RICK CRAWFORD-14-Circle Bar Motel & RV Park Ford F-150 (Finished 7th) THE CAUTION FLAG REALLY ENDED YOUR CHANCE AT THE CHAMPIONSHIP.Â "It really was.Â We got dictated what we needed to do by pitting early.Â That caution caught us.Â My hat's...
RICK CRAWFORD-14-Circle Bar Motel & RV Park Ford F-150 (Finished 7th)
THE CAUTION FLAG REALLY ENDED YOUR CHANCE AT THE CHAMPIONSHIP. "It really was. We got dictated what we needed to do by pitting early. That caution caught us. My hat's off to Mike Bliss and the IWX team; they did a great job all year and so did Ted. I think we finished ahead of Ted for second. My hat's off to the Circle Bar race team. We stayed up all day with the Circle Bar Motel Ford. The team did a good job in the pits under the green flag stop and that's just one of the misfortunes of racing to get caught up out there like that. We ran well all day and we ran up front. It's the end of a great year, second in the points; I can't ask for more than that."
YOU SEEMED TO GET CLOSE TO THE FRONT, BUT PASSING SEEMED DIFFICULT. "I'm not sure why that was. We had a really good truck. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is pretty equal thanks to NASCAR and their officiating. We just didn't have it to complete the pass. We ran up front all day and that's what I came to do. The guy that won has a teammate and he won the points, and the guy who ran second in the race has a teammate and a Winston Cup program, and the little independent Ford from Ozona, Texas, did pretty good." DID YOU SHORT PIT ON YOUR SECOND PIT STOP? "No, it was dictated by fuel mileage and what track times were. When the crew chief says, 'pit,' and that's why we pay him the big bucks, so we pitted. I just followed his orders."
IT WAS JUST A CASE OF AN ILL-TIMED CAUTION? "You can't help that. That's racing. Racing is fun. It offers a lot of ups and down and that's not a down today. We had a good day. This is a good team to drive for."
ENTERING THE SEASON, DID YOU THINK YOU'D BE IN A CHAMPIONSHIP RACE DOWN TO THE WIRE? "Yeah, we finished 24th at Daytona and we picked up some insurance at Darlington and finished fourth. We finished third in Martinsville. Three races into the season, we were fourth in the points so we were giving it a championship run. This team is strong. I know we show up here with one truck, but in every successful business you surround yourself with good people and this team has those good people so that's why it's successful."
DO YOU THINK YOU WILL HAVE A SPONSOR FOR NEXT SEASON? "We have a hell of a product to sell, don't we? I feel like this would be a great opportunity for a corporate sponsor to be on the side of a guy who likes to show off and have fun and be cool and that's what we're going to do next year."
HOW BAD DOES THIS HURT RIGHT NOW? "It doesn't. We came in running second. We preserved that. I don't know how many miles make up the Craftsman Truck Series, but we only missed 14 laps all year long. This is a great team."
TERRY COOK-29-Power Stroke Diesel Ford F-150 (Finished 10th)
WAS IT A CASE OF AN ILL-TIMED CAUTION? "It really was. Crew chief Bob Keselowski really made a great call; it was just a situation where we were trying to outsmart them. We weren't going to win the race unless we ended up with some track position. We took on two tires and came out. We were probably one of the fastest trucks on the track at that time. We gained a ton of track position and our lap times were some of the fastest we turned all day, so we knew we were doing the right thing. Unfortunately, a caution came out and we got caught a lap down and the pit strategy didn't work from there. It was too little too late. If we had the track position to work with at the end when the tires fall off with about five to go, we couldn't hold anybody off. We were just slipping and sliding, just hanging on for our lives. I think if we had the track position we could have milked that for all it was worth and been in contention to win, or at least end up a solid top five, but unfortunately we came home 10th today."
YOUR PIT STRATEGY WASN'T DICTATED BY FUEL MILEAGE? "We tied to short pit. We tried to outsmart them with tires, but unfortunately it didn't work today."
JON WOOD-50-U.S. Navy Ford F-150 (Finished 14th)
"We had a good truck and we showed that by making our way up to sixth place, but I made a mistake. I got up in thew loose stuff in two and lost it. What hurt us was starting so far back. Although we had a pretty decent truck we couldn't get anywhere because the cautions wouldn't fly."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE THIS TEAM WAS MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION AT THE END OF THE SEASON? "We're going in the right direction, but it didn't work out for in terms of catching any breaks at the end and this is just one example of that. We hit the wall and still finished where we did, so that tells me something has improved."