This Week in Ford Racing September 6, 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Bobby East, reigning USAC National Midget Car Series champion, had hoped to make his NASCAR debut at Indianapolis Raceway Park last month, but when rain forced the...
This Week in Ford Racing
September 6, 2005
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Bobby East, reigning USAC National Midget Car Series champion, had hoped to make his NASCAR debut at Indianapolis Raceway Park last month, but when rain forced the cancellation of Craftsman Truck Series qualifying, the 20-year-old Indianapolis native was forced to postpone his debut. East now hopes his first NASCAR start will come in Thursday night's Cheerios/Betty Crocker 200 at Richmond International Raceway. East, the 20-year-old son of legendary USAC team owner and car builder Bob East, will pilot a third Roush Racing entry as part of Ford Racing's driver development program, with Jeff Campey, a former Roush Racing truck series crew chief, calling the shots atop the pit box.
BOBBY EAST-33-Ford Racing F-150
RAIN SPOILED WHAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE YOUR FIRST NASCAR START LAST MONTH AT IRP, BUT DO YOU FEEL THAT THE EXTRA TIME HAS ALLOWED YOU TO GET MORE PREPARED? "I think I'm more prepared this time around because we were able to test at Richmond a few weeks ago. We didn't have a chance to test at IRP prior to that race, so I think the extra track time will help us. More than anything I'm just anxious to get my first race under my belt. I would have rather made my first race at IRP because it is my home track and I have more experience there, but I have run three Silver Crown races at Richmond. It's going to be a strong field for the truck race and we're really going to have to focus on qualifying."
ARE YOU TAKING THE SAME TRUCK TO RICHMOND THAT YOU TRIED TO RUN AT IRP? "It's a different truck from Indianapolis. It's one that the Ford engineers just built around the time of the IRP race, so this is the first time it will be raced. It's a good piece, and it tested pretty good at Richmond. I'd like to have been faster in testing, but we feel we'll qualify and race in the top half of the field. I'm just looking at getting some experience in a stock car this weekend, and I think we have the tools to do that."
DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER NASCAR PLANS THIS SEASON? "We may run Phoenix and Homestead with the same truck we take to Richmond, so I'm hoping to get in the race there and get out in one piece."
HAVE YOU FINALIZED YOUR RACING PLANS FOR NEXT YEAR? "I think we're going to try to run a full season in the trucks and then run some Busch races, too, but nothing is set yet. I think a lot of it is going to depend on sponsorship, but I'm planning on running a full season in NASCAR next year."
DO YOU THINK THE TRUCK SERIES IS A GOOD PLACE TO HONE YOUR SKILLS COMING FROM USAC? "The truck series is loaded with talented race car drivers and there's talk of some of the retiring Cup drivers, like Mark Martin, running in that series full-time, so I think it will make you better because you'll push yourself harder. It's always good to race against the best because it will raise your level of focus and intensity, and when you look at the names in the truck series you do see a good balance of up-and-comers and veteran racers. I'm just looking forward to getting in a stock car for a full season next year and getting my NASCAR career started off right."
A NUMBER OF CURRENT NEXTEL CUP DRIVERS HAVE MADE THE JUMP FROM THE TRUCK SERIES TO THE CUP LEVEL. IS THAT THE PATH YOU'RE LOOKING AT FOLLOWING? "I can't look beyond this year. We're looking at putting together a long-term plan for my racing career, and I think it's probably easier to adapt to the trucks than the cars, so it makes sense to start there. I'm not saying that they're easier to drive, but it might make for an easier transition from open wheel cars to stock cars."