Texas: Terry Cook ready for speed test

FORT WORTH, TX (June 5, 2000) - Most people who drive pickup trucks rarely get them over 70 miles per hour. This weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, Terry Cook and the rest of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series mates will shatter that speed mark...

FORT WORTH, TX (June 5, 2000) - Most people who drive pickup trucks rarely get them over 70 miles per hour. This weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, Terry Cook and the rest of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series mates will shatter that speed mark making laps on the 1.5-mile superspeedway oval at more than 170 miles per hour. "Texas is the kind of track where the driver has his foot on the floorboard all the way around track, especially in qualifying," said Cook, driver of the #88 PickupTruck.com Chevrolet in NCTS competition. "Texas is one of the fastest tracks we go to. It's really surprising how fast we go around that place. If you have a decent set up, the driver can flatfoot all the way around the track. In qualifying, you don't lift off the gas for two consecutive laps. It's pretty hairy and you pretty much hold your breath for two laps." In Friday's Pronto Auto Parts 400, Cook will have his bright orange Chevy grabbing all the air it can get as he tries to score his first win of the 2000 NCTS season. In his most recent appearance at the Texas track in the 1999 O'Reilly Auto Parts 300, Cook rallied from deep in the field to finish sixth. It's that performance, along with a strong start to the 2000 season, that have him confident of a good run at Texas this time around. "Texas was very good for us last year," said Cook. "We were awesome there last year. For some reason, we didn't qualify well for either race there. I thought we had a good truck, but we wound up qualifying in the 20s for both events. When they dropped the green flag, however, that's a different story. Man, we went right to the front in both races. We went from 26th to fifth and were passing for fourth late in the spring race when we burnt out a right rear wheel bearing. In all my years of racing, I never had that happen before. That pretty much ended our day and we finished a disappointing 22nd. In the fall, we had another great truck and qualified 21st. Again, we drove right to the front, led some laps, and wound up finishing sixth. I know we can better that this time around." According to Cook, blinding speed isn't the only challenge at Texas. In fact, driving blind at 170 miles per hour for the first portion of the race might even be more harrowing than the blazing speed of the track. "You start the race during the daytime and it ends at night," Cook stated. "Early in the race, the setting sun can blind you in the middle of Turns 3 and 4, so I start the race with a tinted face shield and wear a pair of clear bubble goggles under it for later on when it gets dark. The track also changes with a couple of different grooves developing as we get more rubber on the track as the race goes on. You have to be able to adjust your Truck to be as free as possible so when the sun goes down and the track tightens up, you can be neutral. That means you have a handful and you're trying to hang on early so you can be in contention with a neutral, good handling truck at the finish." In the series only other superspeedway event this year, Cook was able to finish in the Top-5 in the season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway. That finish, along with a superior truck and engine combination, has the Sylvania, OH driver looking forward to bigger and better things this weekend. "I'm excited to be heading back to Texas," said Cook. "We're taking the same truck we finished fourth with at Daytona, so I know we have a great piece. We've tuned the body up to make it run even better at Texas. We're also taking a brand new Ron Hutter engine with us, so we're pretty excited about our chances of a top finish." Cook and the rest of the field will take the green flag in the Pronto Auto Parts 400 at Texas on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The event will be telecast live on ESPN2 and will also be broadcast by MRN radio.

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Terry Cook