Crawford's Season Starts Different than Expected Daytona Beach, FL - The 2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season didn't begin the way Rick Crawford and his Circle Bar Racing team anticipated. Crawford had planned on racing his way to the lead...
Crawford's Season Starts Different than Expected
Daytona Beach, FL - The 2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season didn't begin the way Rick Crawford and his Circle Bar Racing team anticipated. Crawford had planned on racing his way to the lead in the Florida Dodge Dealers 250 Friday, at the Daytona International Speedway and held to that plan. However, it came at the expense of a lengthy stay on the famed speedways pit road servicing a severed brake line.
As the green flag dropped on the new truck series year, Crawford and crew picked up where their 2001 season came to an end, heading towards the front. Crawford was able to quickly draft his way from a 22nd starting position towards the top-ten. However, the opportunity to showcase the strength of his patriotically painted F-150 was taken away early as he was sent sliding after being tapped from behind.
"We basically got punted," stated Crawford. "I was slowly working my way towards the front and just trying to stay out of trouble. Someone checked up in front of us, and when I slowed to miss them I got hit from behind."
The accident resulted in nothing more than cosmetic damage to the nose and tail of Crawford's F-150 and after stopping on lap 23 for repairs, he returned to the track in an attempt to continue his march towards the front. The problems however continued for the Circle Bar team, as Rick experienced a flat right side tire as the green flag flew on lap 25.
"On the restart I knew I had a right rear tire going down and when the tire blew it knocked off the rear brakeline," said Crawford. "The guys had to do everything they could to slow the truck down when I came into the pits and worked hard to get us back on the track."
After returning to the action, Crawford proved that he had the strongest truck on the 2.5-mile Superspeedway. Even being seven laps down to the leaders could not hold back the march of the number 14. Crawford started his trek to the front and passed nearly every truck on the track gaining back one of his lost laps.
"The Circle Bar Ford was the toughest truck on the track today," said Crawford. "I came from the rear of the field, seven laps down with a wrinkled truck and passed the leaders pulling away. I knew I didn't have the truck to win by that point, but I was determined to show the field and the fans that we came to Daytona to win. I think we were able to accomplish that and stay in camera range."
Although Crawford suffered an early accident and loss of brakes, he drove his Circle Bar Racing Ford to a 24th place finish in the 2002 Craftsman Truck Series season opener. Crawford's drive to the front and continued intensity showed that he is among the best drivers in the series and will be seriously considered as a contender in 2002.