Austin Hill (third) and Stewart Friesen (fifth) drove to top-five finishes to lead Toyota at the CarShield 200 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway on Sunday afternoon.
Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series
World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway
Race 14 of 23 – 160 Laps, 200 Miles
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, Sheldon Creed*
2nd, Brett Moffitt*
3rd, AUSTIN HILL
4th, Sam Mayer*
5th, STEWART FRIESEN
6th, RAPHAEL LESSARD
13th, DEREK KRAUS
16th, DANNY BOHN
19th, CLAY GREENFIELD
20th, KYLE DONAHUE
24th, CHANDLER SMITH
26th, BRYANT BARNHILL
32nd, CHRISTIAN ECKES
AUSTIN HILL, No. 16 United Rentals Toyota Tundra, Hattori Racing Enterprises
Finishing Position: 3rd
What was the biggest challenge for you here today?
“The biggest issue for us all day was that we just fired off really tight, to start with. I had a really bad chatter in the front end early in the race and then for whatever reason, we started having some brake issues. I don’t know what was really going on there, but the brakes would pulsate going into corner, and it would make the whole truck shake. One lap, the brakes would be loose on entry, and then the next lap, it would just kind of make the truck get tight on entry. So, working with the brakes was a really big battle all day, but everybody at HRE (Hattori Racing Enterprises), Scott (Zipadelli, crew chief) and all of the guys – it just goes to show that we never give up. We didn’t get any stage points today in the first or second stage, which is a bummer for us, just looking at the point situation. It just goes to show how hard this team works that we just have that don’t give up mentality. I honestly think that if we could have had one more restart – one more go at it – and be able to restart up front, there in third, there’s no telling what could have happened. We could have had a shot at the win. Our Tundra was pretty good there at the end. I was battling with the 23 (Brett Moffitt), my brake issues started getting worse again. It started fighting really tight off the corner as well. All-in-all, a really good, hard fought day. I can’t thank everybody at United Rentals enough for letting me do what I do. Like I said, everybody at HRE just works their guts out each and every week. This is a new package with no practice, so we knew we were going to have to work on it and it just goes to show that if you make the right calls and right adjustments you can be up there in the end.”
What do you feel like this run can do leading into the Playoffs?
“It was unfortunate that we didn’t get any stage points today. We struggled really bad early in the race. I was really tight. I started having some brake issues throughout the first run, and they kind of persisted the rest of the race. The brake pedal just wasn’t consistent. One lap you would go in and it would be free, and the next lap it would be tight, and the next lap you would go in and it would be decent enough. The brake pedal was pulsating really bad the whole race and shaking on me. So, we don’t really know what was going on to cause that. It just made it very hard to be consistent with my braking today, but everybody at HRE (Hattori Racing Enterprises), Scott (Zipadelli, crew chief) and all the guys worked really hard today fighting through adversity. We were chattering the tires, it felt like the front end was 10 feet in the air to start with anytime you were behind somebody. It was really, really tight. It just goes to show that everybody at HRE, they don’t give up. We have that don’t give up attitude. We just worked through it. We just kept fighting every stop, and we made really, really big adjustments to get it better throughout the race. I think going forward that’s going to help us be even more prepared going forward, because this was a brand-new package than they’ve ever ran before on a short track. Coming with a new package and then being able to fight through adversity like that and end up third, it just goes to show how good this team is.”
What was your thought on the race having no live pit stops?
“I didn’t like it to be honest with you. It just takes the strategy and stuff like that out of the race. There are things that we did today, that we probably couldn’t have done on a live pit stop, because we would have lost a lot of track position. In that aspect, it helped us some, just because of how far off we were to start. I’d rather have the live pit stops. It kind of takes away from the strategy. You can’t play with strategy and talk to your crew chief and really think about short pitting or whatever you may want to try to do – left side tires, no tires, stuff like that. It just kind of took all of that out of affect today. I didn’t really like that. I hope that we go back to the live pit stops. I hope it’s not something that ends up happening next year.”
How tough was it to pass on the inside today?
Yeah, it was really hard to pass. One thing I did like about today’s race versus last year’s race was that you could actually race a little more than you could last year. I feel like last year with the PJ1, anytime that you slipped up or anything like that, you would get into the PJ1 and you would be fine. If you weren’t running in the PJ1 last year, you weren’t going anywhere. I thought the race was a little bit better this year just being able to maneuver some. The guys that had a free enough truck, they could get their trucks pointed down the race track a little bit better than other guys off of turn two and get beside that guy. It was just kind of a dog fight on turns three and four. Just whoever’s truck could get through there better. We actually struggled all day with the tightness, and for whatever reason, I couldn’t really run three and four in that second lane like some of the other guys could do. I just had to carve the bottom and really put my left sides on the rumble strips all the way though the corner to help it rotate through the turn, so I was kind of stuck where I was at there. At the end of the race battling with the 23 (Brett Moffitt), there’s really nothing that I could have done differently. I was starting to get tight. It was starting to chatter. I could turn under him a little bit better than he could, but he was so good in three and four that there was no way that I was going to get a good enough run to get up beside him and eventually pass him. All-in-all it was a decent race. Gateway is one of these race tracks where track position is really huge, so if you can get out front, unless you just have a super truck, then you can drive through the pack and mow them down. As close as we are, it just makes it tough to pass.”
STEWART FRIESEN, No. 52 Halmar ‘Racing To Beat Hunger’ Toyota Tundra, Halmar Friesen Racing
Finishing Position: 5th
What have you done recently to turn your season around?
“Just kind of building the notebook. It’s been tough for us with no practice. All of the guys at TRD and Toyota have been working to try to catch us up. We are still not where we need to be. Our Tundra was pretty good on the long run today. It’s a tough track to pass, but we were able to avoid some melees there at the end and get the Halmar 52 into the top-five, which is awesome. We are continuing to build some momentum. Obviously, we will have to win a race in the next two to try to make the Playoffs. That’s our goal, but realistically, we just need to keep building the notebook so we can keep getting better and better. Hopefully, we can come into 2021, when things get back to normal, we can make a run at them.”
RAPHAEL LESSARD, No. 4 SiriusXM Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Finishing Position: 6th
This was your first time at World Wide Technology Raceway, how was your day?
“My race was pretty good, we were starting way back because of what happened at Dover last weekend. We started 19th, my goal was to go win this thing and make my way to the Playoffs and that’s the goal for the next three races and the rest of the season. It was also to just pass them one at a time and just make my way up there. It was my first time here, so I was trying to learn the race track at beginning, and we were a little bit too tight at first, but it was hard because we couldn’t make any strategy on pit road and have a different strategy to gain us position. It was everyone on the same strategy, so it was in the driver’s hands to make moves on the racetrack. I think I did a pretty good job; my team at Kyle Busch Motorsports got my Toyota Tundra way way better, and at the end I thought we were as good as the leader, but just needed a little bit more luck on that last restart. You know what, with the new rule this one is on me. I chose the top, and I made the mistake of choosing the top, but oh well. We’re going to focus on the next one and I just can’t thank everyone at SiriusXM, Canac and Mobil1 for making this happen and we’re going to get them at Darlington (Raceway).“
CHRISTIAN ECKES, No. 18 Safelite Toyota Tundra Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Finishing Position: 32nd
You were going for the lead. What happened?
“Yeah, well I got ran through, but it all started when I had a vibration at the end of stage two. I really didn’t know what happened. That wasn’t the reason that we broke, but I’m sure it didn’t help matters. We ended up breaking a driveshaft. Like I said, I had a really bad vibration at the end of stage two, but as a whole, I obviously wish we could finish a damn race here, both for me and Rudy (Fugle, crew chief), but oh well, I guess. We will get ready for Darlington and Richmond, and hopefully get enough cushion there and go get a win.”
Toyota Racing PR