This Week in Ford Racing October 19, 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Jon Wood, driver of the No. 50 Ford F-150, is still looking for his first win of the 2004 season and this weekend at Martinsville could be his best chance at returning...
This Week in Ford Racing
October 19, 2004
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Jon Wood, driver of the No. 50 Ford F-150, is still looking for his first win of the 2004 season and this weekend at Martinsville could be his best chance at returning to Victory Lane. Wood, the defending winner of the Kroger 200, is excited about returning to his home state of Virginia and knows he needs another good finish at the .526-mile oval this year to boost his current 15th-place standing in the point standings.
JON WOOD -50-Roush Racing Ford F-150
HOW SPECIAL WAS THE WIN LAST YEAR AT MARTINSVILLE? "It's so tough to get a win anywhere, but to win at Martinsville in front of my family and friends was a great experience. I remember going to Martinsville as a kid and saw some of NASCAR's biggest names win there. A lot of people say that Darlington is the track too tough tame, but in my opinion Martinsville is. You never can go there and leave saying that we did everything we could do and had the perfect day because it just doesn't work like that."
MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY WAS JUST RESURFACED AND THIS WILL BE THE FIRST TIME YOU WILL HAVE RACED ON THE NEW SURFACE. DO YOU EXPECT THE TRACK CONDITIONS TO BE DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT? "I think it will be the same old Martinsville mostly. The speeds will be faster and the track has more grip from what I've heard, but the shape of the track and the banking hasn't changed, and that's what makes Martinsville unique."
THERE ARE A FEW CUP DRIVERS ENTERED IN THE TRUCK RACE AT MARTINSVILLE AND THEY'VE HAD THE OPTION OF TESTING THERE IN THEIR CARS THERE SINCE IT WAS REPAVED. DOES THAT GIVE THEM A DISTINCT ADVANTAGE HEADING INTO SATURDAY'S RACE? "I think so, but they always have the advantage because they've got so many more laps at these places than I do. But, when you win a race when there are Cup drivers, it makes it that much more satisfying. It definitely makes it a lot easier to be able to go test somewhere and know what to expect and have a close setup when you go back, but there's not a lot you can use going from a car to a truck. They'll know what the track conditions will be like, to a degree, and that's better than guessing based off of what happened the previous year. In the trucks, probably more than the Cup and Busch Series, there's a premium placed on experience and I think the no testing rule has a lot to do with that. You only get two or three practice sessions before every truck race, and if that's your first time at that track or a track that has been resurfaced, that makes it tough."
IT WAS ANNOUNCED LAST WEEK THAT RON HORNADAY WOULD BE RETURNING TO THE TRUCK SERIES NEXT YEAR. IS THE YOUTH MOVEMENT OVER IN THE TRUCK SERIES? "With the way the economy is, you're seeing some of the veteran drivers resurfacing. With all of the manufacturers increasing their support of the series, teams now have more money to spend and they have more money to hire the experienced people. Money buys speed, and with the money and the speed you have with these trucks now, you have to have somebody that can drive, and Jack (Sprague) and those guys have proven that they can get it done. It makes winning tougher, but I think it will make winning even sweeter. The veterans are able to secure good, solid rides that maybe they wouldn't be able to get in Cup and that makes them competitive. In Cup right now you're seeing all of the young guys running up front, but they're also with good teams. The older guys see that they can establish themselves with highly competitive teams, so that's what they're doing and they're doing it well. There's a premium put on youth right now on the Cup side and that's taken a lot of the quality rides away from the veterans of the sport. I'd like to think that I'm one of the young up-and-comers and I'd like to take the next step in my career at the end of the year."
DO YOU SEE YOURSELF MOVING TO THE BUSCH SERIES NEXT YEAR? "Yeah, one way or another. If you can't get enough out of truck racing after three-and-a-half years, I think you might as well hang up your helmet. I've seen guys that I outrun every week that are very competitive in the Busch Series. I think the trucks are more competitive than the Busch cars are, but it's viewed as the next step in the a driver's development on your way to NEXTEL Cup."
SITTING 15TH IN POINT STANDINGS, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE SEASON? "I just want to get our team straightened out. We're way too far in the season to be worrying about the point standings or anything of that nature. Our team has just gotten way out of whack from last year to this year and that's basically my main goal is to get that straightened out. And, if I move on to a Busch car next year or whatever the case may be at least my truck program, the 50 truck will be back up and running for whoever may drive it. There's no need to really harp on what has happened, you just have to correct it and I think there's a light at the end of the tunnel."