SPARTA, KY (July 7, 2003) - Last season Terry Cook piloted his No. 29 Power Stroke Diesel Ford to a solid sixth-place finish in the Kroger 225 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway. Cook returns to the Bluegrass State looking to...
SPARTA, KY (July 7, 2003) - Last season Terry Cook piloted his No. 29 Power Stroke Diesel Ford to a solid sixth-place finish in the Kroger 225 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway. Cook returns to the Bluegrass State looking to score Ford's third NCTS victory of the season in the Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers.
"Of course, our manufacturer Ford has reminded us that they are sponsoring the race and they don't want to see another make or model in Victory Lane other than a Ford," said Cook, whose best start at the 1.5-mile tri-oval is fourth and best finish is sixth in 2002. "We've got our work cut out for us, but we are up for the challenge as we bring back our No. 29 Power Stroke Diesel/Oil Mate Ford to Kentucky Speedway since our mid-May test went so well there."
Cook will have his plate full to be best in class as he competes against other Ford drivers for the coveted Ford victory at Kentucky Speedway.
"We've got some really tough competition in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this year," said Cook. "We will be looking to get a Ford to Victory Lane for the second week in a row. Jon Wood was able to capitalize at Kansas Speedway for our Ford camp last week while Carl Edwards finished second. Kentucky is one of the biggest purses of the year and the race draws one of our largest crowds. It will be a great show for the fans."
Getting around Kentucky Speedway can be as tough as the competition in the Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers. To notch a good finish in this year's event, Cook will have to navigate the deceiving 1.5-mile Kentucky oval. An initial glance would indicate the track is symmetrical, but according to Cook, the two ends of the raceway are anything but the same.
"If you sit in the grandstands at Kentucky Speedway, Turns 1 and 2 look like Turns 3 and 4, but they are far from it when you are out on the race track," said Cook. "I don't want to call it a tricky track because it's fairly easy to drive, but the appearance can be deceiving at times. You carry a lot more speed than most people think into Turn 1. You accelerate pretty hard off of Turn 2 and you've got it to the mat all the way down the backstretch. You have to get into Turn 3 gently because it doesn't carry a lot of banking into the corner. Turn 4 is banked pretty heavy. It's almost like you drive up a hill in the middle of Turns 3 and 4. You drive up the hill and get a run off of Turn 4 to the tri-oval. It's a unique track because you can really charge it. At the same time you have to respect it."
Cook earned respect in the 2002 NCTS season garnering four wins, two Bud Pole Awards, nine Top-5 and 17 Top-10 finishes en route to an eighth place finish in the 2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points standings. With seven Top-10 finishes in as many races this season, the Power Stroke Diesel Ford team is seeking the best way to stay in championship contention as the NCTS division approaches midway.
"Last year this Power Stroke Diesel Ford team had a strong run going the first half of the season until mechanical problems derailed our championship efforts, said Cook, who is currently ninth in the 2003 NCTS points standings. "This year has been a strange year in a sense that we have had some dumb luck. To sum up our season, we were running second at Daytona going for the lead on the last lap and was shuffled back to ninth. We've had flat tires, we've had handling issues, we've just had bad luck and we can't seem to shake it."
"We finished 12th at Kansas last week where we ran in the Top-5 all race long last season, continued Cook. "We've been trying to get a handle on what's been holding us back. We've been battling handling issues these past few races. It's not motor, it's not crew chief, it's not the team, it's just a combination of things. Even with all of our bad luck lately, we feel pretty optimistic about Kentucky because our May test there this season went so well. It's a track I enjoy driving and it's a home track for me."
Kentucky Speedway is a short drive from Cook's Pittsboro, IN home and not far from Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant.
"The Ford Kentucky Truck Plant is located in Louisville a short drive from Kentucky Speedway," said Cook. "Our No. 29 Ford sponsor, Power Stroke0x00ae Diesel, exclusively builds engines for Ford Motor Company. Knowing the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race is sponsored by Ford and throwing in the mix that it's near the Ford Kentucky Truck Assembly Plant, it would be a huge to park this No. 29 Power Stroke Diesel/Oil Mate Ford in Victory Lane. To get a superspeedway win anywhere is big, but to get one at Kentucky which is one of the nicest venues that we go to and in front of all the International Power Stroke Diesel and Ford representatives will be a really big deal for this K-Automotive team.
Cook and the No. 29 Power Stroke Diesel Ford team will take the green flag in the Built Ford Tough 225 presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers at Kentucky Speedway Saturday, July 12 at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The event will be telecast live on Speed Channel and broadcast live on MRN Radio nationwide.