This Week in Ford Racing
Rick Crawford, driver of the No. 14 Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford F-150, finished second in last year's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Race at Talladega, just .014 seconds behind race winner Todd Bodine. Crawford, who is from Mobile, Ala., talks about improving his finishing position by one this weekend at his home track. Crawford sits sixth in overall points standings with six races remaining this season.
LAST YEAR WE SAW A THREE-WAY PHOTO FINISH AT TALLADEGA. YOU WERE JUST A WHEEL BEHIND TODD BODINE AT THE CHECKERED FLAG. "Last year's race was a lot of fun. I depend on my Ford F-150 and it came out second to Todd Bodine. I've lived that moment over and over and over throughout the year and thought about what you would do different and how you would plan yourself a little better to do what you need to do. For a long time, I thought I did everything I could do. Then this year, I think if the same scenario comes out, I hope I win because I'm going to change it up just a little bit. The same thing could happen and, in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't a four-wide finish this year or if you had enough room for five. It could be even closer. I'm just looking forward to going to Talladega. It's a home race track and my home state. We're still in the points picture. A smart race is needed, so a good finish is needed."
WILL THE ADDED SPACER CHANGE THE RACING? "I don't know if you could get it any closer than it already is. I don't know if you could get a finish at Talladega any closer than we had last year. I think a lot of patience is going to be served on Saturday in order to have a good finish or even to finish. So having a lot of patience and being aggressively smart toward the end."
WITH THE HIGH BANKS AND HIGH SPEEDS OF TALLADEGA, DO YOU FOCUS MORE ON RACING THE TRACK OR RACING THE COMPETITION? "The race track is a given with the new pavement that they put on Talladega. You've got a lot of grip. The thing to do is a 200-mile-an-hour chess match. You just have to put yourself in the right position and hope the Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International can put itself in the top five and make a move there toward the end and pull out a victory."
IN THE TWO TRUCK RACES AT TALLADEGA, BOTH HAVE BEEN WON FROM THE POLE. HOW DOES THAT PLAY INTO THE 200-MILE-AN-HOUR CHESS MATCH? "Having a pole truck adds to the confidence. Todd Bodine put himself in a position to win the race at the right time with track position and so forth. The pole-winning truck has to be a strong race truck. That added a lot of confidence to that, so that means it was hard to pass at the end - even with the draft selection happening behind him. I think last year we started in the mid- 20s and didn't stay there very long. My Ford F-Series pick up was running from the green flag because we thought we had a fast truck also, especially in race trim, and I think that will hold true for this year. Having a pole- winning truck surely is an advantage to speed, especially when you're out front."
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO YOU, AN ALABAMA NATIVE, TO WIN AT TALLADEGA? "That would mean quite a bit. It's a special place for me. It was my first superspeedway race that I've ever watched. I watched the opening race there with my grandfather, father and uncle, and that was a special day for me. I never dreamed to ever race there, but the dreams kept getting closer and closer. Finally, NASCAR decided to put the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at Talladega and I think it's something the fans have been wanting and Talladega race track has been wanting and I think most of the drivers wanted to go there. I think it will be an exciting day Saturday afternoon, especially if I was in victory lane."
-credit: ford racing