This Week in Ford Racing October 25, 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Ricky Craven, driver of the No. 99 Ford F-150, added his name to the annals of NASCAR with his Craftsman Truck Series victory last weekend at Martinsville Speedway.
This Week in Ford Racing
October 25, 2005
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Ricky Craven, driver of the No. 99 Ford F-150, added his name to the annals of NASCAR with his Craftsman Truck Series victory last weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Craven became the 15th driver to win a race in all three of NASCAR's major touring series. Craven, who earlier announced his intentions to split with Roush Racing at the conclusion of the 2005 season, spoke about the significance of his win and his future racing plans.
RICKY CRAVEN-No. 99-Superchips Ford F-150
HOW IMPORTANT WAS IT FOR YOU TO WIN A TRUCK SERIES RACE THIS YEAR? "We needed it pretty bad. But, I think that might have been working against us. It was certainly working against me. At about mid-year I started thinking about it, and it took a little longer than I expected it. Maybe I had expected more and started pressing a little more, and when you do that it usually leads to trouble. But, the three weeks off helped. I know it helped me personally. I think it was good for the team and I because it gave us a chance to start over, and we went to Martinsville and tested. It was the first test that we've had on a NASCAR track together with John Quinn (crew chief) and Jeff Kirkendall (team engineer), and that just made a big difference. Then we formed a plan and John called me last Sunday, and he had a plan for the race and when he wanted to pit, and we stuck to our plan. He did an excellent job. He deserves a lot of credit and the team deserves a lot of credit for sticking through the tough times. Now we have something that is priceless, which is a little momentum."
HAVING ANNOUNCED YOUR INTENTION TO LEAVE ROUSH RACING AT THE END OF THE SEASON, HOW MUCH DOES LAST WEEK'S WIN HELP YOUR STOCK? "It's day and night. I really don't even want to think of the prospect of going a year with Roush Racing in the truck series and not winning. That would have been very disappointing, but thankfully we don't have to think about it. I'm quite proud of having won in the three NASCAR divisions. That's pretty cool."
FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF WINNING IN ALL THREE NASCAR DIVISIONS? "It's nice. It's more important to me that we won. All of the other stuff is secondary and you think about it later, but having thought about it and having read about it, it is nice because, to me, in the last couple days I guess I sort of put it in perspective for me. I have been doing this for a while, and it's kind of cool to think that I've won in each of the three divisions because everybody that's ever done this knows that it is tough to win any one of the divisions, period. Having done it in all three is pretty cool."
HAS YOUR PHONE STARTED RINGING WITH OFFERS TO DRIVE NEXT SEASON? "If I said my phone was ringing off the hook, I would be referring to relatives and friends calling. I've had some calls and I've had some discussions and there's certainly something that interests me, but I'm going to balance that with the fact that I've got a job to do and that I've got four races left, and it's real important for the team and real important for me to finish the right way and Martinsville was a step in the right direction."
WILL YOU WAIT UNTIL THE END OF THE SEASON TO ANNOUNCE NEXT YEAR'S PLANS? "If I were comfortable, I would do that now, but I'm just not there. There is something that interests me, but there are a lot of people that I need to communicate with, and I have an allegiance to Ford and they've been awfully good to me, so there is some work that needs to be done. It was a really big relief to win."
ARE YOU LOOKING AT SIGNING A LONG-TERM DEAL, OR WOULD YOU BE HAPPY SIGNING A ONE-YEAR DEAL? "Actually, I'd be more comfortable doing a one-year deal for three or four years. I'm not hung up on being tied down with a long-term contract; that's not what I'm looking at. I'm looking at being productive and hooking up with the right people and enjoying however many years I have left. I think that's reasonable."
FORD DRIVERS HAVE WON TWO OF THE LAST THREE TRUCK RACES WITH WINS AT NEW HAMPSHIRE AND MARTINSVILLE, BUT HOW DOES THAT STACK UP TO THE OTHER MANUFACTURERS AT THE MILE-AND-HALF VENUES? "They absolutely have a shot at winning at all four of the tracks. The Fords have run well at the mile-and-a-half tracks, and Todd (Kluever) had a strong second-place finish out at Kansas, so the potential is certainly there. I feel like we can win at Atlanta, and I feel like Todd and Rick (Crawford), along with the 10 truck can win. Terry Cook ran awfully strong out at Kentucky and blew a right-front tire The great thing for us right now is that there's a big difference between going into the last four races believing you can win and going into the last four races having already won, and that's what we're going to key on."
NOW THAT YOU GOT YOUR FIRST TRUCK SERIES WIN UNDER YOUR BELT, CAN YOU GO OUT AND ENJOY THESE LAST FOUR RACES? "What's amazing is that I enjoyed last week. If you talked to Quinn and talked to the guys, we had more fun, we enjoyed ourselves and were more relaxed last week since we've been together. I think all of that worked in our favor. To your point, yes, I can, but believe it or not it started last week."