ERIN CROCKER TO RACE POCONO RACEWAY IN NO. 98 AUTO VALUE/BUMPER TO BUMPER DODGE CHARGER STATESVILLE, NC (July 19, 2005) -- Evernham Motorsports driver Erin Crocker will shift gears this weekend and head to Pocono Raceway for...
ERIN CROCKER TO RACE POCONO RACEWAY IN NO. 98 AUTO VALUE/BUMPER TO BUMPER DODGE CHARGER
STATESVILLE, NC (July 19, 2005) -- Evernham Motorsports driver Erin Crocker will shift gears this weekend and head to Pocono Raceway for the Pennsylvania 200 in the ARCA RE/MAX Series. She will take on the 2.5-mile triangle in her fourth ARCA RE/MAX Series start in the No. 98 Auto Value/Bumper-to-Bumper Dodge Charger.
Crocker enters the race coming off a near-win two weeks ago in the ARCA RE/MAX Series event at Kentucky Speedway. She started on the pole and finished second in just her third race on pavement. She also recorded a top-10 finish last month at Michigan, where she started and finished seventh in just her second race as a developmental driver for Evernham Motorsports.
The No. 98 Auto Value/Bumper-to-Bumper Dodge team will prepare the chassis that Casey Atwood took to victory at Pocono in the ARCA Series in 2003. Team Director Chris Andrews will call the shots from the pit box, while team owner Ray Evernham will serve as spotter.
Erin Crocker on Pocono
"We haven't tested at Pocono, but Evernham Motorsports has always been strong there. Jeremy has always been good there, and I'm doing an appearance with him tomorrow so he's going to fill me in on his secrets. I've also been watching his in-car camera.
"It will be the biggest track I've ever been on. I'm excited about it. The thing that's going to be the biggest challenge is the whole idea of shifting. I haven't had to do that at any track I've been to. There's really no way to practice that until we get there. I've been watching the videos and I'm going to talk with Bill Elliott tomorrow, but I think it's hard to practice until you can get in the car and get on the track."
Do you have any experience at Pocono?
"I've heard that a lot of drivers really like Pocono. I went there when I was 10 years old because my brother was in a driving school there but I don't really remember it. It is neat to be closer to home than other tracks where we race. My two brothers and a few other family members are coming this weekend for the race. It's nice to have them there and I appreciate the support but it really doesn't add any pressure."
What does the rest of the season look like for you?
"I'm excited that Ray has added a race for me. I'm just anxious to get in the car and get some more experience and seat time. I'm going to run a few more ARCA races and some Busch races later this year, along with a limited Silver Crown schedule."
Have you gotten more comfortable in the car?
"From the first race in Nashville to the third race in Kentucky I can tell a big difference. When you're in the car you don't realize you're more comfortable, but when you look back at the race and think about how much easier it was to go through traffic and move around in the car, you realize how much you've learned. When I think back to the first race, I was a lot more timid because I didn't know what the car would do. When I look back now, I can tell there is a big difference."
How did it feel challenging for the win at Kentucky?
"We were racing really hard those last 10 laps at Kentucky. The more and more comfortable I get with the car, the harder I can race. I felt really good and we definitely had the fastest car on the track. Once I got to Chad Blount I couldn't really do anything with him. I was faster to the center of the turn but he would beat me off. If I was a little more experienced I might have been able to find a way around him. For now, I wanted to get a solid finish. I'm pretty happy with the second and now we just have to keep improving. That only leaves one position."
What did you learn about saving the tires on those last laps?
"I did learn a good bit about saving the tires. By the time I caught Chad with just a few laps to go I had pretty much abused those tires and started sliding the nose. As soon as I slid the nose twice, the tires didn't come back for a few laps. Maybe if I had approached it a little calmer I could have saved those tires and gotten a good run on him. I didn't realize how much they would drop off as soon as they heated up."
What do you think your prospects are for this weekend?
"Obviously, I'd like to win. We've made progress every race, but I still have a lot to learn. I just want to get some more laps and this will be a different type of track for me so it will be some more experience. If I ever hope to run NASCAR Nextel Cup I'll need to race here, so it will be a good learning experience."