INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 28, 2003) - Terry Cook wants nothing less than a repeat of last season's Power Stroke Â® Diesel 200 where he steered the No. 29 Power Stroke Â® Diesel Ford to victory from pole position dominating his sponsor's ...
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 28, 2003) - Terry Cook wants nothing less than a repeat of last season's Power Stroke ® Diesel 200 where he steered the No. 29 Power Stroke ® Diesel Ford to victory from pole position dominating his sponsor's race.
"Winning the Power Stroke ® Diesel 200 was big, not only because it's my home track and one of the neatest premiere short tracks in the country, but our sponsor Power Stroke ® Diesel was the title sponsor of the race," said Cook, who is currently ninth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points standings. "Power Stroke ® Diesel went from a title race sponsor to being a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series truck sponsor. It was really important to them to take the initial steps to becoming a full-time truck sponsor. With Power Stroke ® Diesel and EMP's Oil Mateâ"' brand support we are eager to get back to Victory Lane. We are looking forward to seeing representatives from both companies in the stands at IRP."
Last season Cook's No. 29 Power Stroke ® Diesel Ford by International set top speed in practice before backing it up with his second Bud Pole Award of the season. Cook sped away from the 36-truck starting field at the drop of the green flag and never looked back until he pitted under caution on Lap 89. Cook went right back to the front laps later and set sail for his fourth victory of 2002 season much to the delight of a packed house of Power Stroke ® Diesel and International Truck and Engine Corporation VIP's, associates and fans.
"It was really important for the team to reach the goal of winning their sponsor's race," said Cook. "Power Stroke ® Diesel put a lot of time money and effort into it this race and it's their baby. Attending each year, you have all of the corporate people from International Truck and Engine Corporation that range from people that don't know that they sponsor a race truck to people that are heavily involved in the race program. When you have all those people there, it's hard to describe how you feel when you are able to put on a great performance and win the race. It's an incredible feeling."
Leading 178 laps in last season's 200-lap feature at the .686-mile premiere oval, Cook pocketed the Clevite Engine Builders Award, the Featherlite Long Haul Award, Gatorade Front Runner Award, Bud Pole Award and the eventual win positioned the Indianapolis resident only five markers out of first in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points standings. By winning from the pole, Cook picked up an extra $10,000 bonus from series sponsor Craftsman Tools. It was the second time that Cook grabbed the bonus cash having done it twice also winning from the pole at Milwaukee.
"Expectations are always high when you dominate a race like that," said Cook. "When you run well at a track, your expectations are to do as well and even better. We expect to do well, but it's a different season and there's a lot of new competition out there. It's harder to be super competitive each and every week or from year to year. It's important for our program to be on our game at IRP to bring the best prepared race vehicle we can. We are bringing the same truck we won with here last season - Droopy Dog."
In 2001, Cook faced a bitter sweet finish as three time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Jack Sprague trudged to a truck triumph in the Power Stroke ® Diesel 200 with a slim 0.859 margin of victory over Cook.
"I thought I had something for Jack that night," said Cook. "We had caught Jack in a whole bunch of lap traffic as the laps were winding down, and it doesn't get much better under the lights, three-wide in lapped traffic, for the lead. Ironically, we ran there second there in 2001 and elected not to bring the same truck in 2002." According to the Indianapolis resident, the .686-mile IRP oval has a trick to triumph.
"I've learned from my past visits that IRP is a tricky track and this is a track where you can run three wide," said Cook. "You can run right on the bottom to the point of where you're kicking up grass with your left side tires, or your racing up against the wall. It's a really neat short track that has a little bit more banking up against the wall and pretty flat on the bottom. The bottom being the shortest way around sometimes is the quickest way around. I really like the facility and it puts out some great racing. When you pass there you have to get into the corners riding real low. Then you drive the truck right up against the wall, but maybe only two or three feet off the wall. It's appears to be a cushion up there like you would have at a dirt track. You don't want to jump the cushion because that's where all of the rubber is built up and you don't want to hit the wall. But, you have to ride up near there to keep up your momentum because IRP is what we call a momentum track."
Cook and the No. 29 Power Stroke ® Diesel Ford team will take the green flag in the Power Stroke ® Diesel 200 presented by Ford and International at Indianapolis Raceway Park, at 9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The event will be telecast live on Speed Channel and broadcast live on MRN Radio nationwide.