Atlanta: Ford teams race notes

MARK MARTIN-6-Scotts Ford F-150 "These things are awesome. I love this racing. This is the best racing. Congratulations to Todd. He did an awesome job, and he and his team made his stuff better. He was in the front when it ended. He's been ...

MARK MARTIN-6-Scotts Ford F-150

"These things are awesome. I love this racing. This is the best racing. Congratulations to Todd. He did an awesome job, and he and his team made his stuff better. He was in the front when it ended. He's been knocking every week, and I hope everybody is OK after that wreck. We were all right. We had a good truck, and I just want to thank Scotts, Ford and Roush Racing, and Mike Beam and all of these guys."

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ERIK DARNELL-99-Woolrich Ford F-150

"We weren't where we needed to be out there tonight. The thing was just bad loose right from the start. I figured it was going to tighten up out here - I think we all thought it was going to tighten up - and it didn't, and it was just bad loose and I had a hard time driving the thing. We fell back early and made some adjustments and got it a little bit better, but it was still all over the place."

IS IT DIFFICULT WHEN YOU'RE A ROOKIE AND YOU'RE IN THE MORNING, QUALIFYING IN THE AFTERNOON AND RACING AT NIGHT? "We need to learn how each track reacts and learn how the trucks react. This is my third race in a truck for Roush and we've got two top-10 finishes this year, so it's been a strong start. But, as good as we were in practice and as good as we were in qualifying, I think we had a better truck than where we ended up tonight."

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RICK CRAWFORD-14-Circle Bar Truck Corral Ford F-150

"I'm glad not to be meeting you in the infield care center and it feels good to finish 100 percent of the laps here at Atlanta. I love this place. I came here with my grandfather back when the old configuration was here. It was the first big race track I ever came to. I sure would like to win here, but a solid top-10 keeps this team in contention and we'll be fine."

HOW WERE THE TRACK CONDITIONS TONIGHT? "Like I told Tim with Roush-Yates engines, 'it ain't your fault.' We just missed the chassis a little bit. Robert Brooks, our Ford engineer, got us this far and the guys kept working on it making adjustments in the pits, and we'll take a top-10."

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JON WOOD-21-Duck Head Footwear Ford F-150

"This truck program is where it needs to be. To be three races in, and a start-up team, and not a Toyota in the truck series, I think we're doing everything we can. The odds are stacked against us with those guys. They pretty much get what they want and it shows on the race track. So, to outrun half of them is a pretty cool feeling."

YOU HAD AN EXTENDED PIT STOP MIDWAY THROUGH THE RACE. WHAT HAPPENED? "I just looked back and saw it (Romeo Window) flapping and I knew how important they were, so we just elected to come in and tape it up to make sure it wasn't an issue. It's a good thing it happened early in the race because I was able to bounce back from having to go to the tail end of the field. You really can't frown on a day like that. I was just holding on. We had an issue with the right-front tire, and I knew that I was pretty much a sitting duck and when that last caution came out. I knew it was going to be difficult. I ended up where I was going to end up. If that last caution had not come out, those two guys would have gotten by me and they're the only two that got by me anyway. Typical crash-filled truck race, but I guess I can end my truck series career with all four fenders."

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BOBBY EAST-20-State Fair Corn Dogs Ford F-150

"We're not real sure what happened. We're speculating that we might have had a shock go bad. We broke something on the whole left side of the exhaust about 40 to 50 laps into the run, and that wasn't helping us, but that wasn't our biggest problem. Our biggest problem was handling. We started off good, and even after the first pit stop we were good for about eight to 10 laps, and then it got real loose. We have to look everything over. It was all I could do to hang on, and our main goal was to finish. We're pretty disappointed with the finish, but we're glad it's going home in one piece."

DOES IT AT LEAST FEEL GOOD TO GET ONE START UNDER YOUR BELT THIS SEASON? "I honestly don't feel good about it. We're better than this and we just have to figure out if something happened, and if not, we have to figure out how to make sure we're good by the end of the race."

*** TERRY COOK-10-Ford Power Stroke Diesel by Int'l F-150

WAS THIS A TYPICAL ATLANTA FINISH? "It doesn't shock me. It seems like we get down to these green-white-checkered finishes and people just lose their heads. I'm not sure what started that whole mess up there, but we just got through it. We were fortunate to bring home a decent finish. We just struggled all day long. We were so loose and we couldn't get it tightened up where we needed to be. We're fighting a little bit of an aero issue - with our own trucks, and I don't think it's a Ford issue - and we know what to do to fix it and we're in the process of fixing it. Dennis Connor, our crew chief, promised me this will be the last race we have to bring a knife to a gun fight. I told him at least we brought a switchblade this week. Typical Atlanta night race. This place gets just so loose, at least our program did. When they dropped the green it was out of control loose, and I don't know if the rest of the field had the same problem I did, but I was white-knuckling all night long and had to run against the fence just to maintain decent lap times. Otherwise, we were so sideways that we were going to wreck all night long. We race here in the fall and it's usually tight, and when we race here in the spring it's usually loose."

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DAVID RAGAN-50-Roush Racing Ford F-150

YOU WERE PENALIZED FOR PITTING OUTSIDE YOUR PIT BOX. "We were pitting right in front of Mark and I tried to point the nose out so I could get around Ted. We had a pretty awesome pit crew tonight, and they got us out really fast, but I just got the nose a little too far out and my right front was over the line and they penalized us. That hurt us, and when you're down a lap you have to have respect for the leaders and to the lead-lap guys. That hurt us at times. We learned a lot tonight and I'm sure we could have run a little bit better if we were a little more prepared, but it was still a good run. We got the truck in one piece and we'll come back. I got a little bit of seat time and I'm getting back in the rhythm of things. We don't expect to run like this every week. We're going to be a top-10, top-15 team, and over the next few weeks we'll get a little better. It's been a while, and other than a Legend car and testing a little bit, it's been about eight months since I raced anything. It feels good to get back in the seat and go through some pit stops and long, green-flag runs. I have a lot to work on. I know I have the team and the equipment that can win races, I just got to get where we communicate well and understand each other. It was a good run and I was glad to come here and race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but I'm already looking forward to going to Martinsville."

-ford racing

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Series NASCAR Truck