Milwaukee: Terry Cook - NASCAR spotlight

Flat-track specialist hoping to "get well" at The Milwaukee Mile DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 23, 2004) -- Based on his recent NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series record at The Milwaukee Mile, this could be the week Terry Cook (No. 10 Power Stroke Diesel...

Flat-track specialist hoping to "get well" at The Milwaukee Mile

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 23, 2004) -- Based on his recent NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series record at The Milwaukee Mile, this could be the week Terry Cook (No. 10 Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford) returns to top form.

Cook will be the first to welcome the change.

It's been a miserable month for the Ohio native leading into Friday's Black Cat Fireworks 200, the series' 10th visit to the Milwaukee area and first event under the lights at State Fair Park.

Cook, winner of the race two years ago in an exciting finish with Jason Leffler, has placed 20th or worse in his most recent three starts. Since placing third at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway on May 16, Cook and his first-year ppc Racing team have dropped from eighth to 14th in the championship standings.

The team also is finding its legs under new crew chief Jamie Jones.

"The season has been a roller coaster ride; it's been up and down," said Cook. "It's nice to have the ups when you're running well but it makes the downs fall that much harder when you're on the top."

Cook is known as a flat-track specialist, having scored victories at the old Flemington (N.J.) Speedway, Gateway International Raceway, Indianapolis Raceway Park and New Hampshire International Speedway as well as Milwaukee.

"I really have a good feel for those tracks," Cook said.

Those skills should come in handy this week as Cook bids to become the first series driver to win more than once at The Milwaukee Mile. Former winners Mike Skinner (No. 42 Toyota Tundra Toyota, 1995), Jack Sprague (No. 16 Chevy Trucks Chevrolet, 1996) and Ted Musgrave (No. 1 Mopar Dodge, 2001) also are entered.

"The Milwaukee Mile is a good place for me to go back to because it's not far from my home (the Toledo suburb of Sylvania) and it's the site of my first race on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series," said Cook. The veteran of 173 series races beginning in 1996, Cook has completed the most laps/miles (1,486) at the track and is second in laps led with 172 to Sprague's 446.

He's finished seventh, first and fourth in his last three Milwaukee appearances.

The past, however, is just that -- past. Cook comes to Milwaukee with his third different team. Fortuitously, ppc Racing -- and crew chief Jones - are Milwaukee Mile veterans. The Greg Pollex-Keith Barnwell operation is the defending NASCAR Busch Series Alan Kulwicki 250 winner with Jason Keller. Jeff Green won the race in 2000. Jones meanwhile was a member of the BACE Motorsports team in 1996 when Randy LaJoie finished third.

"It's a matter of taking the equipment that is already built and massaging it to both Jamie's liking and my driving style," said Cook. "We're not there just yet by any means but we'll keep climbing the ladder." Jones agrees with his driver's assessment.

"With communications, Terry and I have about a 'C' (grade) going into Milwaukee," he said. "Engineering I would give them a 'B.' It's going to work out (but) it's going to take time to put all the pieces in place. Right now, my realistic goal is top-10 qualifying and top-10 finishes. Once we can do that, then we can shoot for top-five qualifying and top-five finishes. Once you get to that point, the wins will take care of themselves." The combination of driver and track could mean that this week, anyway, the team is closer to the second goal than Jones might think.

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Jason Keller , Mike Skinner , Jeff Green , Ted Musgrave , Jack Sprague , Terry Cook , Alan Kulwicki