Daytona: Terry Cook preview

Cook, HT Motorsports Toyota Looking For Another Top-10 NASCAR Truck Series Daytona Finish MARTINSVILLE, VA (February 8, 2007) -- With six Top-10 finishes in seven NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts at Daytona International Speedway, you'd have...

Cook, HT Motorsports Toyota Looking For Another Top-10 NASCAR Truck Series Daytona Finish

MARTINSVILLE, VA (February 8, 2007) -- With six Top-10 finishes in seven NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts at Daytona International Speedway, you'd have to say Terry Cook knows the secret to getting around the 2.5-mile Florida superoval.

"For me, the key is understanding my surroundings for the entire race," said Cook, who will pilot the No. 59 HT Motorsports Melling Engine Parts Toyota Tunda in this year's Truck Series opener at Daytona on Friday, February 16. "Daytona is a long race -- 100 laps, 250 miles. From lap 1 to 100, you have to know what is going on around you every lap, every second. If you can do that, you can consistently finish well at Daytona."

Cook has understood how to go fast at Daytona since finishing fourth in the 2000 inaugural Truck Series event there. Four additional Top-10 runs - including a Bud Pole as the event's fastest qualifier and a fifth-place finish in 2004 - followed before a 20th-place finish broke the string of top runs in 2005.

Last year at Daytona, the Sylvania, OH driver struggled in qualifying pushing off 31st before rallying for a 10th-place finish. In his seven Daytona starts, Cook owns an eighth-place finishing average.

Despite all the success, Cook still laments the Daytona 'one that got away.'

"I like racing at Daytona and I've been fortunate to have some good finishes there," said Cook, shown left with crew chief Danny Rollins. "I really thought I was going to win the 2003 race. I was second at the white flag and first coming off the second turn. Things really got shuffled around and I wound up ninth. It's pretty tough to take when you have a win at Daytona swept away from you three-quarters of a lap short of Victory Lane."

When the Truck Series garage opens at Daytona this year, Cook will find himself behind the wheel of a potent new Toyota Tundra fielded by HT Motorsports. A veteran of 240 career Truck Series starts, Cook likes his chances of scoring career victory number seven in this year's Daytona 250-mile test.

"It's the first race of the year and there's a lot of hype because it's Daytona," said Cook. "It should be that way because it is Daytona and a win here would make any driver's career. Based on our initial pre-season team test at Daytona and our second test at Homestead, I think our Tunda is going to be real fast. I like Daytona and I think we definitely have a shot at winning.

"On the other hand, Daytona is just one of 25 races we are going to run this season," Cook concluded. "It pays the same amount of points as Mansfield will later in the season. We're looking at the big picture. It would be incredible to win at Daytona, but solid, top-10 run would be great for this team at the start of this season. Either way, we're feel like we can win and if not, finish well. I like our chances."

The No. 59 HT Motorsports Melling Engine Parts Toyota Tundra will open the 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season Friday, February 16 at Daytona (FL) International Speedway. The event will take the green flag at 8 p.m. Eastern Time and will be telecast live on The SPEED Channel.

-credit: ht motorsports

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Terry Cook