The Nextel: Ricky Craven preview

HICKORY, NC (May 17, 2004) - Ricky Craven, driver of the No. 32 Tide Chevrolet, will make his fourth appearance in the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. Craven has qualified for three All-Star events, by winning races at Martinsville in 2001, at...

HICKORY, NC (May 17, 2004) - Ricky Craven, driver of the No. 32 Tide Chevrolet, will make his fourth appearance in the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. Craven has qualified for three All-Star events, by winning races at Martinsville in 2001, at Darlington in 2003 and he raced his way into the "show" in 1997 by winning "The Open."

Ricky Craven, driver of the No. 32 Tide Chevrolet:

What do you think of the new format of the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge?

"I like it but it really isn't that much different than before other than the inversion being a random draw instead of fan voting. For the past two years with the Tide team, we have made it into the final round regardless. I'm really excited about being in the event this year. I know that this year's reformatting came in an effort to stop the supposed 'sandbagging' some drivers were accused of, but I never concerned myself with that because I was always running as hard as I could."

This year, Lowe's Motor Speedway announced the three most memorable All-Star races in its 20-year history. From a fan standpoint, what was your all-time favorite finish and do you have a favorite that you competed in?

"All of them have been really good, but from a fan's standpoint, I think my favorite All-Star event was in 1992. I remember how Davey Allison and Kyle Petty got together at the start/finish line. That was a really good race and Davey ended up against the frontstretch wall and never made it to victory lane. A classic!"

You've seemed to finish well in every special event during the All-Star weekend. Does this type of racing really suit your style?

"I like Charlotte and I always enjoy racing there, so maybe that is why I've done well there. I think it is a lot of fun to go into a weekend with no points consequences and just enjoy yourself. It is really a racer's dream to not have to have any regard at any point of the race the effect on points."

Team Fun: Craven is hosting his Annual Lobster Fest for all the team members at PPI Motorsports and their families on the Sunday after the All-Star Challenge. Craven is flying in close to 500 lobsters from his home state of Maine to feed the whole crew. While there will be ribbing to see who can eat the most lobsters, the crew has been "smack talking" for weeks now over who will win the softball challenge. The teams are divided up between the shop guys and the road guys, and they are so serious about the game, they have hired outside referees to insure unbiased calls! Craven will serve as the pitcher for both sides. He said, "I want to make sure that everyone receives the same, bad pitching!"

Happy Birthday! Craven celebrates his birthday on Monday, May 24th! Craven would like nothing more than to win the All-Star Event as an early birthday present.

Chassis No. 53: The Tide Racing team is taking Chassis No. 53 to the All-Star Challenge this weekend. It is a brand new car and has not turned any competed in a race this year yet.

-ppir-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ricky Craven , Davey Allison