Cook, Power StrokeÂ® Diesel Ford hold on for win. LOUDON, NH (July 18, 2002) - Terry Cook's Power StrokeÂ® Diesel Ford had just enough gas to survive a late-race caution and a sprint to the finish to win the New England 200 NASCAR Craftsman...
Cook, Power Stroke® Diesel Ford hold on for win.
LOUDON, NH (July 18, 2002) - Terry Cook's Power Stroke® Diesel Ford had just enough gas to survive a late-race caution and a sprint to the finish to win the New England 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway Saturday. The victory was Cook's third of the season and catapulted the Power Stroke Diesel Ford driver to fifth in the 2002 NCTS championship hunt, just 102 points out of first place.
"We got another win and picked up a lot of points," said Cook, who also won at Gateway International Raceway and The Milwaukee Mile earlier this season. "We took the lead and I asked crew chief Bob Keselowski to start reading lap times off to me. He told me just to hit my marks. I knew Dennis Setzer was behind me and was closing because he had fresh tires. The big story is that we only took on one set of tires on the Power Stroke Diesel Ford the entire race while some of the front-runners took on new tires. We were concerned a little about that and we were watching our fuel closely at the finish."
Cook, who just missed winning the pole position in qualifying, started second and stayed in the Top-5 throughout the first half of the event despite battling a tight handling condition. His K-Automotive team then rolled the dice on Lap 116 when they came in for their final pit stop of the day.
"We took on four tires and pretty much decided that we were good to go till the end," said Cook. "We talked about different scenarios for our pit strategy, but upheld our decision."
Cook then cycled back to the runner-up spot and appeared destined to finish there as Jason Leffler built more than a five-second lead on the field. Fate intervened, however, as Leffler tangled with a lapped truck and crashed out of the event on Lap 169 handing the lead to Cook.
From there on out, it appeared to be smooth sailing for the Power Stroke Diesel driver as he sprinted away from the field in the closing stages of the race. That all changed just four laps from the finish when Brian Rose wrecked hard in Turn 1 bringing out the fifth yellow flag of the day. With his fuel load and tires all but exhausted, Cook idled around the one-mile New Hampshire oval as safety crews removed Rose's battered truck from the raceway. Now well past the advertised 200-lap distance, Cook and the rest of his Power Stroke Diesel team sweated out the restart that came on Lap 206.
With Setzer filling his mirrors, Cook's red, black and silver Power Stroke Diesel Ford managed to stay in front over the final two laps to take home his fourth career NCTS victory by a scant .0189 seconds over Setzer, David Starr, Ted Musgrave and Brendan Gaughn. The victory also gave the Bob, Ron and Kay Keselowski-owned K-Automotive team the distinction of being the first to win two NCTS events at New Hampshire. The first came in 1999, ironically with Setzer at the controls.
"I wasn't afraid of running out of gas," said Cook, whose Ford mount managed 92 laps in the final load of fuel. "I was worried about Dennis Setzer. Knowing that the Keselowski's had won at New Hampshire before and that we have a great package for these type of tracks, I thought we would have a good shot at a win. There's just so much talent in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series that it's hard to predict whose going to win. I have people ask me all the time if the series has taken a hit from drivers advancing to other divisions. My answer is no because I think it's as competitive now, if not more than it ever has been."
Cook's win earned $48,710 in prize money and boosted the Indianapolis, IN resident three wins, six Top-5 and 10 Top-10 finishes in 12 NCTS events this season. After a 100-point deduction for a technical infraction following a sixth-place finish at Daytona, no one has scored more points than the Indianapolis, IN driver over the past 11 events. Cook is now just five points out of fourth and only 102 markers out of first heading into the next race at Michigan International Speedway.
Cook and his No. 29 Power Stroke Diesel Ford will take to the track in the Michigan 200, Saturday, July 27 at Michigan International Speedway. The event will be telecast by ESPN and broadcast live on MRN Radio at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.