This Week in Ford Racing August 2, 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Defending USAC National Midget Car Series champion Bobby East is scheduled to make his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut this weekend at Indianapolis Raceway Park...
This Week in Ford Racing
August 2, 2005
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Defending USAC National Midget Car Series champion Bobby East is scheduled to make his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut this weekend at Indianapolis Raceway Park in the Power Stroke Diesel 200. East, the 20-year-old son of legendary USAC team owner and car builder Bob East, will pilot a third Roush Racing entry as part of Ford Racing's driver development program. Jeff Campey, a former Roush Racing truck series crew chief, will call the shots this weekend for East and the No. 33 F-150. East, the youngest USAC National champion in series history, discussed his foray into NASCAR competition.
BOBBY EAST-No. 33-Ford Racing F-150
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO PREPARE FOR YOUR NASCAR DEBUT AT IRP THIS WEEKEND? "I didn't get a chance to test the truck at IRP before this weekend, but I was fortunate enough that the guys at Brewco let me test their Busch car for three hours last Monday night, so we got about 100 laps in. I really want to thank those guys for that, but that was all I got. The rest of the week I got to go and watch everybody test. The guys at ST Motorsports - I've been working with them quite a bit and they let me in on all of the chassis setups and what they were changing to get faster. I want to thank those guys, too. I was just out at the track last week trying to get as much knowledge as I could about the track and the cars due to not being able to test out there."
HOW MUCH EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE IN A CRAFTSMAN TRUCK? "I really don't have any experience in the trucks. We got to test one day at Caraway Speedway, a little half-mile track in Asheboro, North Carolina, about a month ago. I'm really excited about this weekend, though. Ford has a really good truck. It's a Roush chassis, and Jerry Painter, who does all of Ford's bodywork, helped skin the truck. The truck is really good, and all of the guys working on it, I know they know a whole bunch about it. I'm excited about that, but I'm just a little nervous because we didn't get to test. We had a two-day test scheduled, but that didn't go through, so that's got me on edge a little bit. I'm definitely worried about not making the show because I don't have any laps in a truck there. But like I said, they're giving me a really good truck, and that's a plus. I'm just going to go out there and try to go as fast as I can, and if we're in, we're in, and if we're not, we're not."
YOU ANNOUNCED LAST WEEK THAT YOU SPLIT WITH LEWIS RACING, YOUR USAC TEAM. DOES THAT MEAN YOUR FOCUS IS NOW ON YOUR NASCAR CAREER? "It's almost full throttle on my NASCAR career. I've still got some unfinished business to take care of in the open-wheel cars for the rest of the year, but my schedule has opened up quite a bit. We're going to use as many of the open weekends to get ready for next year because I'm going to be doing the full year next year in NASCAR whether it's Busch or trucks. I'm going to devote a lot of my focus to stock cars."
YOU HAVE WORKED WITH A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT FORD TEAMS THIS YEAR AS YOU PREPARE FOR YOUR CAREER IN NASCAR. EVEN THOUGH EACH TEAM IS AFFILIATED WITH FORD, HAS IT BEEN TOUGH WORKING WITH SO MANY DIFFERENT ORGANIZATIONS? "You would think it would be tough, and at first it was a little tough, but the guys at all three shops were so cool that it's an added bonus. They're just good guys, and the people that I've been able to work with have been really helpful as far as telling me things about the cars and letting me in on what the heck is going on. My plans for next year aren't set, but each organization that I've worked with has been great."
YOU MENTIONED THREE FORD RACING TEAMS, BUT YOU ALSO HAVE FAMILY TIES TO PPC RACING'S TERRY COOK, WHO IS YOUR BROTHER-IN-LAW. HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO PICK TERRY'S MIND GOING INTO THIS WEEKEND? "I've been picking Terry's mind, and anybody that knows Terry knows that he's such a great guy. For one, I'm happy to have him in my family, and second, I'm really happy that he doesn't mind helping me out. He gives me pointers, and just about any question I have for him he'll answer. I think that's really cool, and I thank him for that. Without getting the laps there last week like I was expecting to, I've just been picking everybody's brain about the track and the trucks, and we'll see if we can't go out there and make it happen."
WITH 43 ENTRIES FOR THE TRUCK RACE AT IRP, IS YOUR FOCUS THIS WEEKEND SOLELY ON QUALIFYING FOR THE RACE? "We have no way of getting into the race without qualifying our way into the race, so I think that's going to be our approach. As far as I'm concerned, my total focus is getting in the race. As far as how the truck is going to be set up, I think we're starting out in the middle and if it looks like we need to pick it up, I'm sure we're going to get pretty aggressive on the setup and try to go with more of a qualifying setup. As far as my mindset, I just need to get in the race."