Fresh off of his victory last week at Kansas Speedway that ended a 94-race winless streak, Terry Cook is looking to carry that winning momentum into this weekend's Built Ford Tough 225 at Kentucky Speedway. Cook, who led the closing stages of...
Fresh off of his victory last week at Kansas Speedway that ended a 94-race winless streak, Terry Cook is looking to carry that winning momentum into this weekend's Built Ford Tough 225 at Kentucky Speedway. Cook, who led the closing stages of last year's Built Ford Tough 225 until a blown tire ended his bid for victory six laps from the conclusion, spoke about returning to Kentucky and his prospects to capture his second consecutive truck series victory.
TERRY COOK-10-Ford Power Stroke Diesel by Int'l F-150 - DID YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS OF BRINGING THE RACE-WINNING TRUCK FROM LAST WEEK TO KENTUCKY? "You'd have to ask Dennis (Connor, crew chief) if there were thoughts there, but, honestly, this truck was already set up and ready to go to Kentucky before we left for Kansas. The plan was to race this truck, and we feel as though this is a better race truck than we had at Kansas. Don't get me wrong, the truck last week was obviously very good, but in the post-race celebration the driver got a little excited and probably beat up the truck and put a little damage to it, which I think ultimately made the final decision. But, I think that the plan was a good plan to stick with this race truck because it's such a good race truck. This is the truck that we were fifth with at Michigan. The truck also ran Atlanta, and we had a new body hung after Atlanta, and it ran extremely well at Michigan. We feel as though it's probably a little bit better aero-wise than the truck we had at Kansas. Apprehension? I guess I can answer that 100 percent, 'Definitely,' after the race, but right now I feel like we brought the right truck."
DISCUSS THE IMPORTANCE OF MOMENTUM IN MOTOR SPORTS, AND WHY WE SEE TEAMS GET ON A ROLL AFTER CAPTURING THE FIRST VICTORY OF THE SEASON. "There is definitely something to be said for positive momentum in motor sports. In 2002, we won our first race and went on to win three more for a total of four that year, and momentum was just on our side. What it does, it gives everybody on the team extra confidence. It gives you the confidence, yet what I've seen with this race program is that we have increasingly gotten better each and every week. When you finally seal the deal and get the victory - and for a lot of guys on the team it was their first time ever to victory lane - it gives them the extra-added confidence that what they were doing was the right thing. Whether you jump off the pit wall or sit on the toolbox or drive the truck, it just gives the whole team that extra bit of confidence. Not that we didn't have confidence before, but it really solidifies it."
IS THERE ANY OTHER TRACK YOU'D WANT TO VISIT AFTER YOUR FIRST VICTORY IN 94 RACES THAN KENTUCKY, THE SITE WHERE YOU CAME CLOSEST TO VICTORY LAST YEAR? "That does put a little extra pep in your step. This is a huge weekend. Obviously, it's a Ford track, it's the Built Ford Tough 225, and a lot of things surround the whole Ford program here this week. Obviously, running Ford Power Stroke Diesel by Int'l truck, this is a huge weekend. To come in here springboarding off of a win, and to come to a track where we almost won last year, that's a lot of confidence. And, it's a track that we just enjoy racing at because it's a very racy race track to start with; it's not just a one-groove race track. If you're ill handling just a little bit, you can maybe search around the race track to find a little bit better groove. And, you can pass very easily here. I just enjoy coming to Kentucky, so if it's a track, number one, that you enjoy coming to and you're just coming off of a win, there's a lot of momentum riding into this race for us. I'm looking for big things this weekend."'
WHAT ENDED YOUR BID FOR VICTORY LAST YEAR WITH SIX LAPS REMAINING? "I think we just overheated the right-front tire and blew it. That last run of the race, typically your mindset is to save your sticker tires for the end of the race. All through the race, basically everything that went on the truck up until that last run was a set of scuffs. Typically, a set of stickers builds more heat just because it has extra grip at the beginning of the run, so that heat stays in the tires and the pressures build a little bit higher throughout the run. I think, ultimately, that's what bit us at the end. So, we didn't see any tire issues at all - all through practice and qualifying and the first three-quarters of the race - and then on the last set of tires, which was a set of stickers, we drove away from the field, and I think I started feeling a tire issue with about 10 or 11 laps to go. The problem was that I still had a two-second lead at the time, but two seconds can evaporate very quickly on a mile-and-a-half track that's all about momentum, so it really wasn't like you could slow down and save the tire. I don't think I could have nursed it for four or five more laps anyway, so I truly believe we overheated the tire and just blew the tire."
IS THIS A TRACK THAT IS SIMILAR TO KANSAS SPEEDWAY? "There are a lot of similarities. All of the mile-and-a-halfs all have similarities to a degree, but they all drive differently. Kansas does drive a little bit different than Kentucky, but I think if you could map over all of the mile-and-a-half tracks, Kansas and Kentucky are probably the most comparable. Las Vegas was very similar as well, but that is currently being reconfigured. I would say that on the circuit, those two are probably the closest to each other that there is. I know a lot of people are bringing the exact same race vehicle with the exact same setup, and I think we're starting very close to where we ended at Kansas. If there were any two tracks that you could compare, it's probably those."
THE CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES EVENT IS THE HEADLINER THIS WEEKEND. HOW ARE THESE WEEKENDS DIFFERENT FROM WHEN THE TRUCK SERIES IS A SUPPORT RACE FOR NEXTEL CUP? "ARCA puts on a good show, but the turnstiles will show tomorrow night that we were the bigger show in town over the weekend. What's exciting for me is everywhere we've gone - and just from the driver's seat looking at the grandstands - every track we've gone to this year, the crowds have continuously gotten bigger and bigger. We had a bigger crowd at Michigan this year, and I think we had a bigger crowd at Kansas and Milwaukee as well. We're getting great crowds pretty much everywhere we're going, and I expect much of the same here at Kentucky this weekend. I think the fans are realizing that the Craftsman Truck Series is a series that can stand off on its own, just like we're doing here this weekend, which is what they tried to build early on in the series. They wanted a series that could have its own race and not have to be a support race to Cup, like the Busch Series is. To come here this weekend and have a great a crowd and put on some of the greatest racing that you'll see in all of NASCAR, I think that bodes well for the series."