BAKERSFIELD, CA (March 12, 2001) - Entering the third race of the 2001 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, Terry Cook is optimistic he has the right combination to produce his first win since taking over the driving chores in the No. 29...
BAKERSFIELD, CA (March 12, 2001) - Entering the third race of the 2001 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, Terry Cook is optimistic he has the right combination to produce his first win since taking over the driving chores in the No. 29 K-Automotive Ford.
"The biggest thing for a track like Bakersfield is handling and aerodynamic packages," said Cook of the next race on the circuit at Mesa Marin Raceway. "Maintaining downforce throughout the race is important at this type of track. A good aero-balance with downforce on the front and on the rear is key to getting the No. 29 K-Automotive Ford to handle well. The formula to winning the race is strictly handling the track. The K-Automotive Group has won at Bakersfield before and, when they haven't won there, they've run well. If we stay out of trouble, I expect nothing less than Top-5 finish."
Last year, Cook rolled to seventh place finish at the tough half-mile Bakersfield oval after a timely late-race call by Cook..
"The race in 2000 was similar to what we've ran at Bakersfield in the past," said Cook. "We never really got a hold of the racetrack all day and we struggled. We were good enough to stay out on the lead lap, but not good enough to run in the Top-10. We were on the verge of running in the Top-10, but we didn't have a truck that was capable. We made a gutsy call at the end of the race electing not to pit. Without pitting, it allowed us to pick up a lot of track position and hold off a bunch of trucks. It ended up being a good day for us and we came away with a seventh-place finish after struggling with the set-up most of the day."
Horsepower is not a major factor when racing at Mesa Marin, but shock packages and tire management can be the leading factors for a trip to Victory Lane at Mesa Marin.
"Bakersfield is the type of track where everybody works on a shock package with tire management," said Cook. "We've spent the last day and a half comparing notes with other teams. I am not sure how old the facility is, but the track is what we call a worn out surface. It's pretty rough and the stone protrudes out of the asphalt and makes it real abrasive on tires. When you are on fresher tires, it's easier to run down into the ruts on the edge of the racetrack. Then you can use the left front to hook the truck up and help it turn through the corners. After turning the corners, you are able to run up into the second groove and that generally helps the tire wear a little bit. Basically, taking a lap around the track, the turns are very tight and high-banked with an abrasive surface, so it's hard to get a handle on it."
The green flag drops for the Orchard Supply Hardware 250 on March 17, 2001, at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event will be televised by ESPN2 and broadcast live by MRN Radio.