Craftsman Truck Series qualifying was briefly delayed today as passing showers moved through the St. Louis area shortly before the scheduled 2:00 p.m. CDT qualifying session. Qualifying for Sunday's 200-mile race began at shortly after 2:30 p.m.,...
Craftsman Truck Series qualifying was briefly delayed today as passing showers moved through the St. Louis area shortly before the scheduled 2:00 p.m. CDT qualifying session. Qualifying for Sunday's 200-mile race began at shortly after 2:30 p.m., and amid 80-degree temperatures and dark, cloud-filled skies, 36 drivers circled the 1.25-mile Gateway International Raceway for their one-lap qualifying runs. With the 36-truck field decided among 36 entries, all of the competitors qualified for tomorrow's 160-lap event. Eight Fords will be on the starting grid for the race, which has a scheduled start time of 3:00 p.m. CDT.
TERRY COOK-29-K Automotive Ford F-150 (Qualified 2nd)
THAT WAS A SOLID RUN.
"Have you ever been disappointed qualifying second? We really can't be that disappointed because we picked up two tenths of a second from our simulated run in practice. But man, we really wanted the pole. We put in the synthetic oils, we did what we had to do to get the pole, but it looks like we just missed it by a little bit. They're still qualifying, but I don't think anyone else will be able to run that fast. All I can is that K-Automotive Ford is strong; we had a great piece. I would rather be standing here disappointed that we didn't win pole than happy if we qualified 10th. Anytime you can be disappointed and start on the front row is a pretty good day."
YOU MUST BE HAPPY THAT THE RAIN HELD OFF?
"I am. We were sitting there praying it wouldn't rain because we had a shot at the pole. Anytime you have a truck that you think can sit on the pole, you want to take advantage of it and give it a try, so we were sure glad that it held off and got qualifying in. I can guarantee you one think, you have one stout race truck."
THIS IS A TRACK THAT VETERANS SEEM TO DOMINATE.
"It's a driver's track. It's a track where you have to roll through (Turns) 3 and 4 at a high rate of speed, but you still have to be under control and finesse (Turns) 1 and 2. The K-Automotive Ford is just rolling through the corners awesome, and we had an Ernie Elliott motor that is just powering down the straightaways. We've got a really good overall package and I think that's the biggest part where veteran drivers like myself seem a little bit better. You need a lot of laps at Gateway International, and I have a lot of those."
MICHAEL DOKKEN-31-Brevak Racing Ford F-150 (Qualified 24th)
YOU PICKED UP A FIVE TENTHS OF AS SECOND FROM YOUR PRACTICE TIME PRACTICE.
"The Brevak Ford was running good. We were a little behind on the start and that may have shown on the practice sheet. We knew that we had a good truck, it was just a matter of getting it set up for this track. If I can hit my spots a little better, I think we will be even better tomorrow. I slipped in Turn 2 a little bit. The truck was tight and I got on the gas too soon trying to go a little faster."
HAS THE CLOUD COVER MADE THE TRACK EVEN FASTER?
"It probably has. It usually does, but I haven't that many laps on this track. That probably helped us pick us from practice, just getting used to this place."
NATHAN HASELEU-99-Roush Performance Ford F-150 (Qualified 15th)
"That wasn't bad, but not quite good enough for this team. It wasn't that bad, but we'll just put the race setup underneath it and go from there. We're getting better and each run we make we get closer on the setup for Gateway. We're still a little bit off, but that's why we have Happy Hour."
DID ANY OF YOUR TESTING THIS PAST MONTH HELP SPECIFICALLY AT THIS TRACK?
"We didn't test anywhere that's similar to Gateway, but I think just being in the truck and truck time is going to help out as the season goes by."
THIS PLACE USUALLY ISN'T TOO KIND TO ROOKIES?
"No, but I've been here a couple of times, so hopefully that will be an advantage come tomorrow. We'll see."
WHAT THE TRICK TO GETTING AROUND HERE?
"I don't know quite yet, you'll have to ask one of the fast guys."
DO YOU HAVE TO SACRIFICE YOUR QUALIFYING SETUP KNOWING THAT HAPPY HOUR IS IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING QUALIFYING?
"I don't think so. What you have to do is be prepared for Happy Hour and know your race setup before you even qualify so that you can turn around the truck in time. Our race setup isn't far off from our qualifying setup, so it's just a matter of knowing that as soon as you turn your lap that you need to get it in the garage and working on it for Happy Hour."
WHAT THE GAME PLAN FOR TOMORROW?
"Stay out of trouble. We're not starting up front, so we have to be patient not to get caught up racing for position too early in the race. I've got to get in all laps for experience, so I plan on slowly making my way up front and see if we can't race up front at the end when it really matters.
CHUCK HOSSFELD-50-Eldon Ford F-150 (Qualified 11th)
"This team has really gelled over the past month, especially with the four weeks that we had off. We did a lot of testing and learned a lot about the truck. We learned how to make me drive better and that showed on that qualifying run. It should get us near the top 10. That's good for having a new sponsor, and we want to put on a good show for Eldon this weekend."
YOU'RE A ROOKIE HERE AND YOU CAN'T TEST AT A TRACK AHEAD OF TIME. HOW DID YOU PREPARE FOR THIS WEEKEND?
"This is definitely a tough track and it's pretty unique in it's shape. There's a lot involved in driving here and it's definitely one of the tougher ones we've run. I think the biggest thing that has helped me is Jack (Roush) supporting us and letting us test over the last four weeks and letting us get used to the truck. The more I get used to this truck, the more I'm able to adapt to things quicker. We struggled here in the morning and gradually got faster and faster and then qualified somewhat decent."
DID THE FOUR-WEEK BREAK ALLOW YOU AND YOUR TEAM TO MENTALLY REGROUP?
"I don't think so. In fact, I think that hurts us. I mentioned Jack before, but with our new sponsor and Jack behind us, we have the means to race every week. We didn't need to regroup at all as far as preparation because the guys at the shop do a great job of getting the truck ready. I think that the more races that we do, the better we'll be because the more experienced the whole team get. The four weeks off was definitely not as plus."
RICK CRAWFORD-14-Milwaukee Electric Tools Ford F-150 (Qualified 14th)
THAT WAS CLOSE TO WHAT YOU RAN IN PRACTICE, BUT YOU DON'T SEEM TOO HAPPY?
"We'll have to take the Milwaukee Tools Ford and race with it now. We have some work to do in Happy Hour and hopefully it doesn't rain so that we can get it all in. We're not there right now and we have some to do."
HAS IT TAKEN SOME TIME TO GET USED TO THE NEW RULES PACKAGE ON THE FORD?
"No. The changes are for the better and I think we can run with them if we do what we need to do."