This Week in Ford Racing June 22, 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series The Craftsman Truck Series season is only eight races deep into its 25-race season, but Jon Wood, driver of the No. 50 Ford F-150, is hoping that his team's...
This Week in Ford Racing
June 22, 2004
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
The Craftsman Truck Series season is only eight races deep into its 25-race season, but Jon Wood, driver of the No. 50 Ford F-150, is hoping that his team's early-season misfortunes are over the for the year. Wood, who captured race two wins and a fifth-place finish in the point standings last year in his second full season of competition in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, is currently eighth in the point standings, 50 out of the top four as the series heads to the Milwaukee Mile for this weekend's Black Cat Fireworks 200.
JON WOOD -No.50-Roush Racing Ford F-150
YOU SEEM TO BE PICKING UP THE PACE AS THE SEASON PROGRESSES.
"We got off to a rough and rocky start, but I think things are improving. We're starting to at least be able to race up front. We didn't have the finish we probably should have had at Memphis, but it's much better to say that than for it to be the other way and say we got the finish we didn't need, like we used to do earlier in the year and just kind of hang on and wait on everybody to wreck."
YOU WEREN'T THE ONLY DRIVER STRUGGLING AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON. TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE THE ROUGH START OF THE SEASON?
"I'm working with John (Monsam, crew chief) as closely as possible to try to figure out what we're doing wrong in our qualifying stuff and how we can overall have a better race package. I think it is body related because at the short tracks we're still running the same way we did last year."
HAS THE TIRE COMPOUND HAD AN EFFECT ON WHAT YOU'RE FELLING ON THE RACE TRACK?
"I'm not really noticing a difference. It's a little different than last year's tire, but tires are tires, they're still made out of rubber."
THE SERIES IS IN THE MIDDLE OF ITS LONGEST STRETCH OF RACES WITHOUT A BREAK. HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS SEVEN-RACE STRETCH OF RACES?
"First off, you have to have momentum, and second off, you have to maintain it. The Busch guys and Cup guys do it every weekend, it's not anything out of the ordinary, and you just have to stay focused. I don't think the number of races matters. It's aggravating at the beginning of the season because you race once and you have to wait a month, then race again and wait two months. It takes a long time to get in the rhythm of things, but after you get going, it's one thing right after another every weekend."
DO YOU FEEL YOU WILL BE READY TO MOVE TO THE BUSCH SERIES AT THE SEASON'S END?
"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."
WHAT ABOUT THE NUMBER OF NASCAR VETERANS THAT NOW CALL THE TRUCK SERIES HOME?
"The veterans are able to secure good, solid rides that maybe they wouldn't be able to 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."
A LOT OF ORGANIZATIONS ARE STARTING TO USE THE BUSCH SERIES AS THE DEVELOPMENTAL SERIES, WHEREAS ROUSH RACING HAS BEEN STEADFAST IN ITS BELIEF THAT THE TRUCK SERIES IS A GOOD PLACE TO GROOM YOUNG TALENT.
"Jack (Roush) is real big on trucks because Biffle and Busch looked so good. I feel like it's good starting point. I think truck racing from the very get-go has always had the Saturday night short-track style of racing, but we have that everywhere we go. That teaches you a lot more car control because half of the time you're trying to correct your truck from about crashing because someone rubbed into the side of you, and that teaches a lot where the Busch Series is more corporate, so to speak."
THIS WILL BE THE FIRST TRUCK RACE UNDER THE LIGHTS AT MILWAUKEE. DO YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS ENTERING THE WEEKEND?
"I don't know what to expect with Milwaukee being a night race. I think it will be a lot of fun, but by the same token, I'm a little bit leery of it because I don't know what to expect. I'm still young enough where my eyesight hasn't gone away yet, so you really don't know the difference between day and night when you're in the truck. For the first couple of laps you do, but after that, it's just like racing in the daytime. The track is not very sensitive to the changing weather conditions, so from that standpoint it shouldn't really matter."