Kansas: This Week in Ford Racing

This Week in Ford Racing June 28, 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Last week marked the start of summer, and the weather conditions at The Milwaukee Mile were reflective of the season's dog days with temperatures in excess of 90...

This Week in Ford Racing
June 28, 2005

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series

Last week marked the start of summer, and the weather conditions at The Milwaukee Mile were reflective of the season's dog days with temperatures in excess of 90 degrees. With this weekend's Craftsman Truck Series race being held at Kansas Speedway, temperatures are once again expected to reach into the 90s, so we asked several Ford Racing Craftsman Truck Series drivers to share their rituals on how to beat the summertime heat.

RICKY CRAVEN-No. 99 Superchips Ford F-150

DO YOU HAVE A TRAINING REGIMENT TO HELP COMBAT THE SUMMERTIME HEAT? "I actually use my treadmill and I put on a couple of sweatshirts and get on the treadmill in the heat of the day. I don't have any air conditioning on and I just expose myself to the outdoor temperature and do my workout, and I sweat and sweat and sweat. That's been routine for a few years now."

HOW DID YOU DEVELOP THAT ROUTINE? "Actually, I arrived at that in 1998 when I came back from my injury. We won the pole in Loudon in my first race back and I was in the best physical condition in my life. I had worked out twice a day during the recovery, built muscle - my uniform didn't fit across the shoulder- and I was really feeling good about myself physically. I won the pole and started the race wrestling the car and battling with Jeff Gordon. We swapped the lead a few times, but by lap 50 I was hurting. Do you know what it was? Heat. The one thing that I didn't do, I was working out in an air-conditioned gym. I was strong as an ox and had endurance, but the heat zapped me. I finished the race, but I could not believe how bad I felt because of the heat."

HOW MUCH DOES A COOL BOX AID IN KEEPING A DRIVER COMFORTABLE? "The cool box helps, but I think some of it is psychological by keeping your head cool. What I do in the car is sip on Gatorade. I think rehydrating yourself during the race is critical. That's a big thing, and I sip Gatorade during the race."

HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO STAY HYDRATED WHEN YOU HAVE A RACE LIKE MILWAUKEE AND THERE'S JUST ONE CAUTION PERIOD? "It's a test, but it wasn't real bad. Had that been a 500-lap race or had that been Martinsville, then you're going to earn it, but 200 laps wasn't that bad."

RICK CRAWFORD-No. 14 Circle Bar Truck Corral Ford F-150 - DO YOU HAVE A TRAINING REGIMENT TO HELP COMBAT THE SUMMERTIME HEAT? "I did that for 30 years - I lived in Alabama. I'm from the beach and I love it hot. The hotter you can crank it up out there the better I like it. I don't know why, but I've never liked cold weather and being cold. Being hot has never bothered me. I can remember running places like Topeka when the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series went there for the first few times and guy's soles were melting off of their shoes walking through the garage area. I remember it being hot, but it doesn't bother me."

IS IT TO THE POINT NOW WHERE YOU HAVE TO TAKE PART IN SOME SORT OF CONDITIONING PROGRAM TO KEEP UP WITH RIGORS OF THE NASCAR SCHEDULE? "You do. Always the best scenario, the best medicine in the world is having a good vehicle to drive. Fortunately, I drive the F-150 and you hear of people being ill before the races, and the best medicine is having a fast race car. Physically demanding is one thing and mentally demanding is another. And also, it depends on how fast it's running. A good scenario is if you feel good, you're in pretty good shape and you have a fast car because then you're going to look like you're in really good shape. If you have a car that won't run, you don't like the way it's handling and you have to stay up on the wheel to run 15th, then you're going to look like you're not in very good physical condition. So, I don't care if it was Greg Lemond, Jeff Gordon or The Undertaker, they're going to look like they've been beat up if they don't have the best scenarios in racing. But, you can take all of them and put them in a really fast piece all day, and no matter where they're at they're going to get out of the vehicle and look like they're in great shape."

DO YOU HAVE A WEEKLY TRAINING REGIMENT? "I used to. Last year I got hit with a crushed foot and it kept me from doing my workout program. This year, I've had a separated shoulder and a broken hand and that's had its toll. Sometimes I'm probably complaining to Cowboy (Kevin Starland, crew chief) a little bit more than I should about giving me a perfect truck, but he's coped with that tremendously this year. We've had some really fast pieces, and we sort of tried to take that element out of it and let me do my job inside the seat. I haven't had any problems with heat, basically what you'd call under-the-hood temperature or ambient temperature outside the truck."

TODD KLUEVER-No. 50 Shell Rotella T Ford F-150

AS A ROOKIE DRIVER IN THE SERIES, HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED ANY PROBLEMS WITH HEAT INSIDE OF THE COCKPIT OF THE TRUCK YET? "I've never really had a problem with it. I would say no. We do a lot of stuff outside and it's not something I specifically sit down and prepare for because it's something I've never really had a problem with. I'm only 148 pounds, and it's not like I'm out of shape or overweight or anything. Normally I've been able to handle it better than most."

DO YOU HAVE A WEEKLY TRAINING REGIMENT TO COPE WITH THE LENGTH OF TRUCK RACES COMPARED TO THE PREVIOUS SERIES IN THAT YOU RACED? "I would love to, and I would love to have a more serious one, but the traveling and stuff that we do makes it so hard to get set on a weekly routine. I've been home six or seven days in the last 15. It's nice to workout, but it's hard to find the time on a consistent basis."

HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR DIET AT ALL SINCE YOU MADE THE MOVE TO NASCAR RACING? "I used to be the worst guy in the world with my diet; I ate every kind of junk food or whatever I could get my hands on. I still don't eat as healthy as some of those guys, but I have definitely started eating healthy. You have to have the right nutrition to handle the weather and the longer races and things like that."

YOU USED A COOL BOX LAST WEEK IN MILWAUKEE. HOW DID THAT AID IN YOUR COMFORT IN THE COCKPIT? "Milwaukee was the first time that I'd ever used a cool box in a race in my entire life, and it was nice. That's probably one of the reasons that I can handle the heat a little bit better, too; I ran three years in ASA and never had a cool box. It's definitely nice and I'm glad I had it, but normally we have a little fan that circulates air into my helmet, and that's what I run. That's what we ran in Texas and it was really hot there, too. With Milwaukee being a one-day show we had to deal with the heat and keep fresh all day, so we decided to put a cool box in there."

-ford racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Jeff Gordon