CARL EDWARDS-63-Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool Ford F-150 (Finished 36th)
YOU WENT BEHIND THE WALL ON THE SECOND LAP, WHAT HAPPENED? "It was going really great this weekend, but I think the crankshaft broke off the motor. Pretty wild. I think I ran over it. I have to thank the Mittler Brothers, Mike Mittler. Darrell Hoffman builds great motors; this was just a freak deal. We had a great truck today. I was really excited to run well."
THIS PUSHES YOUR TOTAL STARTS IN THE TRUCK SERIES TO SEVEN FOR THE SEASON. ARE YOU DONE RACING THIS YEAR TO PRESERVE YOUR ROOKIE STATUS FOR 2003? "That's the last race of the season for us with me as the driver. Right now we're just looking to secure sponsorship to run all of them next year. We're going to win races next year. Our plan is to have me run for Rookie-of-the-Year honors and I think we can do it. I'm confident."
RICK CRAWFORD-14-Circle Bar Motel & RV Park Ford F-150 (Finished 6th)
"It wasn't a real happy truck today for some reason. It would run in spurts. It would give me 10 to 15 laps at a time and then it wouldn't do what I wanted it to do on the race track. The Circle Bar guys put another consistent finish together, but in order to win the championship you have to outrun the 16, and we weren't in contention to outrun him today."
YOU PITTED UNDER THE FINAL CAUTION, GIVING UP SIXTH PLACE TO RESTART NINTH. "We needed to have some fuel. We weren't going to finish it to the end. This Ford F-150 has a comfortable ride, but it sure doesn't get fuel gas mileage. If you've got horsepower under the hood, you have to feed it, so we had to give it some fuel to make it until the end."
DID THE NUMBER OF CAUTIONS SURPRISE YOU TODAY? "That's the norm when you get to places like this and Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan. You can spread out, you can race because you have plenty of room, a lot of green-flag laps."
YOU MANAGE TO STAY IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP HUNT EVEN THOUGH MIKE BLISS FINISHED SECOND. "Has anybody said he's the champion yet?"
ANDY HOUSTON-15-Billy Ballew Motorsports Ford F-150 (Finished 12th)
"It wasn't too bad. We struggled really. We struggled real bad in the race. We could never find the balance on the thing. It started out on the first run, it was extremely tight, and that was kind of a shocker because last night we were real loose. We made some adjustments on the first stop and got it real loose and absolutely couldn't drive it. And then we pretty much compromised on what we had to start with and we kind of went back like that. That was the best the truck was driveability-wise. Still, we were a little off. I think we're missing a little bit of something on our aero package or something, but we'll work on it. The first race with all of these guys and Billy Ballew on a limited budget, to come home 12th isn't anything to hang your head about. We'll get ready to go to California, and try to progress out there, and hopefully by Homestead we'll be able to be a contender."
DID THE NUMBER OF CAUTION FLAGS SURPRISE YOU TODAY? "Yeah, somewhat. The quality of the guys in the series is getting a lot better and the quality of trucks is getting a lot better. When you have that and everybody is running real smart, you'll see a race where you won't have a lot of cautions. This place is pretty notorious for not having many cautions. It's a pretty wide race track and not real hard to get around. We felt like there would be some long runs, but we didn't realize there would only be one or two throughout the course of the day."
TERRY COOK-29-Power Stroke Diesel Ford F-150 (Finished 27th)
"I don't know what to do about this bad luck, it's rotten. I don't know exactly what happened, but we burned a hole through a heat shield on a tailpipe, right underneath the seat and it proceeded to burn the heat shields underneath the seat; it caught them on fire actually. We had all kinds of smoke and fumes inside the truck. I couldn't even see where we were going, so we came in, ripped them out and went back out and got going. Then it was so hot under the seat that we had to come back in. We just sucked all day. I don't know how else to say it. We tried a couple of things at the end of the day to try to make the truck better, and we really couldn't make it that much better, either. We just missed the package out here somewhere. I'm not sure where, but, man, we have to get that under control because our mile-and-a-half program just sucks right now. I feel good about the remaining three races, but you still have a ton of mile-and-a-half tracks on the schedule, and we have to get a handle on this because this is bad. The gremlins that bit us today, I don't know, I'm going to call it bad because we prepare a great race truck each and every week, and to have stuff like that happen is just a freak deal. Even with a truck that could have run a whole race, we probably we still only a 10th through 15th truck, and I'm not sure where we came home today."
DOES THIS CHANGE THE MENTALITY OF HOW YOU APPROACH THE REMAINING THREE RACES? "Not really, we're still trying to get some wins and we came up way short today. I really enjoy Fontana, and Fontana has always been good to us, so hopefully we go out there and contend for the victory because we sure didn't here."
JON WOOD-50-U.S. Navy Racing Ford F-150 (Finished 18th)
DID YOU HAVE TROUBLE GETTING A HANDLE ON THE TRUCK? "It was loose all day. I'm actually a little surprised we were that far off. We weren't this bad yesterday. I'm actually pretty surprised we were as bad as we are. We've struggled a little bit at these big places, but not nearly this bad. I don't know what to say about it."
WHEN THERE ARE ONLY TWO CAUTION PERIODS IN A RACE WHERE YOU HAVE AN ILL-HANDLING TRUCK, DOES THAT ADD TO YOUR FRUSTRATIONS? "When you're that bad, you hope for no cautions, so it will hurry up and be over."
WITH THE FINAL THREE RACES BEING HELD ON TRACKS ONE MILE OR LARGER, DO YOU FEEL CONFIDENT YOU CAN FIX THE PROBLEM? "I think we're getting it figured out. It's just going to be a matter of time."