Pensacola, FL - Rick Crawford and the ...
Pensacola, FL - Rick Crawford and the #5 Ford Taurus had a tough weekend at Five Flags Speedway. In the Snowball and Snowflake races Crawford was unable to finish due to mechanical failure or damage due to a wreck.
Crawford qualified second for the 34th annual Snowball Derby. He drove the #5 Ford around the track at a blistering speed, but came up a few one hundredths of a second from taking the pole position for the race. "Starting the race on the front row is nice, but I wanted the pole," stated Crawford.
The green flag flew and Crawford was flying. It did not take long for him to find his way to the inside and settle in to what was to be a caution filled race. The first of many cautions flew on lap thirteen with a spin in turn two. Eighteen laps later the caution flew again for a spin in turn four that Crawford was not able to completely avoid. Crawford brought the car into the pits for the Milwaukee Heavy Duty Pit Crew to repair the left rear spoiler. The crew did a great job repairing the damage after Crawford came into the pits several times before the green flag flew again. The accident caused Crawford to drop from second to thirty-fourth position. The caution flag flew again on lap forty-five. Once again Crawford was unable to avoid a spin and sustained damage to the front right fender. The Heavy Duty Crew went to work on the car, patched it up and sent Crawford on his way. A few laps later the caution flag flew again and Crawford headed for the pits to fix the toe on the right side from the previous accident. "The pit crew did a great job all day. They repaired the car when it needed it and on four tire pit stops they were the best team out there," commented Crawford.
Crawford brought the capacity crowd to its feet on more than one occasion. The #5 Ford battled toward the front, dodging wrecks and passing cars on the inside and outside lanes. At one point, Crawford split two cars by passing them both in the middle lane on the high banked, half-mile oval.
After battling the competion, avoiding wrecks and just flat out driving the wheels off of the #5 Ford Taurus, Crawford's day ended on lap 230 when the motor seized up. Crawford had worked his way up to eighth position and was sitting in the catbirds seat, saving his tires and his car for the end of the race. "The car was awesome. Ray Stonkus, Ritchie Wauters and the rest of the crew did a great job preparing both cars for me to race. We just had tough luck this weekend, but we'll be back," stated Crawford.
In Saturday night's Snowflake race, Crawford had the same "tough luck," as he was knocked out of the race on lap 44 with a broken bracket near the rear axel. Once again, Crawford drove one of the fastest cars on the track. The accident happened when Crawford was driving into turn one and a car on the outside pinched him into the inside wall. "I had the inside position, I don't know what he was thinking to force me into the wall," stated Crawford. The caution flag flew shortly after the incident and the Milwaukee Heavy Duty Pit Crew was able to visually inspect car. The damage at first seemed superficial. However, a few laps later while still under caution, the bracket broke and the day was done for the #5 Ford. "Jeff Victor from Victor Ford, Bay City Tool Company and Milwaukee Electric Tool all came together and made this whole weekend happen. We had equipment that was capable of winning, but things just didn't go our way," commented Crawford.
One bright note of the weekend's events, the Milwaukee Heavy Duty Pit Crew won the pit crew challenge. Led by "Gator" Morris, the team smoked the competition by a full two seconds. During four tire pit stops in the Snowball Derby, the team sent Crawford out either maintaining or gaining positions.