ERIN CROCKER WOWS THE CROWD IN EVERNHAM MOTORSPORTS DEBUT: TAKES POLE, LEADS LAPS AND FINISHES 12TH IN HER FIRST ARCA START NASHVILLE, Tenn., (March 28, 2005) -- Erin Crocker's goal for her first ARCA RE/MAX Series race in the No. 98 Evernham...
ERIN CROCKER WOWS THE CROWD IN EVERNHAM MOTORSPORTS DEBUT: TAKES POLE, LEADS LAPS AND FINISHES 12TH IN HER FIRST ARCA START
NASHVILLE, Tenn., (March 28, 2005) -- Erin Crocker's goal for her first ARCA RE/MAX Series race in the No. 98 Evernham Motorsports Dodge was to gain experience racing in traffic, learn more about restarts and pit stops, and get comfortable behind the wheel of a stock car.
This past weekend at Nashville Speedway, she did all that and more.
Crocker took her first career ARCA pole with a blazing lap of 29.154 seconds (164.602 mph) on the 1.33-mile race track. She led the field for the first 28 laps of the event, staying out through the first caution on lap 11. She pitted on the second caution, and came out third after the restart.
Over the next 50 laps, Crocker kept her Dodge in the top 10, passing through traffic and successfully navigating pit stops and restarts. It was evident that she had one of the strongest cars of the field, and on lap 84, with 29 laps to go, she made a three wide pass for the lead out of turn four that had the fans on their feet.
As she headed to turn one in a side-by-side battle for the top spot, the car got loose in the rear and she spun to the grass. Crocker relied on her World of Outlaws experience to control the sliding car and bring it to a stop with no damage. She re-fired the car, brought it back to the pits for four tires and returned to the field in the 14th spot.
Over the next 20 laps, Crocker ran down the rear of the field and worked the lap traffic to gain spots for the finish. She picked up several spots and finished the day in the 12th position.
"It was neat learning to pass cars on the outside here on the concrete track," said Crocker. "I learned a lot as the race progressed. Running out front was great, but I learned a lot more working traffic while coming up through the field. Not only did I learn a lot, it is nice to have my first race and first pit stops behind me. I feel like I passed a ton of cars out there today and gained a lot of knowledge overall."
For Ray Evernham, president and CEO of Evernham Motorsports, it was a proud day.
"Today was a testament to the hard work of everyone on this team," said Evernham. "The guys built a really fast Dodge, and Erin did a terrific job putting it on the pole. She worked hard all race long to protect the race car and gain spots on the field. And, she learned a lot working the race traffic and getting in and out of the pits. She proved today that she's got a lot of talent. And when she went three-wide for the lead, she proved she's got the courage and focus it takes to be successful in this sport."
Crocker will run several additional ARCA races this season, and will make her NASCAR Busch Series debut later this season. She also will compete in the USAC Silver Crown Series in a car fielded by Kasey Kahne Racing.