Erin Crocker, driver of the No. 98 Auto Value/Bumper-to-Bumper Dodge Charger in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, qualified seventh today for Friday's Hantz Group 200. How was the qualifying run? "It was okay. Obviously you want to win the pole, but ...
Erin Crocker, driver of the No. 98 Auto Value/Bumper-to-Bumper Dodge Charger in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, qualified seventh today for Friday's Hantz Group 200.
How was the qualifying run?
"It was okay. Obviously you want to win the pole, but qualifying isn't the important thing, the race is. We chose a gear that we knew would hit the rev chip pretty early, and we did. But it should be better for passing in race conditions. We're going for the win."
What happened in practice today?
"It's been an interesting day. We started off good. We had a few good runs but we had a problem with a right front tire and that tore up the fender a little bit. The guys worked really hard and got it back together. We were lucky we got a few laps before practice was over. It wasn't exactly what we wanted to do today. We were fortunate to keep it out of the fence when the tire went, so that was a good thing."
What kind of damage did it do to the car?
"It didn't do too much damage. It tore out the braces and the right front bumper and bent the hood a little bit. The crew got some hammers out and now it looks a little bit like it used to. It didn't really affect our qualifying lap. Luckily we were able to get back out there and shake the car out again to make sure nothing else was wrong."
What kind of advice did Ray give you after it happened?
"We were talking about how it happened and he asked if we were sliding the front tires at all or if they heated up at all and that's what caused the problem. He asked me if I felt any vibration and actually I had felt a vibration coming out of four. I had just gone on the radio and said I feel a vibration and before I could click off the button the tire went. He's really involved and hands on with what's going on with the car. He asks lots of questions about how it feels and what we should change."
Did you expect all the attention you're getting coming into this race?
"Ever since the Indy 500, I've gotten more attention. It's always an honor to be a hot topic and have people want to interview you."
Discuss your test here with Bill Elliott earlier this month?
"We came up here for a two-day test last week. Bill tested the first day mainly and a little bit the second day. He took be around in a rental car to show me the lines around, which I really appreciated. He's had a little bit of success here -- I think he's got seven wins -- so that was really neat. He watched a lot of my laps and gave me some advice. Bill's a really neat guy, he's very laid back and very helpful. I appreciate it. I never thought in a million years that I would be hanging out with Bill Elliott and he would be helping me. It's pretty wild. I told him the other day that he was always like a hero to me, but now I see him as just a regular person.
"When we tested here, I ran the car we qualified about 40 laps before we had a problem with a right front tire. We brought out backup car and ran that, so we got about a total of 100 laps here. It wasn't as many as we'd like. I've never been on a two-mile track before, so I'm glad we got to come here before the race."
How do you feel about running in traffic with the ARCA lineup?
"You have to be a little cautious, because the ARCA series has a big difference between the top cars and the slow cars, so that's something you have to keep an eye on. I'll have some good spotters (Ray Evernham and Sammy Johns) looking out for me. I'm excited about it. With all the testing we're doing, you don't really get a chance to pass many cars and that's what we really the type of experience we need."
What are you doing when you aren't testing or racing?
"I've been spending a lot of time in the race shops and going to races. I've been sitting on the pit box and listening on the radio. I've been to the engine shop -- they let me run the dynos. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can. I've also been running some sprint car races."