Crash Eliminates Chances Of Daytona Win For Cook, HT Motorsports Terry Cook avoided a couple of major incidents that occurred right in front of him during the early stages of the season-opening NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Daytona ...
Crash Eliminates Chances Of Daytona Win For Cook, HT Motorsports
Terry Cook avoided a couple of major incidents that occurred right in front of him during the early stages of the season-opening NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway Friday evening. Unfortunately, it was the wreck behind him that ended his chances of winning.
"All it takes is a little nudge to turn you around and put you into the wall," said Cook after contact from behind crashed his Melling Engine Parts Toyota Tunrda out of the race on Lap 61 of the 100-circuit event. "We were being patient all night long, using our heads and racing to be in a position to win or finish well at the end. I'm personally dejected and heartbroken for the guys on this HT Motorsports crew who worked so hard for months to give me an awesome race truck. It was definitely not the way we had planned on ending the night."
Cook spent the early portion of the event racing his No. 59 HT Motorsports Toyota from the back of the pack after starting shotgun on the 36-truck field. The Sylvania, OH driver qualified seventh for the event with a time of 50.830 seconds (177.060 miles per hour), but had to start in the back after his team was forced to make post-time trial adjustments to his truck.
"We pushed about a gallon of water out of the radiator during qualifying," Cook stated. "Because it was an impound race, the rules state that if you have to make any mechanical adjustments after qualifying, you start in the back. While we would have preferred to start up front with the rest of the fast trucks, we weren't too worried about starting in back because we knew we could draft back up to the front."
Cook did just that, narrowly missing a couple of early crashes en route to a key pit stop on Lap 51.
"Danny Rollins called a great race," said Cook of his HT Motorsports crew chief. "We were running well, but it was pretty hard to pass back in the pack. Danny got us track position with a call to take only two tires on that pit stop. That got us up to the front and we had an opportunity to race the eventual winner Jack Sprague and the rest of the front-running trucks for the lead."
Running fourth on the restart, Cook rocketed his Tundra to the top groove and immediately challenged Sprague for the top spot. A handful of laps later, the potential winning effort literally went up in smoke as contact from behind off Turn 4 shoved Cook's Toyota head on into the retaining wall. The impact crushed the front of the truck, which erupted into a large fireball as it slid through the tri-oval area of the 2.5-mile Daytona track.
Cook was able to safely exit thevehicle without any injuries as it slid to a stop on the track apron at the start/finish line, but his shot a victory was now little more than a pile of twisted, smoldering metal. Cook was officially credited with 27th in the final event finishing order. The result marked just the second time in eight Daytona Truck Series events that he had finished outside the Top-10.
[Terry%20Head%20300.jpg] "The outside line was working for us and we were solidly in the Top-10," said Cook. "That's where we wanted to be. We were just pacing ourselves waiting for the last 20 laps and a chance to race for the win. Unfortunately, we never got to that point."
As mentioned, Sprague won the race in front of fellow Toyota driver Johnny Benson, Jr. Travis Kvapil, Mike Skinner and Todd Bodine completed the top-5 finishers in a event that was slowed seven times by caution flags totaling 34 of the 100 laps contested.
"While were disappointed with the results here, it's done and we have to move on, " said Cook. "Daytona is a great race and we would have loved to have a better result, but it's just one of 25 that we are going to run this season. We'll just get ready for California now and do the best we can there."
Cook and his HT Motorsports team will head for California Speedway where they will compete in the San Bernardino County 200 this Friday, February 23. The event on the 2.0-mile Fontana, CA oval will take the green flag at 9 p.m. Eastern Time. The race will be telecast live on The SPEED Channel. The event will also be broadcast worldwide on the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius Satellite Radio.