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JULIUS CURRY FORMS CRAFTSMAN TRUCK TEAM: Former NFL star Julius Curry has teamed with EQ Smart Energy Drink and driver Chase Montgomery to form a NASCAR Craftsman Truck team scheduled to compete in at least 10 races this season, including...

JULIUS CURRY FORMS CRAFTSMAN TRUCK TEAM: Former NFL star Julius Curry has teamed with EQ Smart Energy Drink and driver Chase Montgomery to form a NASCAR Craftsman Truck team scheduled to compete in at least 10 races this season, including tonight's John Deere 200. It is the only African-American-owned race team currently in NASCAR.

"I didn't want to do a lot of press releases and not get on track like a lot of other people have done," Curry said. "We wanted to come out ready to compete."

Montgomery drove Curry's Dodge to 19th place in Daytona, before the team had joined forces with EQ Smart Energy Drink. Curry said the partnership was a natural fit because of their mutual aspirations.

"We're looking forward to bringing together a diverse ethnic culture," said Theresa Chen, marketing director of EQ Smart Energy Drink. "We believe the synergy of our team with Julius and Chase will embrace a new, younger culture."

The team also plans to run at least five NASCAR Busch races this season, with the goal of racing the Busch Series full-time in 2007.

"I've been through a lot of ups and downs the last few years, but I'm real optimistic about this situation, and I think we've built a real quality race team," Montgomery said. "My goal is to get back in the Busch ranks and then Cup, and Julius has a game plan mapped out to make that real easy."

CROCKER CELEBRATES BIRTHDAY WITH MEDIA: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Rookie of the Year candidate Erin Crocker, driver of the No. 98 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge, had an early 25th birthday celebration with the media on Friday as her sponsor handed out birthday cupcakes. She was also celebrating the 100th Craftsman Truck race in which a female has competed.

"We've had a slow start this year, but I'm a rookie, and I'm making big gains," Crocker said. "I'm looking at improving and getting better through the whole season. Obviously I want to win and get Top 10 every race, but I try not to set goals. I just want to improve."

Crocker has finished 27th in each of the first two races this season.

-ams

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Chase Montgomery , Erin Crocker