Richmond, VA - The ...
Richmond, VA - The #14 Milwaukee Electric Tool race team rolled into the ¾ mile Richmond International Raceway in need of a good run to pull them out of their recent slump. However, handling problems relegated the team to their third disappointing finish in the last four races.
Driver, Rick Crawford, and the entire Circle Bar Racing crew have been in need of some good luck. On Thursday night they got the luck they needed by missing two multi-truck crashes. However, the handling problems that plagued them throughout the race would be the issue that sealed their fate.
"When it rains it pours" was the statement Crawford made when the team drew a 4th in the qualifying draw. The early run hampered the qualifying effort as the track cooled as all 47 trucks made their run. The #14 would start 19th in a field of 36 trucks for the Kroger 200.
From the start of the race until the first caution at lap 50, the truck was very loose. The team made several adjustments and took on right side tires and fuel during the first stop. Rick was able to move up to 14th place and made his second pit stop on lap 76 for left side tires.
The truck was still loose in the corners and whatever Rick gained on the competition on the straight-aways he lost in the turns. The team made more adjustments on the truck as the night went on, but never got it close enough to make a run at the leaders. Rick would have to ride it out and finish a disappointing 16th.
"We have not put up the numbers that we are capable of and have not had that run that we are capable of this season. We have been bitten in many ways this year so far, but tonight we just plain missed the setup. We brought a new truck here and finally had the motor, but the chassis was a little off and as tough as the competition is; when you are a little off, you finish 16th," stated driver, Rick Crawford.
The team now will have 10 days to prepare for the inaugural Craftsman Truck Race at Dover Downs. That race will mark the 100th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start for Crawford and for Circle Bar Racing.