RICK CRAWFORD-14-Circle Bar Motel & RV Park Ford F-150 (Qualified 3rd) "That was a lot better than we had anticipated from practice. That was better than our practice laps. The Circle Bar Ford, the guys on this team and Ray Stonkus did a good...
RICK CRAWFORD-14-Circle Bar Motel & RV Park Ford F-150 (Qualified 3rd)
"That was a lot better than we had anticipated from practice. That was better than our practice laps. The Circle Bar Ford, the guys on this team and Ray Stonkus did a good job. We brought our best piece here to Vegas. We're in the championship race, and we can't save anything right now. By saving equipment, I mean, right now you can't save your best piece for California. You're racing Vegas first, so take it there. Nobody is saving anything yet. Nobody is saving anything in qualifying, and nobody is saving anything when they race."
IS THE ROLE OF THE DRAFT DIFFERENT HERE COMPARED TO OTHER MILE-AND-A-HALF VENUES? "It's the same way. You can take a truck that doesn't necessarily get down the straightaway, but if it gets A good tow and he's running good in the corner, he can outrun you. We're talking about some element involved in Las Vegas; this is a race track that you have to have all of the elements. You have to have a good motor and a good-handling package. You have to have a good aero package, good crew calls, and good crew work on pit road because you're liable to make green-flag stops, and as soon as everything comes into play, you have to have all of the elements of a perfect race from the green to the checkered because things here can change with weather and wind, things like that out here, and that really upsets the truck."
YOU LED EARLY IN THE RACE AT TEXAS, A TRACK SIMILAR TO THIS. IS THAT THE PLACE TO BE EARLY ON? "I lead too much too early, and maybe I should be racing more at the end of the race."
YOU'RE STARTING ON THE INSIDE OF ROW TWO TOMORROW. IS THE INSIDE LINE THE BEST PLACE TO START? "It doesn't really matter. It's a good, wide race track, you just don't want to be held up. What I'm grateful for, I guess, is because the truck was faster in qualifying than it was in practice by a big deal. At least you know it'll do what you ask it to do. It's been a fine-tuning process to get the Circle Bar Ford where it was in qualifying, but at least we know it's sensitive."
IF YOU HAVE A GOOD TRUCK IN QUALIFYING, DOES THAT MEAN IT WILL RUN BETTER IN CLEAN AIR RATHER THAN THE DRAFT? "I think it's better by itself; it likes to lead. That's the way this truck has always proved itself. At least you know it runs good by itself."
TERRY COOK-29-Power Stroke Diesel Ford F-150 (Qualified 10th)
YOU SEEM TO SAVE YOUR BEST STUFF ON THE MILE-AND-A-HALF TRACKS FOR THE RACE. "Not by choice, I can tell you that much. We're working on our speedway program, and it's never too late to get it turned around and heading in the right direction. That's what we're working towards and we have Billy Pink here from Ernie Elliott racing engines helping us. He put and awesome tune-up job in the motor; we had a great motor for qualifying. We're just a little bit off in the chassis department. We're not sure where, but we really didn't have any qualifying speed. That was all chassis right there. We're searching a little bit, but hopefully our race package will be better than our qualifying package. Obviously, we want to qualify up front for track position as well as picking a good pit. I think we're ninth right now and if we can just stay in the top 10, we'll call that a good day and move on and get ready for the race."
WITH QUALIFYING AND HAPPY HOUR BEING HELD SO CLOSE TOGETHER IN THE DAY, HOW MUCH OF A QUALIFYING SETUP CAN YOU PUT IN THE TRUCK? "In order to run fast here at Vegas, you have to use a lot of race track. When you're in race traffic you can't use all of the race track, so you kinda have to put a different package under the truck. Typically, you have one truck here by itself and it will be quicker than two trucks running together. Unfortunately during race time you're always around somebody or you're racing with somebody, so you just have to make the truck drive the best that you can with optimum downforce. I think that's another reason that we don't qualify as good as we'd like to. Our trucks tend to make a lot of downforce which makes it good in race trim, but sometimes not great for qualifying."
CARL EDWARDS-63-Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool Ford F-150 (Qualified 13th)
THIS TEAM IS MAKING THE MOST OF THE LIMITED SCHEDULE ITS RUNNING. "The Mittler Brother are just awesome people. They're the easiest people to work with, and I've driven for about 50 people. These guys are head and shoulders above most of the teams I've worked for."
WITH THE BUDGET OF THIS TEAM, DOES IT MAKES SENSE TO ONLY RUN A LIMITED SCHEDULE? "Mike (Mittler) and I are both in agreement that there's no reason to come to thew track every week unprepared, so what Mike and the team does is everybody gears up for these specific races that we pick and we try to perform our best, and, boy, it's worked so far. We come to these places and it just goes."
YOU HAD A PROBLEM IN QUALIFYING. "Yeah, we borrowed a gear for the 50 team, and we've got to thank them for that. We put in a shorter gear in to turn more RPMs and going down the straightaways I was hitting the revv limiter and I'm not used to having two boxes in a vehicle and all I had to do was flip the switch and we had a higher limiter in the other box and I wasn't thinking hard enough. I think we could have had a top-10 qualifying run there if it wasn't for that."
JON WOOD-50-U.S. Navy Racing Ford F-150 (Qualified 16th)
"We just really haven't been up to par all day. The U.S. Navy Ford just isn't driving the way I'd like it right now and that showed in qualifying. It's something we can fix, and this is the truck we raced at Texas, so we know it's a good piece. We just need to keep working on it."
YOU HAVE STRUGGLED SOMEWHAT ON THE LARGER TRACKS THIS YEAR, BUT THAT'S WHERE YOU HAD MOST OF YOUR SUCCESS LAST YEAR. "This truck is capable of running up front, but just for right now, we can't really seem to get a handle on it. We used to run great on the mile-and-a-half tracks and struggle on the short tracks, but it's been a total turnaround this year. I'm thinking I've forgot how to drive a speedway and learning how to drive a short track."
ANDY HOUSTON-15-Billy Ballew Motorsports Ford F-150 (Qualified 18th)
"It's good to be back where I pretty much made my name for myself. I'm excited to be with Billy Ballew. He has good equipment, but I'm a little disappointed with my qualifying run. We've been better than that pretty much all day and we slowed down a little bit in qualifying. I think we'll end up in the top 20, but I think we have a good truck to race tomorrow. I'm just looking forward to it."
THERE ARE A HANDFUL OF BUSCH AND WINSTON CUP DRIVERS THAT HAVE RETURNED TO THE TRUCK SERIES THIS YEAR. IS THIS MORE OF A RELAXED SETTING? "I'd say it's quite a bit more relaxing. This is a really neat series that NASCAR has here and I hope they promote it well enough where I can race trucks for a long time. I'd love nothing more than to get back to racing here full-time and to start picking up the pieces, so to speak and just take it from there."
WOULD YOU STILL LIKE TO MOVE ON FROM THE TRUCK SERIES AT SOME POINT? "You look at all of your opportunities and look at every situation different. It would have to be awful good. It would have to be an awful good deal for me to do more than this."
WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR TOMORROW? "Being a competitor, I'm going to try to win the race tomorrow and if things go our way, we may have a shot at it. We'll start mid-pack, but the truck drives real good, and Gary Showalter as the crew chief has a lot of experience."