Terry Cook Evergreen preview

MONROE, WA (May 24, 2000) - Terry Cook is paid to drive fast. It's a mindset that all racers have. Rarely is Cook ever told to slow down, but that's exactly what he will need to do when the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series visits Evergreen ...

MONROE, WA (May 24, 2000) - Terry Cook is paid to drive fast. It's a mindset that all racers have. Rarely is Cook ever told to slow down, but that's exactly what he will need to do when the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series visits Evergreen Speedway June 3. "The Evergreen track is a flat, almost marblehead surface," said Cook, driver of the #88 PickupTruck.com Chevrolet in NCTS competition this season. "There are a lot of stones that stick up through the track. It's very abrasive on tires and it has zero grip, I mean none. You're always wanting to charge the corners and charge off the corners, but when you do that, you are always slower. You have to beat it into your head to be patient and be calm. You have to adapt to the track. "Because the track has so little traction, you find yourself really having to pedal the throttle," Cook continued. "You tend to get frustrated because you're not going that fast. You feel like you're the slowest driver on the track, but every other driver out there feels the same way. You really can't get after it there. You have to be easy into the corners and easy on the throttle off. You almost have to be off the corner before you get into the throttle there." The 'slower is better' mentality is something Cook will have to master if he expects to steer his bright orange #88 mount to Victory Lane in the Sears 200 at Evergreen. Another challenge will be for his SealMaster Racing crew to master the chassis set-up for the tight .646-mile oval. "Chassis set-up is everything at Evergreen," said Cook. "Horsepower is very, very unimportant. Evergreen is probably the only track we go to where horsepower is not an issue at all. You can go there and be 40-to-50 horsepower off and it would probably help, not hurt you." Horsepower is normally a key ingredient to success in any kind of racing, especially in the high-power, 700-horsepower world of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Because of the track surface at Evergreen, teams scramble to find any number of ways to engineer their trucks so they won't overpower the worn track surface. "A lot of teams will actually take gear out of the truck to help them not overdrive," Cook stated. "One of the things we've done over the years is to disconnect the rear accelerator pump from the carburetor which tends to help over long runs. We also build a set of shocks that have high traction. We do everything we can to promote forward bite. Sometimes that will hurt you because you get off the corner great and then you push like a freight train going into the corner. You have to find that balance that allows you to be good right off the transporter." Cook is the first to admit that he and his SealMaster Racing team have had trouble finding that 'balance' at Evergreen in the past. "We have struggled immensely the last two years at Evergreen," said Cook, who started 16th and finished 28th in the NAPACard 200 last year. "We bounced around from the Top-10 to about 20th for most of the race and I think we were running around 12th when a lapped truck spun and came right back down the hill in front of me. We wound up collecting him and knocking the radiator out of the truck. We sat behind the wall for quite a while fixing the truck and then we just ran around trying to pick up as many positions as we could. Late in the race, when we knew we couldn't pick up or lose any more spots, we parked the truck so we wouldn't be in the way of the guys racing for the win." This time around at Evergreen, Cook hopes to be anything but in the way. "I'm at the point of my career where I feel like I can go out and win the race every week," said Cook. "I just don't want to be riding around. Unfortunately, that's what we had to do last year to get as many points as we could. Hopefully, this year, I'll be riding around in the front. That's definitely where we'd like to have the PickupTruck.com Chevy at the end of that one." The Saturday, June 3 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Sears 200 at Evergreen Speedway will take the green flag at 8 p.m. The event will be telecast live on ESPN and will be broadcast by MRN radio.

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Terry Cook