* Crawford-Starr Duo Realizing Pre-Season Potential * Large Wisconsin Contingent Leads Milwaukee Return * Crew Chief Beam Ends Doldrums With MIS Victory Crawford, Starr Pairing Finally Hitting On All 16 Cylinders DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 18,...
* Crawford-Starr Duo Realizing Pre-Season Potential
* Large Wisconsin Contingent Leads Milwaukee Return
* Crew Chief Beam Ends Doldrums With MIS Victory
Crawford, Starr Pairing Finally Hitting On All 16 Cylinders
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 18, 2007) -- For all of his lengthy racing career, Rick Crawford (No. 14 Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford) has reveled in being a "lone wolf" competitor.
In 2007, however, his Circle Bar Racing team expanded to a pair of entries adding veteran David Starr (No. 10 International/MAXXForce Ford) to the stable.
The change hardly affected Crawford, whose eight top-10 finishes place the Alabama native solidly among the top five championship contenders.
Getting the second truck up to speed was a bit more of a challenge but the results are beginning to show as the season nears its mid-point.
Crawford and Starr recently finished third and fifth at Texas Motor Speedway marking the first time the drivers snagged simultaneous top-five finishes.
"I've seen the potential from Daytona on," said Crawford. "There weren't really problems; just pieces of the puzzle that were missing."
"I'm excited," said Starr, who has moved from 24th to 14th in the standings in six races. "Over the last month we've had big results in a positive direction."
Truckin' To Milwaukee: Beer, Brats And The Historic Mile
Six natives of the Badger State are expected to be in the field for Friday night's 13th annual Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200.
One of them -- Ted Musgrave (No. 9 Team ASE Racing Toyota) -- is the track's only two-time winner having visited Victory Lane in 2001 and 2004.
"Milwaukee really puts the emphasis on working hard because that's back home, in front of friends and family and people that followed your career," said Musgrave, who's returning to The Milwaukee Mile after finishing fifth in Michigan. "You put a little extra effort into it; I know the crew does, too."
Kelly Bires (No. 21 Wood Bros./JTG Ford); Travis Kvapil (No. 6 K&N Engineering Ford); Ryan Mathews (No. 36 Bill Davis Racing Toyota); Tim Sauter (No. 07 Lester Buildings Chevrolet) and Josh Wise (No. 00 Aaron's Lucky Dog Toyota) also will compete.
Veteran Crew Chief Mike Beam, Travis Kvapil Back On Top In Michigan
Mike Beam has been in NASCAR long enough to know that peaks frequently are followed by valleys -- and not always those of your own making.
Beam, a longtime crew chief, directed Roush Fenway Racing's Mark Martin to six victories in 2006 and nearly pulled off an owner championship with multiple drivers.
The No. 6 K&N Engineering Ford team finished second, just 30 points behind Germain Motorsports and champion Todd Bodine (No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota).
The current season hasn't been so kind -- at least until last Saturday when Travis Kvapil cashed in at Michigan International Speedway after a ferocious, final-laps battle with Kyle Busch (No. 51 Flanders Beef Patties Chevrolet).
Kvapil's previous best finishes had been a pair of thirds, including Daytona, a race he lost in the final few yards. The team endured a five-race stretch in which it failed to finish higher than 13th.
"We got this '07 nose and some of the things we did over the winter we thought were going to be better, but once we ran a couple of races we decided we needed to (completely) redo our program," Beam said.
"So everyone's worked hard and Travis has done a great job on his feedback and given us a direction to go in."
Kvapil, the 2003 series champion and winner in three makes of trucks, believes most of the credit should go to Beam.
"Mike and the guys here really figured out what we needed to do to make the trucks to where I could drive them fast," he said.
Kvapil became the second Roush Fenway driver to score multiple victories at MIS, adding to his 2004 win for Toyota. Greg Biffle won back-to-back in 1999-2000.
The win was Roush Fenway's 45th.