>From NASCAR and Chevrolet. RICKY CRAVEN (No. 41 Kodiak Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "I knew Kyle Petty was good, and Mark Martin and Terry Labonte had won two of the last three poles. It was a disappointment last year. We wanted to...
>From NASCAR and Chevrolet.
RICKY CRAVEN (No. 41 Kodiak Chevrolet Monte Carlo)
"I knew Kyle Petty was good, and Mark Martin and Terry Labonte had won two of the last three poles. It was a disappointment last year. We wanted to be in the Busch Clash real bad. Our plan has been altered, since we left Daytona I think, and that's been good. We've got a good group of guys, and I'm really fortunate I've been able to get such a great group of people to work with. A lot of things have changed since my rookie season, and I've got to admit I underestimated our potential a little bit, but we've still got a long way to go. The pole is wonderful, and being in the Busch Clash is one of my ultimate goals. I'm thankful for that, but we still have a lot of work to do.
"Jeff and I had talked about qualifying, and he thought he could run about what we ran. He thought he could run about a 30 (20.30 seconds), and I said I'd take that. Braking is such an important part of the equation in qualifying here. It takes at least a lap to get some decent brakes. I didn't think we could duplicate what we did in practice. We didn't have enough brakes last year in the race, but 300 laps here in the Busch Grand National car was pretty successful for us. Last year, the brakes kind of gave out on us here after 300 or 400 laps. I'm really thankful Larry Andy I talked Charley Pressley into coming aboard with us. He's doing a great job. Last year we were competing against Charley and Robert for rookie of the year. For us to be able to work so well together, he's the best I've worked with. He understands me, and he compliments me. Actually, our personalities are a lot alike.
"Obviously you've got to finish before you can finish well, and we've been finishing races, Every element of our program knows how important it is. For me personally, one of my strengths while I've been racing is that I've worked on my race car. As I got into Winston Cup, it became one of my weaknesses. When you get in with this crowd, you need to do one thing well, and that's drive a race car. That was a little bit of an obstacle last year. I was thinking about working on the race car. That's what Scott Maxim and Charley and the guys have taken off me this year. They've taken that burden off me and allowed me to focus on driving. I'm very happy. I can't imagine if somebody asked me to write a book on the perfect life of a race car driver, it would be pretty easy because it would be 1996 for me. I'm really focused on racing.
"Pit stops are critical and that's another example of how this team has matured. We've got a lot of young crew members. You'd marvel at how many hours they put into practice. Along with building the race cars and assembling the pieces, they'll stop at 5 o'clock and practice pit stops for a couple of hours. it's so dangerous when this becomes as enjoyable as it is for all of us. It was really a big struggle coming into the series. I put a lot of pressure on myself, but it's really becoming a lot of fun."
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