Daytona: Season opener preview

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Competition in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is heating up a little earlier than usual this Speedweeks. After a long off-season, the Craftsman Truck drivers can't wait to get back on track. With track activity for the...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Competition in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is heating up a little earlier than usual this Speedweeks.

After a long off-season, the Craftsman Truck drivers can't wait to get back on track. With track activity for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series not slated to begin at Daytona International Speedway until Monday, Feb. 10, some NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers have decided to take their competition to a different level.

Craftsman Truck drivers Terry Cook, Rick Crawford, Brendan Gaughan and Jason Leffler will square off in a head-to-head match at DAYTONA USA's Acceleration Alley on Friday, Feb. 7.

They'll still have the speed, the bumper-to-bumper action and the thrill of Daytona's high banks. But instead of strapping into a Craftsman Truck, they'll be behind the wheel of one of DAYTONA USA's many simulators at Acceleration Alley.

Fans are invited to come watch as the drivers take the green flag at 10:30 a.m. It is guaranteed to be a fierce battle.

"I don't care if we're on the race track or in a video game tournament," said Rick Crawford, driver of the No. 14 Circle Bar Racing Ford. "Plain and simple, I want to win against these guys."

Crawford, who finished second in the point standings last season, is not the only one who plans on showing his prowess at Acceleration Alley. Terry Cook has been brushing up on his gaming abilities at his Indiana home during these past few weeks.

"The older drivers like me probably don't play the video games much, but the younger drivers grew up more in a video game era," said Cook, driver of the No. 29 Power Stroke Diesel Ford.

"They probably have a lot more skills with video games than I ever would, so I am going to do some accelerated learning here in Indianapolis to give me a leg up on the competition," Cook said.

Cook and Crawford both know that the competition won't be taken lightly. After all, the rivalry on track in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is considered to be some of the most action-packed, exciting racing in the country.

That rivalry won't be diminished just because the action is not on the track.

"We need to send a message to the other NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers that we mean business this year, and there is no better way than to start winning right away - on or off the track," said Leffler, driver of the No. 2 ASE Team Racing/Carquest Dodge. "Whether its video games or Daytona's famed 2.5-mile tri-oval, we're going to Florida to win, not for a vacation. Racing is racing, and I like to win."

With bragging rights on the line, there won't be a lack of excitement and intensity at DAYTONA USA. It's anyone's race to win, and each one of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers is ready to get his first checkered flag of the 2003 season.

Craftsman, the Official Tools of NASCAR, has sponsored the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series since it began in 1995. According to a 2001 EquiTrend survey, Craftsman is rated the No. 1 brand in the nation for overall quality. Sears sells more than 1,800 Craftsman hand tools, all made in America and guaranteed forever. Sears offers Craftsman tools, merchandise and related services nationwide through its Full-line stores, Sears Hardware stores, Sears Dealer stores and Orchard Supply Hardware stores, as well as through specialty catalogs and online at www.sears.com.

-nascar/sears-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Jason Leffler , Terry Cook , Rick Crawford , Brendan Gaughan