This Week in Ford Racing September 20, 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Rick Crawford, driver of the No. 14 Ford F-150, overcame numerous obstacles this season to capture his first truck series victory of 2005 last weekend in New ...
This Week in Ford Racing
September 20, 2005
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Rick Crawford, driver of the No. 14 Ford F-150, overcame numerous obstacles this season to capture his first truck series victory of 2005 last weekend in New Hampshire. From an end-over-end back flip in the season-opener at Daytona to a qualifying incident at Kentucky that ended his consecutive start streak at 210, the Mobile, Ala., native never gave up hope that things would turn around for his Circle Bar race team. Crawford's persistence paid off last week as he out-dueled Dennis Setzer and Ted Musgrave in the closing laps of the Sylvania 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway to capture his fourth career victory, and currently sits 16th in point standings, 142 out of 10 with six races remaining in the season.
RICK CRAWFORD-14-Circle Bar Truck Corral Ford F-150
WITH LAST WEEK'S WIN AT NEW HAMPSHIRE, CAN YOU VIEW THE SEASON WITH A LEVEL OF SUCCESS? "I think we now have a positive note on the year. There are a lot of racers out there that would love to be in victory lane and we were able to celebrate that this past weekend in Loudon. It's a well-earned victory for the whole Circle Bar Truck Corral race team, Ford and the Roush-Yates engine program, which is all-new for 2005. But, you look back through the season, and Rick Crawford put it on its roof at Daytona and back on four wheels because it's Built Ford Tough, but we didn't get a chance to win that race. Then we weren't able to capitalize on setting a track record and leading the most laps at Atlanta. We sat on the outside pole at Charlotte with a good truck and didn't get a chance to show our talents or victory, and the same thing happened in Texas with a minor little hiccup. Basically, I feel the gates have been locked to victory lane for the Circle Bar Ford, but they opened up this weekend and everything was flawless, and I've often said that a competitor must have a perfect race. If you ask everybody that's a competitor in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, they'll say the same thing, 'If you don't have a perfect race you will not win the race.'"
WERE YOU SURPRISED HOW CLEAN TED MUSGRAVE AND DENNIS SETZER RACED YOU AT THE END OF LAST WEEK'S RACE? "I just can appreciate Dennis Setzer and Ted Musgrave behind me. Those are two great veteran drivers that have been in Cup and the Busch Series, and they came into the truck series to keep their careers going and I feel like that's a big victory for the senior tour this past weekend. Those guys respect each other and I respect them, we race each other the way we want to be raced, and if you look at all three of those trucks, we might have had a few little battle scars but we raced the last 100 laps. In victory lane, the first guys in there were the team and the second person in there was Dennis Setzer. He said, 'My turn's next week,' and I told him that I'll race him the same way in Vegas if he's leading. Whoever is strongest will win, but we don't have to knock each other out of the way. I know he's running for a championship and I was running to get Ford its first victory in 2005, and I've accomplished that. He's a great friend of mine and he raced me clean and I appreciate that."
YOU ADDED FORMER BUSCH SERIES CREW CHIEF BLAKE BAINBRIDGE TO THE TEAM LAST WEEK. DO YOU NOW FEEL THAT YOU HAVE ALL OF THE PIECES NECESSARY TO BATTLE FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP, AND IS THE REST OF THIS SEASON PRACTICE FOR NEXT YEAR? "There are a couple more pieces missing and I think it's on pit road. We had a couple of volunteers this weekend that came over from the Cup side to pit our truck and we're going to put some people in place with the Circle Bar Truck Corral race team that can get it in and out of the pits, and then I think we'll have the total package. Once we can be focused on the total package, then we can focus on our race setup and the race calling and making sure everything's fine in those areas with no runs, no drips and no errors, and we'll run for a championship next year. But, we still have some business to finish this year and Kevin Starland gave a great motivational speech at the race shop, and he wants to be in the top 10 in the points by season's end, and we have a shot at that, and he wants to have the manufacturer's championship with Ford by being the best Ford on the race track. We have some goals that are within our reach and we're working hard to try to find that."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'VE FOUND A HOME IN THE TRUCK SERIES, AND WOULD YOU BE HAPPY TO END YOUR RACING CAREER IN THERE? "I would say that as far as Rick Crawford and Tom Mitchell together as Circle Bar Racing, the truck series is what we're focused on. We want to be successful and we have been. But, we've had a tough year and I really haven't asked Tom Mitchell if we could go do some Cup racing on a limited schedule. That's how Rick Crawford would like to end his career - with a chance at the Cup level. I don't have to do a full season, and I wish Jack Roush or Robert Yates would say, 'Hey, come on over. We have another car over here and let's run some races.' I think Mr. Mitchell would vote for that, but if they don't, I'd like to run some races for Mr. Mitchell before I hang up my helmet. I think it could be somewhat like a Rocky movie. You take the long shot out there and he can prove himself to be a winner. That might not ever happen, and if it doesn't happen then I'm very pleased with Rick Crawford's racing career. I'm very pleased and content for driving for Tom Mitchell for over 14 years now. He's a great friend and a special person to me, and I wouldn't do anything in the world to damage the relationship."
HEADING INTO LAS VEGAS THIS WEEKEND, WHAT DO YOU THINK THE ODDS WOULD BE FOR YOU TO WIN BACK-TO-BACK RACES? "We've got momentum on our side and we're bringing a really good truck to Vegas, one that has proven itself in the past to be fast. The guys are preparing it well, and I feel like before Saturday's race our odds probably weren't that good. We'd probably have been a long shot to win Vegas, but I think our odds have bettered themselves since we won. Everybody in the truck series knows that the 14 truck is a threat to win. Prior to Saturday, they probably would have said, 'He qualifies good, but we don't have to worry about him because somehow or another during the race something will bite the 14 team.' After last Saturday, they know that I'm tough now toward the end of the race and hopefully we'll be good in good shape on Saturday in Vegas."