This Week in Ford Racing July 6, 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series As the Craftsman Truck Series competitors travel to Kentucky Speedway this weekend for the Built Ford Tough 225, Rick Crawford, driver of the No. 14 F-150, finds himself...
This Week in Ford Racing
July 6, 2004
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
As the Craftsman Truck Series competitors travel to Kentucky Speedway this weekend for the Built Ford Tough 225, Rick Crawford, driver of the No. 14 F-150, finds himself within striking of the leaders in the point standings. With a third-place finish at Kansas Speedway last weekend, Crawford closed the gap to 132 points of leader Dennis Setzer. Crawford spoke about the hurdles he has faced to start the season and the outlook of his racing career.
RICK CRAWFORD -14-Circle Bar Motel & RV Park Ford F-150
YOU HAVE CLIMBED WITHIN 140 POINTS OF THE LEAD IN THE STANDINGS, SO IS IT TIME TO START TALKING ABOUT THE CHAMPIONSHIP?
"We want to be, we look at it every week, and obviously focusing on the championship is our main concern. To win for Ford and Circle Bar Racing, that's what we're here for. We're looking at it from Daytona to Homestead, so it's on our minds and it's a priority each and very week."
YOU'VE FACED VARIOUS OBSTACLES THIS SEASON THAT INCLUDE MOVING TO A NEW SHOP, CHANGING CREW CHIEFS EARLY IN THE SEASON, OVERCOMING AN INJURY AT ATLANTA AND ADAPTING TO THE NEW BODY STYLE OF THE FORD F-150. HAS THERE EVER BEEN ANOTHER SEASON WHERE YOU'VE DEALT WITH SO MANY CHANGES?
"I don't feel like it's a downfall to have adversity right at this minute. Surely, the season hasn't been as smooth as it needs to be, but attitude, performance and knowing that you can get the job done weekly is the key to winning the championship. The shop by no means was adversity because we were all looking forward to that and it happened during the week of Daytona, so we prepared our trucks out of the old shop and as soon as we came back from Daytona we were in the new shop. That was a neat plan. The 2004 Ford F-150 was a welcome sight. We were running the old body style since 1998, so the 2004 Ford proved to be what we needed for competition by Carl (Edwards) winning at Daytona and myself winning at Martinsville, and Carl has already won again at Kansas. Those were good things to happen for us. Getting into the crew chief and the injury, that's just part of racing. You have to be prepared for situations like that. You hate to lose people, but everybody can be replaced. We had to look at it that way and I think Craig Huartson is doing a good job. He's already a two-time winner of the International Crew Chief Award, and maybe we can win that some more and get some confidence built in himself, and he can lead this team to a championship."
YOU MADE A LATE-RACE CHARGE IN LAST WEEK'S RACE AT KANSAS SPEEDWAY. DID YOUR CHASE FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP IN 2002 HAVE AN IMPACT ON YOUR DRIVING STYLE?
"If you've got what it takes, you must show it. If you don't have what it takes, you need to save what you've got until the end. Like I said earlier, the priority is winning the championship and when the green flag drops, you've got on your mind that you need to finish as well as we can today, accumulate as many points as we can, try to win the race, try to lead a lot of laps, and if you have that underneath you, you need to take it to the front; that's been my style. If you don't have that, there's no sense in being reckless and wreck what you might have for the finish. The last lap is the one that pays, so you have to be around for the checkered. That's what you call changing your style. I learned that when we were running second in the points in 2002. We were running for the championship and it was going to the wire at Homestead, and we learned that season how to take a rough day and turn it into a good finish and learn from there until the next race. I can't tell you the race after Kentucky because we're focused on Kentucky right at this minute."
IF THE TRUCK SERIES WERE TO RUN MORE COMPANION RACES WITH NEXTEL CUP, WOULD YOU CONSIDER RUNNING A FEW CUP RACES?
"Well, I would. That's something for the future. I wish I had already run a Cup race or so, or maybe a selected handful of races. I'd love to be a Cup driver and believe I could get the job done either with Circle Bar Racing or a Cup team that's already formed, but our focus is on winning the championship right now, and that's the reason I haven't pursued a Cup ride or been offered one because we really haven't talked about it. But, it is in the back of my mind as far as wanting to. The truck series, every time it's placed with a Cup event has always promised a great show, and look at the fans that are there for the weekend filling the grandstands even on Saturday when we race."
DO YOU THINK YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES TO CIRCLE BAR RACING WHERE YOU ARE NOT ONLY THE DRIVER BUT THE GENERAL MANAGER MIGHT BE A REASON THAT OWNERS HAVEN'T APPROACHED YOU?
"That should be a plus. I know the ins and outs of the business, but I also have a responsibility to Tom Mitchell, who owns the race team. That's my boss and that's who I answer to. We try to run the race team his way. I don't think the owner of a Cup program should look away from me because I'm responsible for my race team and also the driver. I wish they would look at Rick Crawford as an exciting driver that can put a piece of equipment up front and win races, and let that be the bottom line."