CRAWFORD HANGS ON FOR 11TH IN ATLANTA After struggling in California, Crew Chief Kevin 'Cowboy' Starland and the Circle Bar/Power Stroke Diesel by International team returned to the Circle Bar shop determined to be better in Atlanta. The team...
CRAWFORD HANGS ON FOR 11TH IN ATLANTA
After struggling in California, Crew Chief Kevin 'Cowboy' Starland and the Circle Bar/Power Stroke Diesel by International team returned to the Circle Bar shop determined to be better in Atlanta. The team reworked their Ford F-150 from top to bottom. With a freshly tweaked aero package and a fresh Roush/Yates motor, Cowboy loaded up CB-20 for the short trip south to Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Cowboy and the Circle Bar/Power Stroke Diesel by International team own the track record in Atlanta and have accomplished everything that one can at a racetrack accept lead the last lap. After a hard week at the shop all the pieces of the puzzle were in place for an assault on that final lap. The Rousch/Yates engines team had delivered a fresh motor earlier in the week but had not quit working. During the week they had found a few more horsepower in a part that was delivered directly to the racetrack and installed on Friday morning for the American Commercial Lines 200. While the Circle Bar/Power Stroke Diesel by International team posted a top 5 spot on average runs during practice Cowboy and driver, Rick Crawford were still struggling with the balance on their Ford F-150. After the rain shortened practice Cowboy changed everything underneath the Circle Bar/Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford F-150 for qualifying. Solidly in the field on owners points, Crawford tiptoed through a couple of laps to get the feel of his freshly changed and vastly improved F-150 and would roll off on the inside of the 10th row.
With feedback from Crawford that their Ford F-150 was better in qualifying the team had high hopes for the race. With the drop of the green flag Crawford was on the move and by the time the first caution flew at lap 18 the 14 was up to 14th. While Crawford had picked up a few spots on the track his Circle Bar/Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford F-150 was a handful. Cowboy called for major changes on the first stop, air pressure, trac bar, a round of wedge, 4 Goodyears and a load of Sunoco fuel all of this while the Circle Bar over the wall crew picked up a spot on pit road. Back on track the Circle Bar/Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford F-150 was better and picked up a few more spots to 11th. On lap 42 under caution Crawford would bring his ailing machine back to the attention of Cowboy and crew. Trac bar, 2 rounds of wedge and a fill up with no tires picked up 4 spots on pit road and the team would go out in the 7th position. With no tires the Ford F-150 was slipping and sliding all over the high banks of Atlanta Motor Speedway and the Circle Bar/Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford started to loose positions. On lap 91 the Crawford would come to pit road for a rare green flag pit stop. A quick stop by the over the wall crew and the team would stay in the top 20 but the green flag stop would put them a lap down. With 20 laps to go the race was stopped for rain and under the caution Cowboy would throw one more set of changes at the evil 14 machine. A trac bar change along with an air pressure adjustment, plus a spring rubber in the left rear would band aid up the Circle Bar/Power Stroke Diesel by International machine for the final 20-lap shootout. With 15 to go Crawford was up to 17th, 2 more laps he was 14th, 2 more and he was up to 12th. By the time the checkered flag flew Circle Bar/Power Stroke Diesel by International team had recovered to an 11th place finish. Leading the last lap will have to wait until October.
Kevin 'Cowboy' Starland: We just don't have a handle on the new package yet. The guys are working hard but we are just not quite where we want to be. Next week we'll test for Martinsville and get back to some short track racing."
Rick Crawford on Atlanta: "I turned more to the right tonight than I did to the left. Our Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford F-Series pickup wasn't what we were looking for here in Atlanta. It needed some correcting after it got a new set of tires. We were trying our best to be best in class and just ended up one spot back. We tried to adjust on it all night, a trac bar adjustment, a wedge adjustment, an air pressure adjustment. We were helping ourselves, we were extending our run from four laps, to 10 laps to maybe 15 laps but we never could put the full run together. That lengthy run there in the middle where we all had green flag pit stops hurt a little bit because we lasted as far as we could with an ill handling truck. Kevin Starland [crew chief] and the whole Circle Bar Racing team we didn't give up. We started 19th and finished 11th. It could have been a lot worse, like I say and if I can't emphasize enough, we're built Ford tough."