Rain continued to the follow the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and qualifying for Friday night's O'Reilly 400K was halted 14 trucks into the session. After a two-hour delay, qualifying was canceled and the 36-truck field was set by the...
Rain continued to the follow the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and qualifying for Friday night's O'Reilly 400K was halted 14 trucks into the session. After a two-hour delay, qualifying was canceled and the 36-truck field was set by the NASCAR rulebook. The following Ford drivers made their two-lap qualifying runs before the stoppage and commented on the track and the new rule change in effect for this weekend.
RICK CRAWFORD-14-Milwaukee Electric Tools Ford F-150 -
THIS IS THE SECOND WEEK IN A ROW THAT YOU'VE MADE A CHARGE FOR THE POLE.
"That feels pretty good. That's two weeks in a row that the Milwaukee Electric Tools Ford has been strong enough to put together a challenge for the pole. Now, we need to improve from last week's finish and I'll be a lot happier. Ray and all the guys are preparing the truck for each and every particular race track. This one is prepared for here, our home track in Texas. It just brings out the best in you. When we unloaded here, somebody said you have to hammer down in the corners and not lift, and that's what we did."
WAS THE RULE CHANGE A WORRY IN YOUR MIND?
"I don't worry about engines. I've got Jack Roush building my engines. Those guys are 100 percent behind us. We've developed a lot of things this year and they've developed a lot of things this year, so with those two things combined we've been a lot more consistent. I've come here to win another race. I thought we had a chance last weekend at Dover, but this is a new week and we've gotten off to a good start. I'd love to win here for Tom Mitchell and the whole Circle Bar family in Ozona, Texas. They've put a lot into the Craftsman Truck Series and a lot into me, so I'd like to pay them back here in Texas."
YOU'RE STILL MISSING A CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES POLE ON YOUR RESUME, BUT YOU'VE BEEN COMING CLOSE?
"It's just like the boss said: you play a hard ball game and you beat the other team, but you didn't score any points."
TERRY COOK-29-K Automotive Ford F-150 - HOW MUCH OF A STRUGGLE HAS IT BEEN TO ADAPT TO THE NEW RULE CHANGE?
"It's been a struggle to just find a carburetor to get here. Once we got that squared away, I think we may have overcome one of our biggest obstacles. We really didn't qualify that good. I don't think we put up a very good lap, but we have been very consistent all day. We've been able to hit our marks all day long. We rolled off the truck and ran what we did in qualifying. The truck has been very consistent, so I think where we're at is that we have a bit of a draggy truck. I think handling-wise, we'll be as good as any when the race comes around."
DOES THE RULE CHANGE MAKE IT MORE OF A HANDLING GAME?
"It does, you're kind of chasing it a little bit. You don't have the horsepower you did to get down the straightaways and you've got the big spoiler on the back, so you have to free these things up. The problem that a lot of these guys are going to have is that you can free these up, but they won't be able to race worth a darn. I think that's where we're going to be better. We gave up on our qualifying setup to work on our race package during the practice session, and I think that's where we're going to be better than most."
WHEN DID YOU GET YOUR CARBURETOR?
"We just put ours on this morning. We've got a great engine builder in Ernie Elliott and he helped us run a couple carburetors on the engine dyno at his shop, so when we got here we felt confident putting on the best piece that we had because we have such an experienced engine builder."
MORGAN SHEPHERD-21-Shepherd Racing Ford F-150 - THIS IS YOUR SECOND CONSECUTIVE WEEKEND RACING TRUCKS. ARE YOU BECOMING A REGULAR?
"We're still looking for sponsorship so we can continue to go. We've been lucky with our trucks because we're bringing them home in one piece. We had a good run last week in Dover, racing in the top 10, but we had another mechanical failure that kept us from running at the end."
HOW DID YOU GET A 390 CARBURETOR FOR THIS WEEKEND ON SUCH SHORT NOTICE?
"We went to a friend, Jeff Hensley and Hubert Hensley up in Virginia. We borrowed a carburetor he had in a horse pasture. We stuck in on and got some laps in practice, and I think that time will get us in the race."
CHUCK HOSSFELD-50-Eldon Ford F-150 -
"The first lap was about as good as it gets. The second probably would have been a little bit faster, but I just nipped the apron and that cost us some."
YOU HAD A GOOD MORNING PRACTICE SESSION POSTING THE THIRD QUICKEST TIME.
"We had a really bad week last week in Dover. That was probably the longest week in my life. I just wanted to do a lot better. We had a big team meeting on Saturday and put our heads together and thought about how we could all get better. I said what I needed to do and they said what they needed to do, and I think that put us all back on the same page. I think that if we can get more out of practice and Happy Hour, you'll see this team pick up a lot. That's our goal: to get more out of practice and Happy Hour."
WHAT ABOUT THE NOTES THAT YOU HAVE FROM GREG AND KURT FROM LAST YEAR?
"Unfortunately, with new tires and a different body configuration, you throw a couple of these curves in there and the notes are quite a bit different. That's forced us to learn on our own, and you've got not only two rookie drivers but two rookie crew chiefs as well. We feel like we're getting better, but we want to see a higher degree of improvement. I know that I've said this before, but we're making progress. My goal is to not have another week like Dover; that was a tough one."
DID YOU HAVE TO LIFT OFF THE THROTTLE WITH THE NEW CARBURETOR?
"No, not in qualifying. I expect that in the draft you'll have to lift if you're following somebody. It depends on what your truck starts to do in terms of handling. I don't think you'll see the whole race run full throttle. But, once you let off here it really hurts you. You need to find the setup that is going to put you in the position to run all out all night long.