Crawford wins Daytona after a 120-race drought

Daytona Beach, FL - Following a caution flag brought out by a spinning Chad Chaffin, the field took the green flag with 10 laps to go. Rick Crawford quickly grabbed the lead from Brendan Gaughan in his ...

Daytona Beach, FL - Following a caution flag brought out by a spinning Chad Chaffin, the field took the green flag with 10 laps to go. Rick Crawford quickly grabbed the lead from Brendan Gaughan in his #62 Dodge as he led a string full of Ford contenders. From that point on, Crawford staked his claim on the leader's point as he claimed the win in the season opening 250-mile event.

With the Craftsman Truck division mandating a green-white checkered rule so that no race ends under yellow, Mike Wallace was the first truck to make a move following the restart after a caution was brought out by Dodge driver Bill Lester. Lester was one of many to suffer a cut tire. As the tire let go, he lost control of the truck with three laps left to run. Also caught up in the incident; TJ Mennen, Randy Briggs and Tina Gordon.

When the green fell for the final time, Wallace got shuffled back in the pack as Robert Pressley made his charge for the lead. With help from Bobby Hamilton, Pressley took the point but as the field entered turn four, Crawford surged past Pressley to grab the win.

"We went to turn three, I had the inside line, I knew it pushed good on the bottom," an excited Crawford stated from Victory Lane. Crawford, who finished second in CTS points in 2002, had been winless in the past 120 starts.

Travis Kvapil grabbed the runner-up spot in his first ride with the #16 IWX team. Pressley ended up in the third spot with Bobby Hamilton and Andy Houston close out the top five.

Wallace, Dennis Setzer, Jon Wood, Terry Cook and the 2002 Raybestos Rookie of the Year Brendan Gaughan round out the top-10 finishers.

The first caution flag of the day flew on lap three when the Spears Manufacturing entry piloted by David Starr met the inside retaining wall. The accident occurred as a pack of trucks were running three wide. Starr's #75 broke loose, shot up track, banged doors with the #52 of Mike Wallace and spun through the infield where he sustained sever front end impact.

Jason Leffler continues to tally up poles and maintain a big zero in the win column. Leffler grabbed his ninth career pole for the 250-mile event but his day ended early on lap 42 after his Ultra Motorsports teammate Ted Musgrave lost a tire. Just following a pitstop in which the team put on a fresh set of Goodyears, Musgrave drove along as his left rear tire lost its tread. His #1 Dodge Ram then spun into the path of Michael Dokken. Musgrave shot down track, only to spin up into Leffler.

Dokken's 93 machine lost a fuel pump in the tangled mess and burst into flames. Dokken, Musgrave and Leffler escaped the incident uninjured.

With the Craftsman Trucks running wide open at 8,000 RPMs around the Daytona International Speedway, the racing was fierce, fast and most importantly, unrestricted when it came to charging for the win, unlike their counterparts in the Busch and Winston Cup ranks who are required to run a restrictor plate over the carburetor.

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Jason Leffler , David Starr , Mike Wallace , Andy Houston , Robert Pressley , Ted Musgrave , Dennis Setzer , Terry Cook , Jon Wood , Tina Gordon , Bill Lester , Brendan Gaughan , Chad Chaffin , Randy Briggs , Travis Kvapil