Preseason Thunder: Daytona day one report

Rick Crawford: 'I'm Going To Win Two In A Row' DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Jan. 10, 2004) - Rick Crawford made a prediction during the lunch break on the first day of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series testing at Daytona International Speedway - he's going...

Rick Crawford: 'I'm Going To Win Two In A Row'

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Jan. 10, 2004) - Rick Crawford made a prediction during the lunch break on the first day of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series testing at Daytona International Speedway - he's going to defend his Florida Dodge Dealers 250 victory on Friday night, Feb. 13 at historic Daytona International Speedway.

"You can write it down right now, I'm going to (win) two in a row," Crawford said.

Crawford captured the 2003 Florida Dodge Dealers 250 in a memorable three-wide photo finish with Travis Kvapil and Robert Pressley. The margin of victory was .027 seconds, the sixth closest finish in Craftsman Truck Series history.

If Crawford has to go four-wide to win this year's Florida Dodge Dealers 250, he'll do it.

"One thing about winning, at least you know how, and so we'll take that out of the equation," Crawford said. "You know drama follows me, so if it takes the dramatic, we can do it again. If not, I'm sure it will be a great race."

For the Mobile, Ala., driver, winning at the "World Center of Racing" was a dream come true.

"You can probably name a lot of drivers on just two or three pages that have won at Daytona," Crawford said. "No matter what they're in, they go to the same Victory Lane. So being a part of the same Victory Lane at Daytona is pretty special."

Crawford and the rest of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitors kicked off a three-day test session Saturday in preparation for the Florida Dodge Dealers 250, which will be held under the lights for the first time in event history on Friday night, Feb. 13.

"Everybody wants to see the smoke and the fire and the sparks on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and how better is it than Daytona at night?" Crawford said. "I think a lot of that is missing during the day in a daytime race, but we'll see it at night and I'm sure it will be plenty of excitement."

Fastest on the day: Carl Edwards, the 2003 Raybestos Rookie of the Year, was the fastest after the first day of testing with a lap of 181.218 mph. Rounding out the top five on the speed chart were Edwards' Roush Racing teammate Jon Wood (180.292), Chase Montgomery (180.166), Bobby Hamilton (180.054) and Chad Chaffin (179.451).

Edwards, who made his back flips famous after his three Craftsman Truck Series victories in 2003, would love to do a back flip after a victory at Daytona.

"I can't imagine how amazing that would feel," Edwards said. "I haven't really thought about it too much and I'm not going to. We're shooting for that, and if it happens, I can't describe it but it would be a dream come true."

Here comes Toyota: Toyota, making its debut in the Craftsman Truck Series in 2004, had its fleet of seven Tundras testing with drivers Shelby Howard and Bill Lester (Bill Davis Racing), Robert Huffman and Hank Parker Jr. (Innovative Motorsports), Travis Kvapil and Mike Skinner (Bang Racing) and David Reutimann (Darrell Waltrip Motorsports). Reutimann had the best Toyota lap of the test session at 176.672.

"It was a great day," Skinner said. "We get a tiny bit better every time we get on the race track with our new Tundra. Obviously on the average, I think we're a second slow. A second wouldn't make us the fastest by any means but it would at least make us competitive. Right now, I don't think we're competitive but Toyota is new coming into this. The Tundra is coming. It's just going to be a little bit of time."

First on track: Edwards was first driver on track with the No. 99 Ford for Roush Racing while the first Toyota Tundra on track was Bill Lester's No. 22 truck.

Test speeds from the first day of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series testing at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the Feb. 13 Florida Dodge Dealers 250: <pre> 1. Carl Edwards Ford 181.218 mph 2. Jon Wood Ford 180.292 3. Chase Montgomery Dodge 180.166 4. Bobby Hamilton Dodge 180.054 5. Chad Chaffin Dodge 179.451 6. Steve Grissom Dodge 179.026 7. Dennis Setzer Chevrolet 178.834 8. Steve Park Dodge 178.614 9. Matt Crafton Chevrolet 178.501 10. David Starr Chevrolet 177.837 11. Ted Musgrave Dodge 177.630 12. Tina Gordon Chevrolet 177.543 13. Jack Sprague Chevrolet 177.308 14. Steadman Marlin Ford 176.984 15. Ken Weaver Chevrolet 176.793 16. Rick Crawford Ford 176.727 17. David Reutimann Toyota 176.672 18. Mike Skinner Toyota 176.581 19. Bill Lester Toyota 176.495 20. Brandon Whitt Ford 176.467 21. Shane Sieg Chevrolet 176.353 22. Geoff Bodine Chevrolet 176.111 23. Jamie Aube Chevrolet 174.965 24. Kelly Sutton Chevy 175.915 25. Terry Cook Ford 174.808 26. Travis Kvapil Toyota 175.658 27. Shelby Howard Toyota 174.873 28. Robert Huffman Toyota 174.764 29. Hank Parker Jr. Toyota 174.108 30. Stan Boyd Ford 171.070

Speedweeks 2004 tickets, including the Florida Dodge Dealers 250, are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

-dis-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Darrell Waltrip , Steve Park , Mike Skinner , David Starr , Hank Parker Jr. , Robert Pressley , Ted Musgrave , Jack Sprague , Dennis Setzer , Terry Cook , Rick Crawford , Jon Wood , Chase Montgomery , Matt Crafton , Tina Gordon , Shelby Howard , Kelly Sutton , Bill Lester , Chad Chaffin , Steve Grissom , David Reutimann , Steadman Marlin , Stan Boyd , Carl Edwards , Brandon Whitt , Ken Weaver , Shane Sieg , Robert Huffman , Travis Kvapil
Teams Bill Davis Racing