Dover: Rick Crawford - NASCAR spotlight

Concrete and Crawford are hand-in-glove combination heading to Dover DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 2, 2004) -- Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar RV & Motel Ford) and concrete are made for each other. And -- no surprise -- Crawford can't wait to hit...

Concrete and Crawford are hand-in-glove combination heading to Dover

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 2, 2004) -- Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar RV & Motel Ford) and concrete are made for each other.

And -- no surprise -- Crawford can't wait to hit Dover International Speedway's one-mile banked concrete oval, host of Friday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series MBNA America 200.

Crawford never has won on concrete.

But he's come close enough to figure it's just a matter of time.

The winner of April's series event at Martinsville Speedway posted his first Bud Pole at Dover in 2002. He has finished third on two occasions, leading 182 laps.

Toss in Crawford's second and third-place finishes at the similarly configured Nashville Superspeedway (and a third at Bristol Motor Speedway, another concrete oval) and the 45-year-old Alabama native emerges as one of this week's favorites.

"The concrete connection is concrete tracks," said Crawford, who enters the season's sixth of 25 races third in the championship chase, 117 points behind leader Dennis Setzer (No. 46 Chevrolet Silverado Chevrolet). "I feel like my aggressive style can carry it off in the corner and it (concrete) welcomes a charging race car driver."

Crawford sees Dover as quite similar to Mobile International Speedway, the hometown track on which he began his racing career more than two decades ago where he won several late model championships. Crawford joined the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1997, and with 178 consecutive starts, is the division's iron man.

Dover thus was no mystery to Crawford and crew chief Ray Stonkus when the Delaware facility became part of the series in the fall of 2000. He finished third behind Roush Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Greg Biffle. Crawford failed to lead that race but has headed the field in each of his subsequent starts.

Stonkus, who was elevated to a management and R&D role with Circle Bar Racing earlier this year, will play a key role in preparing Crawford's Ford F-150 at Dover. He'll also be the team's crew chief.

The combination could make Crawford the first repeat winner of the 2004 season.

"Ray and I have that connection where he knows my style at that particular race track and I already know when I get there what I'm looking for," said Crawford, who has completed 802 of a possible 803 laps/miles at Dover. "Ray can sometimes see that in my eyes. We're both pretty aggressive when we get to the race track and I'm looking forward to going there."

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Dennis Setzer , Rick Crawford