Rick Crawford, driver of the No. 14 Power Stroke Diesel by Int'l Ford F-150, held a Q&A session in the Atlanta Motor Speedway infield media center after the final practice for Saturday's EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200. YOU AND DAVID...
Rick Crawford, driver of the No. 14 Power Stroke Diesel by Int'l Ford F-150, held a Q&A session in the Atlanta Motor Speedway infield media center after the final practice for Saturday's EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200.
YOU AND DAVID STARR HAVE HAD PRETTY GOOD YEARS AND HE EVEN FINISHED IN FRONT OF YOU FOR THE FIRST TIME LAST WEEK. "It's been a welcome at times with a two-truck team, and sometimes it's been a headache for both myself and Kevin Starland, our crew chief, but the future of Circle Bar Racing is with International and Power Stroke Diesel with the MAXX Force brand also with International. To have both of these trucks running in the top five is a credit to Circle Bar Racing and all of its employees. To have David creeping up on the top 10 in the points with the 14 truck maybe looking at a top five in the points, and I'm not counting out -- we all know who we have running first and second in points -- so anything can happen there. It's gonna be exciting down to the wire."
YOUR SON, ADAM, IS RACING NOW. WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON HOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED FROM WHEN YOU STARTED? "I hope it's going the same direction for Adam as when I started, but Adam is driving equipment that is 10 years ahead of my equipment, which that's the evolution of how racing has changed. When I grew up, you had to prove yourself somewhere on a short track throughout the United States. You had to get on television for an owner to see you and it took me until 1991 to actually meet Tom Mitchell and to actually springboard in 1997 over to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to actually have a future in racing that you could have a job. I've been with that company for 16 years and I'm pretty proud of that, but the evolution of racing has changed for what we call rookies. The racing venues they can run at when they're 10, 11, 12 years old, I know my son Adam started racing Bandolero cars when he was 11 years old, I started in go-karts and things like that, but there are just many ways to improve your skills of auto racing and your car control. There are many driving schools and when kids get to 14, 15, 16 years old now, they're capable just like the Busch brothers. You look at Joey Logano today. There are a lot of youngsters out there that have car control, but I have to give it to the veterans too. Look at how many race starts the top five in the points in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series have. Look at the names up at the top of the Busch Series and at the top of the Cup Series, so from that standpoint, don't give away experience either."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE VETERANS IN NASCAR NOW AND YOUR THOUGHTS ON TEXAS NEXT WEEK? "We've seen in the truck series that if you have a hot gun there and a youngster coming into the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, the reason he's not called a veteran is because he doesn't stay there very long. We've had rookies come in like Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick. I can name quite a few that came in and drove vehicles for Richard Childress, Dale Earnhardt, Jack Roush and, all of a sudden, 'we're going to the Busch Series.' They didn't have time to become a veteran in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, and now they're veterans in Cup. Then when you stay in Cup for awhile and you get tired of that mess, then you see the veterans over there coming back to the truck series where we can have some more fun. The door didn't open for me over there and I'm just enjoying the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and I wouldn't take anything for that."
TEXAS IS SPECIAL FOR YOU. "Yeah, Ozona, Texas -- Circle Bar Truck Corral. Texas is really Circle Bar Racing's home race track. I look at Talladega now being the home race track for Rick Crawford, but for Tom Mitchell, I hate to say, I think we have a truck capable of winning here tomorrow. I'd hate to say I'd trade tomorrow for Texas, but I'm not. I'm gonna go ahead and win tomorrow and then we'll be ready to win Texas, too. If you had a trade off, I'd really like to win Texas for Mr. Mitchell."
YOUR THOUGHTS ON OPEN WHEEL DRIVERS COMING INTO NASCAR LIKE JACQUES VILLENEUVE? "I'd say he adds a lot of experience to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. I know that the viewing audience has grown since you have Dario Franchitti and Jacques Villeneuve and especially when some of the Cup stars come over and race with us on weekends during conjunction events. But his experience, just like Dario's, is phenomenal. I mean, how do you write a resume like that? You've accomplished everything and to have somebody with that much experience racing beside you, in front of you, behind you -- just in the same race competing with you, I think it raises the bar with the fans and it also raises the bar with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. And it just shows the competition level we have here in NASCAR as a whole."
HOW HARD IS IT TO KEEP YOUR CONFIDENCE AS A DRIVER IF YOU'RE NOT WINNING? "Confidence is a big factor. Making accomplishments on the race track is a big factor also. Running up front means a lot. If a driver is not running up front in the Busch Series, he's gonna lose that confidence. He's gonna feel like he's gonna get beat week in and week out. You've got to get out of hole, but nowadays I look at it like with the car they're running in Cup, which they're gonna run in 2008 -- that car of tomorrow -- I think it favors the reaction of a truck. It doesn't favor the reaction of a Busch car and I just feel like, number one, you've got money, you've got people, you've also got great drivers, but you've got money and you've got people floating down from the Cup Series to enhance your Busch Series, so that's why you see a lot of Cup drivers winning in the Busch Series because they all get better notes. I can't say enough for Ford Motor Company and especially the F-Series pickup that I do drive in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and everything they've done to help bring on the development of the car of tomorrow and the safety programs they have with John Force Racing, but let me add one more thing. We lost a dear friend to NASCAR yesterday in Joe Collins. I'd just like for everyone to acknowledge him."
-credit: ford racing