Rick Crawford, driver of the No. 14 Circle Bar Motel & RV Park F-150, won his first career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series pole in 132 attempts as part of this weekend's MBNA America 200 at Dover International Speedway. Friday will also mark ...
Rick Crawford, driver of the No. 14 Circle Bar Motel & RV Park F-150, won his first career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series pole in 132 attempts as part of this weekend's MBNA America 200 at Dover International Speedway. Friday will also mark Crawford's 132nd consecutive start in truck series competition, the longest active streak of any competitor in the series.
RICK CRAWFORD-14-Circle Bar Motel & RV Park Ford F-150 (Qualified 1st)
YOU POSTED THE FASTEST TIME EARLY IN QUALIFYING LAST YEAR ONLY TO HAVE SCOTT RIGGS BEAT YOU AT THE END. DO YOU THINK THIS TIME COULD HOLD UP FOR YOUR FIRST CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES POLE? "We've got to wait 30 more trucks for somebody to best us. It's beatable, but the Circle Bar Motel & RV Ford was good. Ray Stonkus set this thing up and this is one of my favorite places to race - The Monster Mile. The Ernie Elliott engine under the hood has been fast since we unloaded and that's the sign of a championship-caliber team. To bring a truck here that is fast and you don't have to work on it all day, that shows the strength of the Circle Bar team and I'm proud of them. It makes it easy for me to do my job. All I have to do is mash the gas because I realize what's under me. It's a great time, but it can be beat."
YOU ALWAYS TO SEEM TO QUALIFY WELL ON THE CONCRETE RACE TRACKS. "I just like this place. It's like Darlington, they say that's the toughest track on the Winston Cup circuit and this is the second. Those are the places I want to race. I only want to race where it's the toughest; I want the biggest challenge. That's what makes a race car driver."
IT'S SUNNY AND HOT TODAY, BUT IF THE CLOUDS COME OUT TOMORROW, HOW WILL THAT AFFECT THE TRACK? "The clouds will help the race track tomorrow. I understand that it will five or six degrees hotter and that will hurt the grip a little bit because the tires we have here are hard, but it still will make for an exciting race. These trucks are fine-tuned. It can be a fine-tuning either way, loose or tight, but I've got the best in the business right here."
TERRY COOK-29-Power Stroke Diesel Ford F-150 (Qualified 4th)
YOU BACKED UP THE TIME YOU POSTED IN THE SECOND PRACTICE SESSION. "We really did. The truck has been extremely fast since we unloaded. That will definitely get us a good, solid top-10, I hope. We really wanted to see a top-five starting effort, but we're probably lacking about a tenth, tenth-and-a-half from the pole speed, and I'm not really sure where to get it. You always second-guess yourself, but I think that maybe if we had a little less gear, we may have been a little bit better. It seemed like we kind of ran out of motor on the straightaways. It doesn't have anything to do with the motor, it's just gear selection. But again, I was part of the gear selection, so the only ones we can blame are ourselves. We've got a real good race truck, though. We unloaded it off the truck and it was stable, very comfortable to drive. You could put it pretty much anywhere. We put in a good qualifying lap, now it's time to go racing."
WAS YOUR FIRST QUALIFYING DRAW A DISADVANTAGE TODAY? "I don't see where it was a big disadvantage. If there had been another division here that ran with a different tire than us just before qualifying, it may have been a situation, but with us having just ended practice and with no one else on the track since, I don't see where it hurt us. The truck was really, really good through the corners. If anything, we may have qualified with a little too much gear, but that's the gear that we have to race with, so we're pretty pleased with the effort."
WITH PRACTICE, QUALIFYING AND HAPPY HOUR BEING SO CLOSE TOGETHER, HOW MUCH OF A QUALIFYING SETUP ARE YOU ABLE TO USE? "The bottom line is you have to get it driving good early in practice. If you can't get it where you're comfortable here, the driver is not going to be fast. Fortunately for us, the K-Automotive Power Stroke Diesel Ford has been very stable and very solid since we rolled off the trailer. We put it in our full qualifying package with new tires and taped up grille, and it was still very solid, so I'm very happy and very comfortable with where we're at right now."
TRENT OWENS-15-Dickies Ford F-150 (Qualified 18th)
"It's not too bad. This is my first time ever seeing the place, really. Other than the color of the track, it drives like asphalt. They say Bristol is a lot rougher than this, but I like it so far. We had a little bit of trouble with our qualifying setup, but I know we'll be good in the race."
YOUR STEPFATHER BARRY DODSON IS HERE THIS WEEKEND. HOW MUCH HAS HE HELPED YOU SO FAR? "He's been pretty big so far. He warned me of where the trouble spots were and told me to just get it qualified. With the number of trucks that are here, we've got a good truck and there's no need going out and taking a chance and having to pull the backup out. His experience in seeing cars tore up here kinda paid off because he told me what to watch out for."
IS HE A DRIVING COACH OR DOES HE HELP WITH THE SETUP OF THE TRUCK? "He brings more of the people skills to the team. We've got a lot of young guys, including me on the team and we tend to get frustrated really quick and he kinda slaps us back in line."
JON WOOD-50-U.S. Navy Racing Ford F-150 (Qualified 11th)
"That's not bad. We're decent and we've never been here before. This is a Winston Cup racer's track. If there's anywhere that a Cup driver has been that would benefit them, this is the place. We're just about eight hours of practice shy of being competitive, but all in all, we're not bad. I out-qualified everybody else that hasn't been here before. This is our first time here, and I consider myself a lot like the 4 (Brain Rose). He's in good equipment and he started racing n this series when I started. I out-qualified him, so I think we're on the right track for tomorrow."
WITH THE CONSOLIDATION OF THE TWO ROUSH TRUCK TEAMS INTO ONE, HOW MUCH HAS THAT HELPED YOU? "We started utilizing the one-team concept more recently, more so today than ever. I've got a great crew chief in Dan Binks, but he has a lot on his shoulders to keep up with the whole team like he does, so it's good that we have other people that are able to help him out in what he has to do. And, they allow him to take care of the things that he doesn't need to be worrying about on a weekly basis. We've got the best of the two teams working on the Navy Ford right now."
WHAT IS THE GAME PLAN FOR TOMORROW? "This is just like all of the other first-time tracks that I've been to this year. I just want a top-10. I really can't ask for anything more than that because I've never been to these places and don't know what to expect. You've got drivers like Setzer, Musgrave, Pressley and Leffler, those guys have been to a lot of places and it's hard to run with those people, Mike Bliss also. They have a lot of seat time and are in just as good of equipment as we are, so it makes it tough to be competitive with them at places that I've never been to. It's just going to take some time. The truck series isn't what it used to be two years ago. People have stepped it up and there's a lot more money flowing into these teams."