Dover race notes

DOVER, Del. - Rick Crawford had nobody to blame but himself for the pit miscue that likely kept the veteran driver from breaking a three-year, 81-race victory drought. And Crawford did. Having dominated the majority of the first half of ...

DOVER, Del. - Rick Crawford had nobody to blame but himself for the pit miscue that likely kept the veteran driver from breaking a three-year, 81-race victory drought. And Crawford did.

Having dominated the majority of the first half of Saturday's weather-delayed MBNA e-commerce 200, Crawford went to pit road under caution on lap 112. Crawford, however, failed to stop his Milwaukee Electric Tool Ford inside the pit box and he was forced to surrender a lap as penalty for the infraction.

The 42-year-old Alabama driver took the heat when the race had been run and he'd finished 14th. "I didn't see the black line on the pit lane. We had a leftside tire change and I was trying to give the guys enough room to do their duty on the left side and try to make up some spots we lost on the stop before," he explained. "That was my fault."

Terry Cook, flagged for the same rule violation on the same pit sequence (as was Joe Ruttman), had this to say: "NASCAR has been a little more strict the past couple of weeks. We learned at Pikes Peak that NASCAR wasn*t going to let the teams slide in the pits. We were only over (the line) by a few inches but those are the rules. I like NASCAR doing it. What*s fair is fair, as long as they do it across the board."

***

Joe Gibbs Racing took its NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series engine program in-house to Mark Cronquist, beginning with the weekend*s event at Dover Downs International Speedway, and the move paid immediate dividends. Coy Gibbs, who*d fallen out of the top 10 in the point standings after four finishes of 15th or worse, bounced back with a fifth-place run * first ever in the top five for the former Stanford University linebacker.

"This is where we needed to do it, too, here on (team sponsor) MBNA*s home track," said Gibbs.

***

Late-arriving Rick Hendrick, delayed by weather, was rethinking his trip after Scott Riggs made a late charge to displace Hendrick Motorsports* Jack Sprague and Ricky Hendrick from the race*s one-two positions.

"Before I landed, it seemed like our trucks were gonna be one and two,* quipped Hendrick, standing under an umbrella. *Maybe I should have stayed away."

***

Nathan Buttke*s 18th-place finish in the Ware Racing Enterprises FansTeam Chevrolet was the driver*s final appearance with the team. Ware indicated that parting was mutual, that Buttke was leaving to pursue other competitive interests. The team will bring Rich Woodland to Texas Motor Speedway to drive the No. 81 Silverado in the O*Reilly 400K.

***

Randy and Tiffanie Tolsma, among the best liked couples in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series garage, are expecting their first child in January 2002. The Idaho transplants have been married for 13 years.

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Rain dogged the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for the fourth consecutive race, having delayed the start three hours at St. Louis, washing out Darlington short of the scheduled distance and canceling qualifying at Pikes Peak International Raceway. Saturday morning*s reset marked just the fourth time in 154 events there had been a postponement. The last time it happened was April 2000 at Martinsville, Va.

***

Fords continue to labor on the tour in 2001. The MBNA e-commerce 200 was the first in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series history in which an F-150 truck failed to finish among the top 10. Cook was the manufacturer*s best ranked, in 11th-place, one lap behind.

***

Howard Comstock, crew chief for the Hot Wheels Dodge driven by Carlos Contreras, assumes general managership of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series effort at Petty Enterprises following the recent departure of Al Basnight.

-NASCAR

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Ricky Hendrick , Jack Sprague , Coy Gibbs , Carlos Contreras , Terry Cook , Rick Crawford , Rich Woodland , Scott Riggs , Joe Ruttman , Nathan Buttke
Teams Hendrick Motorsports , Joe Gibbs Racing