Reutimann & Lester Promote Talladega 250


NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers David Reutimann and Bill Lester visited Alabama yesterday to share their anticipation for the inaugural Talladega 250 here on Oct. 7.

Both drivers participate in interviews with radio and television stations in Birmingham before meeting with print and broadcast journalists for lunch.  Select quotes from interviews follow:

DAVID REUTIMANN, driver of the Darrell Waltrip Motorsports No. 17:

Q: How big of an announcement was it that the trucks are finally coming to Talladega?

A: I think this is the must-see race of the season for all NASCAR races. The trucks coming to Talladega - that's pretty big news.

Q: What will be the biggest difference fans will see between NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series racing and racing in other series they are used to seeing at Talladega?

A: I think the main thing is the fact that our races are shorter. So the mentality is that you need to stay up front as long as you can because you may not have an opportunity to get back up there in the amount of time you have. We don¿t have as many pit stops, so your truck had better be pretty close to being spot-on if you are going to have a chance to win it. You don¿t have eight or ten pit stops to try to make it any better.

Q: Explain the similarities and differences you expect at Talladega in comparison to racing at Daytona.

A: A lot of things are going to be the same. The drafting is going to come into play just like it does at Daytona. You¿re going to have a couple grooves of racing like you do at Daytona. I just think the biggest difference will be the new pavement, and all of that racetrack that you have to work on (at Talladega). People just don¿t realize how narrow it is at Daytona. Three-wide is about as good as it gets at Daytona, where at Talladega the place is just massive. It¿s so wide and there is so much 'playing field,¿ so to speak, we in the truck series use about all we can get, and then some.

Q: How do you think the new pavement, specifically, will affect the race?

A: I think it will be smoother, and there will probably be more grip in certain areas, but in a truck you are just flat-out all the way around there anyway. It¿s cool that they did it. It is going to be smooth and it¿s going to be fast - but it¿s always been fast. I just think it is going to make for better racing all the way around.

Q: Why should race fans come out on October 7 and see this race?

A: If you¿re a die-hard race fan, you owe it to yourself to go watch a truck race, especially at Talladega. It¿s history, to start with, so you want to be part of that and check it out. The more I talk to fans that weren¿t necessarily truck fans when they came to a truck race, when they left they were.

BILL LESTER, driver of the Bill Davis Racing No. 22:

Q: Have you had experience at Talladega Superspeedway?

A: I have tested at Talladega. We used to use Talladega as a test date to get ready for Daytona. Once we learned that Talladega was going to be on the circuit, we couldn¿t go and test over the winter to get ready for this year. I¿ve done mostly single-truck runs, maybe four or five trucks in a draft, but never 36. So that is going to be a whole new animal for us.

Q: Explain the similarities and differences you expect at Talladega in comparison to racing at Daytona.

A: It will obviously be different from drafting at Daytona. The techniques are the same, but the physics of it will be different because it is a different configuration. It¿s a lot wider, and you don¿t have to handle as well as you do at Daytona. Here, it is so wide it is all about horsepower and aerodynamics.

Q: How will the drafting be different in the trucks compared to


A: It is a very delicate procedure to draft in the trucks because they are so low, and our rear tails are so high, that it is very easy to get up underneath somebody. So there is no slam drafting in trucks. They¿ve taken a lot of that away from the cars with the bumpers that they have changed. The best way to draft for us is not to really hit, but just lay your nose on their tail, and just push them.

I think you are going to see a whole lot of close competition throughout the whole race. Unless you¿re truck is really bad, it is going to be hard to lose the draft.

Q: What will be the biggest unknown variable for the series¿ first race at Talladega?

A: It is not the number of trucks, it is the level of proficiency/experience in the field. And if you step back and look at the truck series, you have almost a dozen rookies in each event. It¿s a stout rookie field this year and there¿s not a lot of experience. As a result, you have to pick your drafting partner and your position very carefully.

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