This Week in Ford Racing March 14, 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Bobby East, driver of the No. 21 Ford F-150, is scheduled to make his 2006 Craftsman Truck Series debut this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. East, the son of...
This Week in Ford Racing
March 14, 2006
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Bobby East, driver of the No. 21 Ford F-150, is scheduled to make his 2006 Craftsman Truck Series debut this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. East, the son of legendary car builder Bob East, will take over the Wood Brothers/JTG Racing entry that was driven by Stacy Compton in the first two events of the season. East spoke about making his season debut at Atlanta and adapting to the trucks given his open-wheel background.
BOBBY EAST--21--State Fair Corn Dogs Ford F-150
YOU ARE SCHEDULED TO MAKE YOUR FIRST TRUCK SERIES START OF THE SEASON THIS WEEKEND IN ATLANTA. HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT TO WATCH THE FIRST TWO RACES OF THE SEASON? "We've got good trucks, but I don't like the fact that we're starting later than everyone else. That kind of puts everybody on the team behind the 8-ball just because I haven't gotten to go to these first two races where pretty much most of the other rookies have. They have two races under their belts already this year. That kind of hurts, but we're just going to have to overcome that. Of course, we didn't buy any points like some of the other new teams did, so we'll have our work cut out for us trying to get in the show, and I'm not thinking much farther past that. I've got to make the show. I'm pretty confident that we will. We'll have great motors, and we have good trucks, so if we make the show I'm just going to concentrate on running every lap and trying to get a decent finish."
YOU HAD A VETERAN IN STACY COMPTON DRIVE THE TRUCK IN THE FIRST TWO RACES. GIVEN HIS EXPERIENCE AND THE FACT THAT THIS WAS A NEW TEAM, DID IT HELP HAVING HIM IN THE TRUCK? "It was definitely good having him in the truck to tell us we were building them right, but that all got erased when the truck got wrecked on the last lap at California. That put us behind the 8-ball even more and the guys are just now getting that truck finished. Everybody in the fab shop does a great job, so I'm pretty confident that they'll be able to get the truck back to as good, or if not a little better, than it was for California. As a driver, it's tough to put a positive spin on sitting out races."
YOUR FATHER IS A CHASSIS BUILDER AND YOU GREW UP IN HIS SHOP KNOWING THE INS AND OUTS OF THE BEAST CHASSIS. HAVE YOU TAKEN THAT SAME ENTHUSIASM TO THE NEW WOOD BROTHERS/JTG RACING SHOP IN HARRISBURG, N.C.? I would say that I've definitely learned quite a bit more about the vehicles. I was fortunate enough to work with a good guy last year, Dan Deeringhoff, and he explained quite a bit to me as we were working together, but that was for a short period of time. My new crew chief, Gary Cogswell, and Fatback Michael McSwain, they've kind of taken me under their wings and helped me out and put up with me asking a question every five minutes. I've got to thank those guys for that, but I think they understand that the more I know about the trucks the better it will be for everybody. I've had fun learning about them. I guess that's about it. We haven't got to do any testing. We got to go to Rockingham for a half of a day, and that should help for Atlanta, but other than that, I haven't gotten any laps since Phoenix."
HAVE YOU HAD TO REASSESS YOUR GOALS SINCE YOU WILL ONLY BE COMPETING IN 23 RACES THIS SEASON? "I want to start off with consistent runs. I want to bring the trucks home in one piece, but later on down the road, I think we'll be looking for consistent top-10s. I might be setting it a little high, but I'd definitely like to visit victory lane this year."
YOUR FIRST START COMES AT ONE OF THE FASTEST TRACKS ON THE TRUCK SERIES CIRCUIT. DO YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS WITH THE HIGH SPEEDS AT ATLANTA? "A little bit. I don't have any laps on a mile-and-a-half, and as the schedule works out, the first one I go to is the fastest one on the circuit. That's got me a little concerned, but I've got good stuff, so my confidence in the F-150 is pretty high and that will help out. Learning about the vehicles this winter should also help shorten up my learning curve. All I can do is go out there and give it my best -- like everybody else does here in the shop -- and see if I can make the show."
WOULD YOU BE MORE COMFORTABLE AT A ONE-MILE TRACK TO START YOUR SEASON? "I'm a short-track racer. I grew up racing on the short tracks, but I'm glad that I get the chance to go to Atlanta. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about that, but I wouldn't mind having a mile track early in the year. But, it really doesn't matter. Whether it's a mile, a mile-and-a-half or two-mile track, the goal would be the same for this weekend -- make the show."