orleans Racing Dodge
“The only thoughts I have is that I have plenty of experience at Daytona and Talladega. The thing in the truck series is the disparity between the guys who have experience and those who don’t. The difference between experience and brand new drivers is greater in the truck series than it is in Busch and the Cup Series. I hope the same caution is taken between the disparity of drivers where we’re not allowing inexperienced guys go to a place like Talladega. The chance of the “big one” that everyone talks about is greater in the truck series because of the disparity of experience. The process of getting the guys to Daytona in February and using that as experience for Talladega might make it a pleasant experience. I just hope that’s the case."
Would Daytona and Talladega race the same?
“They don’t race the same. They are both superspeedways but Daytona is more of a handling race track than Talladega. I think it’s going to put a lot of truck teams in a position where they’re building a special truck for Talladega. NASCAR tries to keep the cost down, but Daytona and Talladega are going to require two different trucks. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of rules NASCAR comes up with for Daytona and Talladega next year. They need a rule that will help prevent teams from building specific trucks for Talladega to help keep the costs down.
“My feelings are kind of up in the air and I think it’s going to be hard to go to Talladega and not have a truck that’s purpose built for there where in the past we never did. The truck we ran at Daytona was a truck that could run other places too."
Tony “Rambo” Liberati - Crew Chief # 77 Jasper Engines Dodge
“It’s going to take a different truck from Daytona to Talladega. But if that’s what they want to do then we’ll race at Talladega. Speedway racing is always exciting and we’re looking forward to going there and racing.
“Talladega and Daytona are just really different. I think that we’re going to have to really work on our trucks for Talladega. Basically if you have two speedway trucks then the one that’s a little more draggy you race at Daytona because you’ve got to handle a little bit more. Then you take the other one to Talladega.
“I know with the trucks they tried to do it all with one truck, and I think you can do it. But I think it’s going to be a pain. Not only that it’s a deal where if you tear something up you’re going to tear it up bad."