Cook, Power Stroke 0x0109ESEL Ford aims for breakthrough finish in Thursday night feature Richmond, VA (September 3, 2003) - As Richmond International Raceway continues to celebrate 50 years of hosting NASCAR sanctioned events, Terry Cook...
Cook, Power Stroke 0x0109ESEL Ford aims for breakthrough finish in Thursday night feature
Richmond, VA (September 3, 2003) - As Richmond International Raceway continues to celebrate 50 years of hosting NASCAR sanctioned events, Terry Cook arrives at the .75-mile oval bound and determined to improve his 2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series fifth-place finish in the No. 29 Power Stroke 0x0129esel by International entry Thursday evening.
"Richmond has been a good track for me," said Cook. "I have always had decent runs there. Last year we finished fifth and that was my best ever finish there. We've typically rolled off the trailer really good and for some reason we just don't seem to find the right adjustments for the No. 29 Power Stroke 0x0129esel/Oil Mate0x28a7 Ford because with the black sealer on the track, the track changes a lot throughout the day. We are the first group on the racetrack. When we first get out there, there's not a lot of rubber laid down and as the day goes on a lot of rubber is laid down because the Busch Series Grand National Division cars are there as well. With the track temperatures changing, the track changes so much throughout the day."
Faced with a temperamental track, Cook gauges what a night at Richmond might have in store for his Power Stroke 0x0129esel Ford team which elected to bring the famed truck Droopy Dog.
"We are bringing the same Power Stroke 0x0129esel/Oil Mate0x28a7 truck that we sat on the pole with at The Milwaukee Mile and IRP this season and had great success with last year," said Cook, who won three of four NCTS events last season with the drop-snout truck. "Because of Richmond's progressive banking around the track it promotes great side by side racing. The fastest part of the track is driving off into Turn 1 and that's where most people get into trouble because you're turning down into the corner at the fastest part of the track and you've got to use a lot of brake getting into the corner. If you use too much rear brake it will send you into a spin and back you into the wall."
"Getting into to Turn 1 and exiting Turn 2 are the two trickiest parts of the entire track," continued Cook. "Because coming off of Turn 2 the banking flattens out quickly. You're hard on the mat accelerating off the corner and all the sudden the banking drops out from underneath you. You've got to have your truck tight enough to get into the corners and tight enough to get up off the corners, but you can't have it so tight that you can't get through Turns 3 and 4. It's a compromise and you work on the chassis all night long, but the guy that can figure it out will be up front."
Not only does Cook have a wealth of knowledge about Richmond, but his K-Automotive team's first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory occurred at the raceway in 1997 with driver Bob Keselowski who still holds the race record (104.167 mph).
"We always look forward to racing at Richmond because it means a lot to our team personally," said Bob Keselowski, part team owner and team manager of the No. 29 Power Stroke 0x0129esel Ford team. "Our first win at Richmond is one of our high points. That's what we worked for and tried to accomplish all those years. It took us a lot of races for us to get that win. We are going back there with the determination to win just like we do every week and we want more than anything to deliver a victory to International Truck and Engine Corporation and EMP. In addition to a win at Richmond, we have a couple Top-5 finishes. There's a lot of history at Richmond for us and it's nice to be back."
Over the years, Richmond International Raceway's configuration has evolved from being a 0xda6ce dirt track in 1953 to a .75-mile oval in 1988. Changes are still being made at the raceway with SAFER walls added for the NASCAR Tripleheader this week.
"I couldn't agree more with some of the driver's comments out there that Richmond is a track on the cutting edge because I understand they have installed SAFER barriers in the corners," said Cook. "As far as the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is concerned, if I'm not mistaken, it's the first racetrack that our division has run with SAFER barriers. We've raced at tracks life Flemington that's had the big Styrofoam blocks and we were thankful that they even had those. Anytime you can add safety improvements whether it's the track adding one more fire safety truck or another ambulance is awesome, but to take the step in the direction of adding a SAFER wall barrier is a great step forward by the track."
Cook and the No. 29 Power Stroke 0x0129esel Ford team will take the green flag in the Virginia is for Lovers 200 at Richmond International Raceway at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The event will be telecast live on Speed Channel and broadcast live on MRN Radio nationwide.