The Truck Series rolled into Las Vegas and will kick things off with a late Friday practice and qualifying session.
Before climbing in their trucks, defending race champion Ron Hornaday Jr and current Truck Series Points Leader Ty Dillon spoke to the press.
Here are some key notes from the pressers along with full audio from each.
On returning as defending race Champion to Las Vegas:
Vegas has been a decent track for me – but I had never done that well, so to win here last year was really special. To have so many family and friends out here was really cool.
Really focusing on one team right now, Joe is giving me good trucks and we have found the sponsorship…. Things are changing for the better so I am really looking forward to getting out on the track.
We only had six trucks, we are starting to repair the trucks we wrecked at the beginning of the year… so we finally are building our stable.
On the passing of Chris Economaki:
Sorry I had to hear (that news) it from you, I have been tied up in the hotel all day and hadn’t heard that news. I can’t say Chris is a close friend of mine but we’ve talked a bunch and he’s definitely talked about me a bunch over the years. What he’s done for our sport, his enthusiasm, it’s amazing. My thoughts and prayers go out to his whole family. His voice never seemed to change as old as he got…. One of the rarest voices in our sport.
On the impact of the heat and racing in Las Vegas:
The weather, the heat and sand, this place ages faster than other tracks. SO what you had out here last time is not going to work. This is the only track where I feel good enough to get in the top groove.
It is gonna be a hot day, a slippery tire. This is a new tire Goodyear has brought, and I haven’t been on it yet. It should be interesting.
After the NFL replacement Refs – Ron’s comments on NASCAR officials and the calls they make:
They (NASCAR) try to be the fairest…. We see each other every weekend 36 times a year. We are like a family. In all my years of racing trucks, I think I’ve only had one bad call go against me when Boris Said’s carb sputtered on a restart and it looked like I jumped the start but I didn’t – the reason we are all still here racing is their attention to safety and keeping thing equal and fair.
Part 2: Ron Hornaday Part 2 -
INTERVIEW WITH TY DILLON:
On coming into Vegas with the Truck Series Points Lead:
Very excited, lots of momentum with the team, starting to hit our stride and make ourselves into a mature team. Austin won 2 years ago here at night and looking forward to another race under the lights – I’m sure we’re gonna have a fast race truck.
I have gotten some tips from Austin, but I’ll probably try to lean on him a little bit more tonight after practice. Mainly I just using his notes from his past trips to Vegas.
The 4-point cushion does not change the way he’ll race… “I haven’t changed anything yet this season, so why would I change now.”
On being named to BuzzFeed.com’s “Hottest 10 NASCAR Dudes List”
Really???? Is that like hot as in good looking hot….. am I third behind Danica? What website was that on? (pause) Well, that’s cool…. I am sure my girlfriend will be happy about that.
What’s the hardest thing about racing in the truck series:
Hardest thing about trucks has been getting to know the other drivers and some of the new tracks for me. Racing with these veterans has been tough to learn but it has made us better as a team and made me a better driver.
Next year, Ty will return to Vegas and not be under-21:
Definitely looking back to coming out here and experiencing Vegas the right way. But we are having a lot of fun this week…. I haven’t been out here since I was 6 or 7…. But my girlfriend and I are having a great time out here… last night we hung out on Freemont Street and rode the roller-coaster at New York, New York.
On what it would mean to his family to win a second straight Truck Series Championship.
It would mean a lot. It would show people all the hard work we put into this deal and how bad we really want it. I feel that some people just think we were given this opportunity… and we were… but that drives me harder to prove we belong here. I think winning the championship how hard we really do work.
His thoughts on the pending trip to Talledaga:
I love Dega…/ won it last year in ARCA and I am looking forward to going back. You have to dodge a lot of wrecks but the pack racing is a lot of fun.