This Week in Ford Racing June 1, 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Rick Crawford, driver of the No. 14 F-150, has climbed back into the championship race following a frightful accident at Atlanta Motor Speedway in mid-March. With a ...
This Week in Ford Racing
June 1, 2004
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Rick Crawford, driver of the No. 14 F-150, has climbed back into the championship race following a frightful accident at Atlanta Motor Speedway in mid-March. With a seventh-place finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway two weeks ago, Crawford vaulted to third in the point standings, 177 points out of the lead. The truck series makes its return to Dover Downs Speedway this weekend for the MBNA America 200, the venue where Crawford earned his first career pole in 2002.
RICK CRAWFORD -14-Circle Bar Motel & RV Park Ford F-150
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO BE SUCCESSFUL AT DOVER?
"I like Dover International Speedway. I'm excited about going there, but the feel you want, you want that vehicle to make your job a little easier. When you've got somebody like Ray Stonkus setting it up, and this is one of his favorite race tracks and it's always one of my favorite race tracks ever since I started here because it reminds me so much of where I grew up, that I like running here. When you get the feel, balance and performance, it makes it easier. We've got Ray back with us this weekend, and this is the place we made our first truck series start together, so hopefully we can find that magic again."
HOW MUCH DOES EXPERIENCE PLAY A FACTOR AT DOVER?
"It does at any race track. The more experience you have, the better you are. Quality experience, let me put it that way. What we have in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is quality experience. I've said it time and time again, before my racing career is over I'd love to run Winston Cup. But, I'm really content in running truck series, one, because of the boss I have and the team I'm driving for, but it seems like to me the guys that raced Cup are coming back to race with me. I'm having a lot of fun driving in the truck series."
YOU ARE RUNNING A SPECIAL SEARS "GOOD LIFE, GREAT RACE" PAINT SCHEME FOR THE NEXT THREE RACES, BUT YOU OTHERWISE DON'T HAVE A PRIMARY SPONSOR. HOW DIFFICULT IS THAT TO ACCEPT WHEN YOU'RE A CONSISTENT TOP-FIVE TEAM?
"I'm really proud to be running the Sears paint scheme for the next three races. Our team has something to sell. We have something to represent - a good corporate image - and we're still going to be here tomorrow. We'll be here till the end of the year and then some. We're pretty excited about some prospects, but Tom Mitchell is going to keep this team racing, and hopefully with results that we have and our sales force here, we can find a full-time sponsor pretty quick to represent. Once you have that, I think you have that full team going and that adds a lot to a race team. You want to not only have that American flag flying down the side of the truck, but when you have that corporate image and you're representing a corporation, trying to sell a product, that's satisfying, too."
HAS THE LACK OF A PRIMARY SPONSOR FOR THE LAST TWO SEASONS AFFECTED THE DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS?
"We're business as usual, but there are small things. You get everything you need, but there are things that you want that you have to tighten your belt up on. Nobody has been laid off, and we're business as usual, but we're watching things pretty close to be racing longer. We're surely not skimping on performance. We moved into a new shop in Concord this year, Alan Kulwicki's old shop, and we think there's still some championship-winning magic in these walls."
YOU'VE BEEN A REGULAR COMPETITOR IN THE TRUCK SERIES SINCE 1997. HAS THE SERIES UNDERDONE A METAMORPHOSIS IN THE PAST FEW SEASONS WITH VETERAN DRIVERS GARNERING MORE OF THE ATTENTION?
"I think what's probably changed the truck series is, one, media attention, and, two, NASCAR attention. One of the often-asked questions year to year was: 'Mike Skinner is gone, do you feel like you have a shot at the championship?' Then it was: 'Sprague is gone, is it going to make it any easier?' Well, look through the garage and you'll see those guys have come back to the truck series, and then look at the guys who replaced Biffle, Busch and Hornaday, and, no, it hasn't got any easier. It's tough. We have a great race team and a lot of great equipment to win a championship. We know how to run for one and hopefully we're around at the end."