DAYTONA BEACH, FL (February 16, 2001) - It didn't take long for Terry Cook to establish himself as one of the favorites to win Friday's Florida Dodge Dealers 250 at Daytona International Speedway. Cook, who started 16th in the Hot ...
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (February 16, 2001) - It didn't take long for Terry Cook to establish himself as one of the favorites to win Friday's Florida Dodge Dealers 250 at Daytona International Speedway.
Cook, who started 16th in the Hot Jobs.Com/K-Automotive Ford F-150, rocketed to the third position in the first three laps of the season-opening NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series tilt. From there, the Sylvania, OH driver diced with the leaders throughout the 100-lap event on the 2.5-mile Daytona oval eventually coming home sixth.
"My truck wanted to head to the front and I was more than happy to be along for the ride," said Cook of the blazing early-race run. "I was just in the right place at the right time and my K-Automotive truck was up to the task."
Cook, who finished fourth in last year's inaugural Daytona NCTS 250-mile clash, wasn't satisfied to ride around in the Top-5 taking the lead for the first time on Lap 24. In all, Cook managed to take the point three times in the event, the last coming just past the midway point of the race.
"I really have to hand it to this K-Automotive race team," said Cook. "At Daytona, the vehicle is everything. The driver really plays a small part. We put our deal together with Ford right after the first of the year and the team built, tested and perfected our new trucks in a little over a month. That really says something for Bob, Ron and Kay Keselowski. I knew I was getting hooked up with quality people and a quality team heading into this deal, but I think today was the first time I really realized how lucky I am to be with this organization."
Cook might have had his second straight Top-5 at Daytona if it wasn't for a fickle drafting fate late in the race.
"I was up there running with Joe (eventual winner Joe Ruttman) and Ricky (runner-up Ricky Hendrick) and I got shuffled back to 10th or so in the late going," said Cook, 14th in the final NCTS season standings a year ago. "We really had to scramble there at the end and if the outside line moves up on the last lap, we have a Top-5 easy. Unfortunately, the bottom surged on the last lap and a couple of trucks got the push they needed to get by me. Still, I'm elated to finish sixth, not just for me, but for everyone associated with our program."
Cook was the highest finishing Ford Truck in the race, a solid achievement considering the factory backed Blue Oval team has yet to secure a primary sponsor for the 2001 NCTS season.
"We had HotJobs.Com on the hood for this race only and we certainly appreciate that," stated Cook. "I'd like to think this kind of run shows what we're capable of on the track. The K-Automotive record speaks for itself - a seventh in the points last year and a third the year before. This team is a proven winner and we're ready to do everything necessary both on and off the track to make a sponsor successful. I love racing at Daytona and the high-speed tracks, but I know we're going to be just as strong everywhere we race this season. That's got to have value for a company looking to tie their efforts to a successful NASCAR race team and marketing program."
Cook and the K-Automotive Ford will next take on the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Florida Dodge Dealers 400 Sunday, March 4. The event will be telecast live on ESPN with the green flag falling at 1 p.m. Eastern Time.