Concord, NC - Ray Stonkus, has joined the ...
Concord, NC - Ray Stonkus, has joined the #14 Milwaukee Electric Tool/Circle Bar race team of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The move is somewhat of a reunion for most involved in the Circle Bar Racing organization. Rick Crawford, who has driven for Circle Bar over the past nine seasons, and Stonkus, worked together in the All-Pro Series back in 1995. This too, was a driver/crew chief combo under the Circle Bar Racing banner.
Ray is a 40-year racing veteran who most recently worked as a crew chief for Kevin Lepage of the Busch Grand National Series. For the past five years Ray has worked in the Busch Series, mostly with the #59 ST Motorsports race team.
"What our team needs right now is a talented crew chief with the knowledge and leadership to take us to the next level. Having an experienced crew chief is a necessity today in the Craftsman Truck Series. It's gotten so competitive, and Ray bring that needed experience to the table," stated driver, Rick Crawford.
The team showed some strides last season in their efforts to become a weekly contender as they routinely finished in the top-10. Ironically, the team's best finish came at Dover with Ray Stonkus as interim crew chief. That was a third place finish behind the "Killer Bees" (Kurt Busch and Greg Biffle) of Roush Racing. That day the young pit crew stole the show with lightning fast pit stops of their own.
When asked about the reunion with Crawford and Circle Bar, Stonkus stated, "I really believe this is going to materialize into something good. Rick and me, we have fun. I think we can look forward to good things. Our relationship and rapport is the same as it was five years ago and we will do everything it takes to win. The pieces are there and if we use them, the success will come, but there are no guarantees in this business."
Milwaukee Electric Tool returns as primary sponsor of the #14 Circle Bar Ford and the team will continue to utilize Roush manufactured horsepower next season. Stonkus is right about one thing, the pieces are there for a very good team to be even better in 2001.