Monday, Jun 05

Ford Performance - NCTS COTA Post-Race Quotes

Zane Smith was victorious in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series’ return to Circuit of The Americas. The win is Smith’s ninth in the series and his second-straight at the road course. Ford has won three consecutive times at Circuit of The Americas in the Craftsman Truck Series (Todd Gilliland, 2021; Smith, 2022-2023).


Ford Finishing Results:

1st – Zane Smith

3rd – Ty Majeski

10th – Ben Rhodes

15th – Kaden Honeycutt

16th – Hailie Deegan

22nd – Logan Bearden

26th – Mason Filippi

33rd – Matt Crafton


ZANE SMITH, No. 38 Speedco/Peak Ford F-150 (Finished 1st) – WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE CLOSING LAPS WITH KYLE BUSCH MAKING A PUSH? “Yeah, it was definitely nerve-racking there, but I knew once he was in that traffic, I needed to somewhat charge there but have enough at the end of the run. While he was trying to get through traffic, I was just trying to put down lap times and get a gap going. Fortunately, we worked up to about six-and-a-half seconds. I knew I was going to have to make a big mistake for him to get into striking distance. He is so strong under braking, and COTA is just all massive braking zones. That was my biggest worry, but I always enjoy racing him and it was fun this weekend racing with Ross [Chastain]. I’ve learned so much racing those guys, so hopefully in the near future, I can race with them every weekend.”


TIRES PROVED TO BE MORE OF A FACTOR THIS YEAR. HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT TO MANAGE DEGRADATION? “Really difficult, especially I feel like every year it gets bumpier and bumpier, and these bumps are knocking us sideways left and right. That’s the biggest thing. A lot of this track has new pavement and old pavement. It’s so easy to lock up fronts and try to find that drive-off. Fortunately, we found it when it mattered, and I’m just so happy to be here.”


TY MAJESKI, No. 98 Cincinnati/Curb Records Ford F-150 (Finished 3rd) - HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR FINISH? “It was a good, solid day for us. Anytime you can come here with the Cup guys at a road course, it’s tough. So, I had good top-five speed all day. Not sure if we had a third-place truck, but probably around there. Just a solid day. Joe (Shear Jr.) made a great pit call. We were able to jump a lot of guys on pit road there right before that caution came out. It was great timing and a good call by Joe. We had some shaky pit stops, we got behind on track position, and that got us back in the game. Overall, solid day for us. Got to be close to the points lead? A good day. Just have to keep top-fiving them and getting stage points into the summer months.”


BEN RHODES, No. 99 Farm Paint Ford F-150 (Finished 10th) - WHAT HAPPENED LATE IN THE RACE? “Driveshaft just came right out of it going into Turn 19 on the last lap. Thankful it happened there, or we may not have even finished. But, still a bummer. I felt it kind of coming apart with two [laps] to go, and I wasn’t sure at that point what it was. But, one to go I started feeling some pretty noticeable issues, so I coasted as much as I could, and gave up as much time as I could to Ty Majeski behind me. I thought I was managing the gap OK, but then I come out of Turn 18, the carousel, and I believe – how I recall it – as I loaded up pretty hard and hit the chip, that’s right when it broke. But I have to go back and watch the camera. It kind of caught me off guard and took my attention elsewhere.”


WAS THERE A CONCERN YOU WOULDN’T EVEN BE ABLE TO MAKE IT BACK? “Yeah, I was really worried actually. Watching the big hill come up to me and getting slower and slower, I didn’t think I was going to make it. I’m just watching trucks fly past. That was just an absolute heartbreaker, really. I know everybody on our team, we set ourselves up for a good finish with the pit-stops because we knew we didn’t have the short run speed that the other trucks did. But the truck held on for pace really well at the end. The bummer is I think we only got nine on stage points, and we gave up those stage points to try to get a good finish. It just completely bites us and turns into a bad points day overall.”


IS THERE SOME POSITIVE? “My team’s had great speed, and that’s the way that we need to take this. That’s the absolute attitude that we need to have. It’s very easy to focus on the negative… I tend to do that myself actually. The good news is that our crew chief, Jared, who has done a great job leading the team and keeping everybody happy. Making sure that we’re all in the right frame of mind. I think that’s one of his strong suits. He’ll find the silver lining. He already told me, ‘Good thing it busted out in the last corner.’ I said, ‘I’m just mad it busted at all.’ He is just happy as can be that the truck ran good the whole race and it happened at the proper timing to still get 10th. He has a good attitude. I’ll work on mine a little bit.”


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