DAYTONA BEACH, FL (February 14, 2003) - After 105 laps of hard racing at Daytona International Speedway, Terry Cook had just one thing on his mind - winning the season-opening NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. "If I had to do it all over...
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (February 14, 2003) - After 105 laps of hard racing at Daytona International Speedway, Terry Cook had just one thing on his mind - winning the season-opening NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race.
"If I had to do it all over again, I would because this Power Stroke Diesel Ford team is racing to win," said Cook who went from second to ninth on the final lap of the 106-Lap event. "Second place is the first loser and we don't want to settle because we want to win. We were set to do everything in our power to do that. I took the shot when I had it and unfortunately Robert Pressley got me on the outside and then I didn't have any help at all because he had people lined up behind him."
Cook's Power Diesel Ford started the 250-mile event on the Daytona 2.5-mile superspeedway from the fifth spot and battled handling problems over the first 40 laps of the race. Crisp pit work by Cook's K-Automotive race team rectified the handling problems during their first pit stop keeping Cook in sight of lead and fellow Ford driver Rick Crawford.
"Crawford and I were definitely working together today because we knew we had to," said Cook, who along with Crawford, the eventual winner, worked their way to the lead with 25 laps remaining. "We were doing everything to get what we could. We were working around the track trying to see where Crawford's weaknesses were, but we couldn't find a weakness on him."
The two Fords continued to lead the field as the pack crossed under the white flag for the final lap. Cook darted his Power Stroke Diesel to the top of the racetrack entering Turn 1 and appeared to be headed to the lead only to have Pressley make it three-wide midway through the corner. Now stuck in the middle of the pack without drafting help, Cook slid back in the field, his hopes of victory dashed with a disappointing ninth-place finish.
"It was a situation where I jumped outside to try and real him in," said Cook. "I tried to stay close to Crawford to keep the air flow off while we were racing down the backstretch. Pressley got me on the outside and I didn't have any help at all because he had people lined up behind him. I was shuffled back to ninth after running in the Top-5 all day long."
Cook earned $17,150 and is eighth in the 2003 Truck Series championship standings, 42 markers out of first. The Pittsboro, IN resident will try to break into the win column at Darlington (SC) Raceway, the next stop on the tour.
"Darlington Raceway is one of my favorite tracks to race the No. 29 Power Stroke Diesel Ford on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series circuit," said Cook. "They call it the track 'Too Tough to Tame'. I am not saying that I've ever even tamed the track or anybody ever has, but it's a driver's track. It is a track where you can have the best handling race vehicle, but you still have to have a driver that's aggressive enough, but not too aggressive to get around that track."
The Craftsman 200 at Darlington Raceway will take the green flag Friday, March 14 at 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The event will be telecast live on Speed Channel and broadcast live on MRN Radio nationwide.