NASCAR Craftsman Truck The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series rolls into Texas this week for seventh of 21 events that make up the 2002 schedule. Jon Wood, driver of the No. 50 Roush Racing F-150, will be returning to familiar territory, as ...
NASCAR Craftsman Truck
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series rolls into Texas this week for seventh of 21 events that make up the 2002 schedule. Jon Wood, driver of the No. 50 Roush Racing F-150, will be returning to familiar territory, as the 20-year-old son of Wood Brothers Racing co-owner Eddie Wood is scheduled to make his second start at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway. While this may seem inconsequential, Wood, in his 22 starts for Roush Racing, has never competed at the same venue more than once behind the wheel of the No. 50 F-150. Wood spoke about the revisiting Texas for the second time and his expectations for the remainder of the season, having competed at the remaining venues on the truck series schedule.
JON WOOD-50-U.S. Navy Racing Ford F-150:
EXCEPT FOR MARTINSVILLE, WHERE YOU RAN THE NO. 15 FORD LAST YEAR, THIS WEEKEND'S RACE IN TEXAS WILL BE THE FIRST TIME THAT YOU WILL HAVE HAD PRIOR EXPERIENCE IN TRUCK AT ONE OF THE RACE VENUES. HOW MUCH DOES THAT ADD TO YOUR CONFIDENCE? "Well, as a general rule, we run better at the superspeedways than I do the short tracks, so naturally I'm looking forward to going to Texas and seeing what we've got. I don't know what this new spoiler package is going to that they're making us run, but we tested at Michigan at our manufacturer test and I didn't like it, but we'll see what it does at Texas. I'm not really in favor of it, but I guess it's something that you've got to do."
STARTING WITH THIS WEEK'S RACE, YOU WILL NOW HAVE TRUCK SERIES EXPERIENCE AT THE REMAINDER OF THE VENUES OF THE SCHEDULE. DOES THAT CHANGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON? "I'm not going to say that we should win these races because I've got experience at these tracks now, but I think we should start to run a lot better than we've run lately. There again, we've been going to all of these tracks that I've never been to and that makes it tougher. Once we get back on the tracks that I've been before, like Texas, we should run better."
WITH THE SUSPENDED OPERATION OF THE NO. 99 ROUSH RACING TRUCK TEAM, HOW HAS THAT IMPACTED YOUR TEAM? "If anything it has made us stronger. We've got the best of the best over here now. I know that they haven't given up on looking for sponsorship for the 99 truck and hope to have it back on the track soon, but right now, I have all of the best guys from the 99 and the 50 working on this truck. They were both championship-caliber teams to begin with, and now we're just that much stronger. We're now starting to utilize more of our people, and we've got those people on this team, but up until now we really haven't used them. All of our guys are going to have more input because the more smart people that you've got, the more beneficial that going to be; it can't hurt. In the upcoming races, I think you'll see more improvement due to that fact."
SINCE YOU ONLY HAD A HALF OF A YEAR'S EXPERIENCE LAST YEAR ON THE TRUCK SERIES, HOW HAVE YOU BEEN GAUGING YOUR PERFORMANCES EACH WEEK? "I lost my rookie stripe at the end of last year, but I feel like now is first time that I can consider myself something else other than a rookie. Realistically, I've been shooting for top-10s at these tracks that I've never been to before, and for the most part, I've accomplished that. You have at least ten guys in the field that have as good of equipment that we've got and they've been to these places before. So, looking at it from that perspective, I think that's something realistic to achieve. One other way that we're struggling this year is that I've got a crew chief that has just as much experience as I've got, and, so, we're all learning together. Dan (Binks) has a lot of experience, but not in oval-track racing, so that makes it a little tougher. If we can overcome that while I continue to learn, we should be pretty good."
WITH THE CURRENT YOUTH MOVEMENT, DO YOU THINK YOU COULD MAKE THE JUMP TO AT LEAST THE BUSCH SERIES NEXT SEASON? "It would take a couple of races to get used to the because it's all different - different people, different cars, different everything. I think it would take a couple of races to adapt, but I think it could be a definite possibility.".
YOU RACED LAST SEASON IN THE WINSTON WEST SERIES AS WELL AS THE TRUCK SERIES. WERE YOU MORE COMFORTABLE BEHIND THE WHEEL OF THE CARS THAN THE TRUCKS? "I just like cars better, and I don't know why. I'm content with getting the experience that I'm getting in the truck series, working with the guys that I'm with, and I think it's invaluable. I would like to go Busch racing at some point for Roush Racing, but that's all at Jack's discretion and whatever he chooses is the best option."
WITH JACK ROUSH RECOVERING FROM HIS RECENT ACCIDENT, HOW MUCH INTERACTION HAS HE HAD WITH YOUR TEAM? "Not a whole lot. He's been trying to recover from his injury, and how ever long it takes that's part of it. He's still watching the races, though. He may be limping around, but he's still watching them. Just knowing that he's watching them and not at the track, there's as much or more pressure. There is a lot of pressure on all of us. From me as the driver to Dan as the crew chief to the Max (Jones) as the team manager, there's a lot of pressure on everybody to get this program back to victory lane."