MEMPHIS, TN (June 18, 2003) - As Terry Cook returns to Memphis Motorsports Park in the No. 29 Power StrokeÂ® Diesel Ford for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series 200th race, the Indianapolis resident elected not to bring Droopy Dog that awarded the...
MEMPHIS, TN (June 18, 2003) - As Terry Cook returns to Memphis Motorsports Park in the No. 29 Power Stroke® Diesel Ford for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series 200th race, the Indianapolis resident elected not to bring Droopy Dog that awarded the K-Automotive team three of four victories - Milwaukee, New Hampshire and Indianapolis Raceway Park - in 2002 and a runner-up finish at the .75-mile short track Memphis tri-oval last season.
"Crew chief Rick Ren and I have been trying for weeks to determine what truck to run at Memphis," said Cook. "It's been really tough because the two Power Stroke® Diesel Ford trucks the team calls Lucky Dog and Droopy Dog are so close, but Lucky Dog seems slightly better. We have tested so much and been on numerous conference calls comparing notes to make 100% sure we make the right selection. Even though we won three of four races last year with Droopy Dog, it looks like Lucky Dog is the winner. We won at Gateway with it in 2002 and I feel pretty good about our chances to master Memphis with the Power Stroke® Diesel Ford we selected."
"As we made our selection, we knew that we would have to be on our program to have a strong finish at Memphis because one of the biggest things that has changed from last year to this year is that we are on a different set of tires," continued Cook. "Goodyear is bringing a new tire to Memphis. We had last years tire figured out, but our job will be to make sure we have this years tire figured out to get back to Victory Lane."
Last season the five time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series winner was so close to nudging a Memphis victory in the win column.
"We did everything to win that race at Memphis just short of shoving Travis Kvapil out of the way, but it could have taken him or both of us out of the race," said Cook, who finished second in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 last June. "From the ¾ mark on to the end of the race last season, we had an aero push. The fastest truck doesn't always win the race at Memphis because it comes down to who is out front. Being out front and having clean air on the nose of the truck is a huge advantage."
Not only does Cook have a runner-up finish at Memphis, but his Power Stroke® Diesel Ford crew chief Rick Ren was the one who led Travis Kvapil to a victory at the Memphis tri-oval last season.
"I'm going to be honest, I have struggled at Memphis in the past and we've had a hit or miss kind of run there," said crew chief Rick Ren. "What's kind of corny about this is that Terry dogged us most of the race for 70 or 80 laps last season running right on the back bumper of Travis. Terry was a little better in one end in the Power Stroke® Diesel Ford entry and we were a little bit better in the other end. If Terry would have been in the lead he would have won the race. Since we were in the lead, we won the race."
"To go back there with the guy that was so strong who really could've knocked us over and could have won the race last year, it gives you a real good feeling going into Memphis together as a team," continued Ren. "I was with the team that won and he was with the team that should've won and now that we're together the Power Stroke® Diesel Ford will be one to watch at Memphis."
In addition to a second-place finish at Memphis, Cook's 2002 short track resume' includes fifth at Martinsville, a win at IRP from pole position in the Power Stroke® Diesel 200, fifth at Richmond and a 25th-place finish at South Boston.
"The K-Automotive Power Stroke® Diesel Ford team had success at short tracks on the circuit last year with the exception of South Boston where we ran into some problems," said Cook. "I enjoy going to tracks like Memphis because they promote good close short track racing. It's a 3/4-mile track a lot like Richmond where you can race side by side. The bottom groove is obviously the preferred groove. The track also has a couple of bumps that they throw at you, one getting into Turn 1. There's also one at the ¾ mark down the backstretch.
"Turns 1 and 2 are completely different from Turns 3 and 4, continued Cook. "The turns are so tight in 3 and 4 that you feel like you almost come to a stop before you stand back on the accelerator and drive up out of a hole to get to the start finish line. The way the front-stretch is shaped, you pass inside and you can pass outside. With it being a V-shaped frontstretch it promotes pretty good side by side racing."
Cook and the No. 29 Power Stroke® Diesel Ford team will take the green flag in the O'Reilly 200 at Memphis Motorsports Park Saturday, June 21 at 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The event will be telecast live on Speed Channel and broadcast live on MRN Radio nationwide.