DAYTONA BEACH, FL (February 6, 2003) - Based on past performance, Terry Cook and his No. 29 Power StrokeÂ® Diesel Ford have to be considered as favorites to win the 2003 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season-opening race at Daytona International ...
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (February 6, 2003) - Based on past performance, Terry Cook and his No. 29 Power Stroke® Diesel Ford have to be considered as favorites to win the 2003 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway.
"We've had some great runs at Daytona in the past and I'm confident we're going to have the Power Stroke Diesel Ford near or at the front again this season," said Cook, who is the only driver on the NCTS tour to come under the checkered flag in the Top-10 in all three series events at Daytona. "We were a little disappointed with the outcome of last year's race, but that's all behind us now."
Cook qualified 20th and rolled to an apparent sixth-place finish in last year's Daytona Truck Series classic only to have NASCAR disallow the solid effort after a post-race inspection revealed a minor technical infraction. The decision officially dropped Cook to a 36th-place finish.
"We had a great race truck and were able to drive it up near the front early on and lead some laps," said Cook of last year's Daytona race. "We had some aero problems because we lost some tape off the front grill and were pushing out more air than other trucks were. I could get up to lead the draft, but I as soon as I would lead, I would keep getting shuffled back to second or third pretty quickly.
"Near the end of the race, we worked ourselves back to second place and were in a great position on the green-white-checkered flag shootout," Cook continued. "Unfortunately, there were no Fords in my rear view mirror and we got shuffled back to sixth. Then, in post-race technical inspection, we were issued a penalty and it was devastating. At least we could hold our heads up high because we ran well, but it was a bittersweet day." Cook's top effort last year came on the heels of a fourth-place finish in the inaugural Daytona Truck Series race in 2000 and a sixth-place run in 2001. Based on those finishes, it's easy to see why Cook expects to be up-front at the 2.5-mile, high-banked oval again this season.
"From the time I went there as a little boy, I have always loved Daytona," said Cook. "There's something about racing there that suits me and my style of racing. It will be very important to finish well there again because it gives you momentum for the rest of the season. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has a month off after Daytona and in this sport you are only as good as you are your last race. A good finish for the Power Stroke Diesel Ford by International will give us a lot of confidence going into the next race at Darlington."
Cook and his No. 29 Power Stroke® Diesel Ford will take the green flag at Daytona (FL) International Speedway Friday, February 14 at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The 250-mile event will be the first of 25 NCTS events telecast live on the Speed Channel this season. MRN Radio will also broadcast the entire NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule on more than 350 stations worldwide in 2003.
ABOUT INTERNATIONAL TRUCK AND ENGINE COMPANY
International Truck and Engine Corporation is the operating company of Navistar International Corporation (NYSE: NAV). International Truck and Engine is a leading producer of mid-range diesel engines, medium trucks, heavy trucks, severe service vehicles, and a provider of parts and service sold under the International® brand. The company also is a private label designer and manufacturer of diesel engines for the pickup truck, van and SUV markets. Additionally, through a joint venture with Ford Motor Company, the company will build medium commercial trucks and currently sells and services truck and diesel engine parts. International Truck and Engine has the broadest distribution network in the industry. Financing for customers and dealers is provided through a wholly owned subsidiary of Navistar. Additional information can be found on the company's Web site at www.InternationalDelivers.com.