TOYOTA NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS)
Matt Crafton & Johnny Sauter — Notes & Quotes
Rockingham Speedway — April 13, 2013
MATT CRAFTON, No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra, ThorSport Racing
Are you looking forward to racing at Rockingham and breaking the consecutive start record?
“Does that mean I’m older than hell now that I’m beating the record for consecutive starts? It makes me sound old and feel old honestly. I’ve been looking forward to coming here. This is definitely one of my favorite race tracks that I’ve been to. I’ve only been here once, but I had a blast last year. I can’t wait for the race tomorrow. Just how the tires fall off is so cool. I wish every race track was like that with the tires falling off. The start of our season was good — really good for us to get out of Daytona with a top-10 finish and not torn up race trucks, definitely a success for ThorSport Racing. Martinsville was very cool one-two again with ThorSport and I think it’s three times for us. I’m really tired of finishing second to him (Sauter).”
How much do you enjoy racing at Rockingham?
“I wish more race tracks were like this. I was actually talking to somebody the other day — all these new paved race tracks just plain and simple suck. To go race on — to put it bluntly — we run around the bottom, we can’t pass. I think they need to make some type of machine that once they pave the race track would make it abrasive — put some kind of sealer on it where your stuff will slide around because as a driver when you go to these race tracks that are newly paved and everybody rides around the bottom and you can’t pass and there’s options like this once the tires do wear out — at least it puts more of the driver back in the seat. That’s what it feels like to us. At the beginning of a run you can run as hard as you can, but 10 or 15 laps in a run you are thinking you shouldn’t have run that hard at the beginning of the run. That’s at least putting the driver back in it instead of sitting there at a mile-and-a-half new paved race track and run it wide open. That is what is so cool about this race track.”
Do you have any plans to incorporate the 13 back into Johnny Sauter’s truck?
“He’s (Johnny Sauter) going to have a No. 13 on his truck if he keeps this streak alive — it’s going to be under his seat, under the truck or somewhere. I’m going to put it on there. The 13 will be planted on Johnny somewhere.”
How has Todd Bodine benefited ThorSport Racing?
“I can’t thank Todd (Bodine) enough for Daytona. I don’t know where I finished — eighth or ninth, I know it was a top-10 run. I wouldn’t have finished where I did without Todd. Once Johnny (Sauter) shuffled him out, Todd came back and got me and pushed me to the top-10 finish that I had.”
JOHNNY SAUTER, No. 98 Carolina Nut Company/Curb Records Toyota Tundra, ThorSport Racing
What does the success so far this season mean to you and the team?
“It’s good — there’s no other way to describe it. Just being able to start off the season in Daytona, which has been kind of an Achilles heel of a race track for us — not that we haven’t ran well, we just always seem to have trouble getting to the finish. To get down there and actually finish the race and have it be a win was pretty overwhelming. It was really cool and then Martinsville has been a decent race track for us in the past — we’ve won there in the spring of 2011 so I felt like we could go there and capitalize and run well. Low and behold, here we are with two wins, two races into the season. It’s been really good for our Carolina Nut Company/Curb Records Toyota. I don’t know — nobody has ever won three in a row so maybe we can do that.”.
Is it difficult to build momentum from the Daytona win with so many weeks off?
“I think some people think that momentum exists and some people maybe don’t completely believe in that. I think you give 100 percent no matter what and at the end of the day you get what you get. Not just the driver, but the whole team and everybody. Momentum is cool and I think it sounds cool. I’ve been racing the Truck Series long enough to know that there is always a big break after Daytona and the first year or two that I ran the trucks it was kind of hard to get used to because you were so used to the fact that once Daytona started you were bam, bam, bam going to the race track. Now I’ve kind of gotten accustomed to it and actually it’s kind of nice, especially when you have a good run at Daytona. Daytona is normally one of those places that you go and you’re caught up in a wreck and then you’re chomping at the bit to get back to the race track to try to redeem yourself. Having said that, it’s really cool and I could not be more proud of everybody at ThorSport for the start that we’ve had, but we have to just keep it going and keep everybody hungry — just do what we do and hopefully we can keep winning.”
JOHNNY SAUTER, No. 98 Carolina Nut Company/Curb Records Toyota Tundra, ThorSport Racing (continued)
How much do you enjoy racing at Rockingham?
“I’ve said this a couple times this week and how fortunate I was early in my career to get to race here years ago and then I think it was eight years since NASCAR had raced here — it was ’04 to last year. I love this place. Always seem to run real well here for whatever reason. Never won or nothing like that, but just it’s a fun race track. Drivers like that slip and slide feel of a race track and obviously as abrasive as this surface is — having said that, you’ve also got options — you can run on the bottom, you can run in the middle, you can run on the top and you don’t have a lot of race tracks like that. This place here, you feel like Superman on sticker tires and 10 laps into the run you’re slipping and sliding. I think this is great. I couldn’t be happier — it’s like driving back in time coming down here this morning. Just driving here — it’s a really cool feeling.”
Are you superstitious to think changing from No. 13 to 98 is helping your season?
“I’m not superstitious at all — I believe in giving 100 percent and whatever happens, happens. That seems to be the hot topic is everybody is pointing to the number change and then a lot of people say I had the double whammy — I had peanuts on the truck and I was 13. I just whatever, you know what I mean? The number is cool. I actually really like the look of the truck and really like the look of the number 98. To me, it’s win-win. I can’t honestly give any feedback on that — if there is superstition then I’m way off base. Whatever it is, it’s working so I just want to leave it alone.”
What has Todd Bodine brought to ThorSport Racing?
“Todd (Bodine) is obviously a two-time champion and brings a lot to the table — there is no question. Obviously, all the experience, I believe he’s got two Nationwide Series wins here in his history. Todd’s a likable guy too — he’s a good guy. I think he does bring something to the table. Whether it’s a little bit of past lessons that he’s learned or maybe he knows something on setups. I think anytime you can bring experience in, especially with his resume, I don’t see how it could ever be a detriment. Todd’s got a good approach about him and the way he goes about things is good. He seems to fit in. I’ve got respect for him just as I do Matt (Crafton) or anybody else on the race track. He’s got a lot of credentials.”