Dan Binks #50, Rick Crawford #14 interviews

This Week in Ford Racing August 7, 2001 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series As the Craftsman Truck Series competitors prepare to make their first visit to the 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway, the teams will be faced with another challenge - the ...

This Week in Ford Racing
August 7, 2001

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series

As the Craftsman Truck Series competitors prepare to make their first visit to the 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway, the teams will be faced with another challenge - the replacement of the 830-cfm carburetor with the 390-cfm carburetor. NASCAR announced on Friday that beginning in Nashville, and for the remainder of the season, the 390-cfm carburetor would replace the 830-cfm carburetor in an attempt to decrease speeds, horsepower and RPMs. Ford Racing crew chief Dan Binks and driver Rick Crawford discussed the mid-season change and how it will affect them for the remainder of the season. The carburetors have been run twice this season, first at Texas Motor Speedway in June and then at Kansas Speedway in July.

DAN BINKS, Crew Chief-50-Eldon Ford F-150

IS THE CHANGE A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION FOR THE SERIES?
"I think it is; I'm looking forward to it. It's easier on the engine and it's going to make everything more even. I think it will help to even out the Dodges, the Chevys and the Fords."

WILL IT LOWER YOUR MOTOR COSTS?
"I think it will lower the engine costs because the engine shop is telling me that you can run it almost twice as far. I'm sure that's just for a limited time. I'm sure that with cam development they'll make them shorter lived, but right at the moment, we can run them a long time."

WHY IS THAT?
"With the 390 carburetor you get a little less horsepower and a lot less RPM. Before, we were running them near 9000 going into the corners, and now we'll only get in the 8000 range."

YOU HAVE A BUSCH PROGRAM TO TURN TO FOR HELP. DO YOU SEE THAT AS A MAJOR ADVANTAGE?
"Yeah, but so does Hendrick, and the Dodge guys have been working on it. They just got the Busch car approved through NASCAR so you know they've been working on the motor for that already, and that's basically what we're running - a Busch motor. They may whine a little bit, but they been working on it, like it or not. And, they ran pretty good at Texas. Coy Gibbs has a team with a Busch motor program, too. Just about everybody that gets engines has somebody to lean on."

IS THERE MUCH R&D NEEDED FOR YOU TO MAKE THE CHANGE?
"It's limited. Obviously, we spent our R&D for the big motor and there really wasn't much left."

THE TRUCKS WENT FROM 9.5:1 COMPRESSION MOTORS TO 12:1 MOTORS AT THE START OF THE SEASON, AND NOW NASCAR IS TRYING TO SLOW THEM DOWN.
"We'll, at least this way we don't have to go to restrictor plates, which was the way this thing was headed. I'd much rather have something you can drive and carburate instead of putting a restrictor plate on a bigger motor and the thing won't run right. If you're going to slow them down, this is the way you need to do it with the 390 carburetor."

WHY MAKE THE CHANGE MID-SEASON?
"Everybody is getting ready for next season already. There really isn't much of a difference between the two engines. The pistons don't change, the cams change but you have to buy new cams anyway, so that's not too bad. It gives everybody some time before Daytona to be ready and have their programs full steam ahead."

THIS IS THE FIRST SUPERSPEEDWAY RACE WITH THE NEW FRONT FASCIA ON THE FORDS.
"It's going to be real here. I expect to run up front. We've been struggling the whole time with front traction, getting the thing to turn. From everything we've done in the wind tunnel to testing with it some young drivers, I think it's going to be better. We did it as a real piece when we tested at Chicago with Kyle Busch. We had some data to compare it to because we ran there earlier in the season, and we feel like it's going to show up on the track this weekend."

RICK CRAWFORD-14-Milwaukee Electric Tool Ford F-150

IS THE CHANGE A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION FOR THE SERIES?
"I'm not sure about it being in the right direction or not, but I'm glad to have some direction. It's a situation you're put in because you don't want the rules to change from one week to the next. We've run the 390 carburetor before, we've run it with fresh air hoses and I think it's just a matter of getting tuned up for it. Once you get settled in and once you get to doing it, then it's up to the engine builder to make sure everything is right. And, I think Ernie Elliott is one of those that can make sure it is right and give you a good combination to put Ford in Victory Lane."

IS THIS PARTICULAR CHANGE EASIER WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE AN IN-HOUSE ENGINE PROGRAM, AND IT'S TOTALLY IN THE HANDS OF YOUR ENGINE SUPPLIER?
"That's true, but on the other hand, some of the other guys with in-house engine programs have already run this particular engine configuration. Ernie probably hasn't had a Busch program to fall back on, but from what I felt the other night, running an Ernie Elliott motor for the first time, I was pretty impressed. I don't think we'll be too far off come Nashville or for the future."

WILL THIS ALLOW ENGINE PARTS TO LAST LONGER?
"Naturally, it's going to cut down on some of the speeds because of less air and less fuel. As far making engines last longer, Winston Cup engines last 500 miles and they run the same RPM that we do. We only run 200 to 250 miles per race, so I don't think that engines staying together has anything to do with it. I do, however, feel that this is the time for a rule change and especially to stay with a rule change. I think we were heading this way next year, like it or not, so that we can cut down on some of the speeds when we get to the bigger race tracks."

DOES THE MID-SEASON TIMING ALLOW SOME TEAMS THAT DON'T HAVE R&D BUDGETS TO KEEP PACE FOR NEXT YEAR, RATHER THAN MAKING THE CHANGE IN THE OFF-SEASON?
"No, I really don't see it that way. The way I see it is going to race tracks like Texas, California, Vegas and Nashville, these are all high-speed race tracks. I think the 390 carburetor was adopted because of safety. I think they need to slow the trucks down a little bit for the field in general. What they were seeing with the big carburetors, I feel, was when we had fresh air going to the big carburetor, we were running as fast as Winston Cup, especially at Daytona. We need to calm it down somewhat, and I think they want to calm it down some and provide closer racing at a driveable speed."

THE TRUCKS WENT FROM 9.5:1 COMPRESSION MOTORS TO 12:1 MOTORS AT THE START OF THE SEASON, AND TEAMS HAVE SPENT A LOT OF MONEY MAKING THE CHANGE. HAS THAT BEEN THE REASON THE TRUCK COUNT HAS BEEN LOW THIS YEAR?
"I see the truck count falling down just like Winston Cup or Busch because of the economy. The economy is coming back, and just like the truck count was at IRP this week, I think it was pretty good, and I think it's on the upswing just like the economy. I think the racing fraternity in general felt a little bit off a crunch in the last three to four months with expenditures for racing. I feel like when we get out of that, the truck count will come back and be in the big picture again."

THIS WILL BE THE SECOND RACE WITH THE NEW FRONT FASCIA FOR THE FORD. DID IT CHANGE THE BALANCE OF THE TRUCK LAST WEEK?
"I think I could say yes. I felt it when I was behind another truck; it still kept the downforce on the truck rather than losing it. I know on several occasions prior to this race that you've got to push on your truck to follow the truck in front. At IRP, we had a great truck. Ray Stonkus put a good chassis on Milwaukee Electric Tool truck, and when it got ready to turn in the middle of the corner, I could turn it and get back under the other truck and complete the pass. I hope that's what it did. We didn't have turning all weekend because of the downforce on the nose. I hope that's what it does, and I hope that what it does at Nashville."

IT IS TOUGHER WHEN YOU HAVE A NEW PIECE, LIKE THE NOSE, AND HAVE TO RACE AT A TRACK YOU'VE NEVER BEEN TO BEFORE, OR IT IS EASIER BECAUSE IT'S A FRESH START AND YOU'RE NOT INFLUENCED BY PAST NOTES?
"Well, you've been looking for that every race. You've been looking for downforce on the nose every race. That helps the stability of the truck and that helps provide downforce on the nose. If you add in that situation and then reduce drag at the same time, then that's helping the complete package. If it adds too much to the front, that's when the crew chief comes into play with the communication to the driver to fix it. Maybe this weekend at Nashville, if you have a good turning truck that's one thing, but if you have a truck that won't turn due to a lack of downforce, then you're in trouble. At least it gives you something to work with."

DO YOU EXPECT NASHVILLE TO BE THE BREAKTHROUGH RACE FOR FORD AS FAR AS GETTING INTO VICTORY LANE?
"I can play the electric guitar, so that's what I'm looking for."

-Ford Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Coy Gibbs , Rick Crawford , Kyle Busch