Terry Cook survives Pikes Peak

FOUNTAIN, CO (May 22, 2000) - Tire problems ruled the day in the Grainger.com 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race as several top runners saw their hopes of a solid finish end up in a mass of shredded rubber and bent sheet metal. Terry...

FOUNTAIN, CO (May 22, 2000) - Tire problems ruled the day in the Grainger.com 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race as several top runners saw their hopes of a solid finish end up in a mass of shredded rubber and bent sheet metal. Terry Cook was fortunate enough to avoid both those eventualities, but the tire problems bit the driver of the #88 PickupTruck.com/Transmission Technologies Chevrolet just as well. "This is the first time I can remember in a long time where Jerry (crew chief Jerry Cook) had to call me my lap times so I wouldn't go too fast and keep tires under the truck," said Cook, who finished 17th in the 200-lap event at Pikes Peak International Raceway. "You can't believe how difficult it is to try to run slow during the race. It's just not natural, but that's what we had to do in order to finish without having a tire go down. We didn't want to take a chance at wrecking. We're on a mission to get back into the Top-10 in points by the mid-way point of the season and if we'd have wrecked or gone out early, there's no way we could do that." Cook qualified 22nd and quickly moved up in the field at the drop of the green flag. It didn't take long for the tire woes to take their toll as a number of drivers, including Mike Wallace, Joe Ruttman, Ricky Hendrick and Cook, began to have problems. "At the start of the race I thought we were going to be pretty good," Cook stated. "We moved up six or seven spots to somewhere around 15th or so and I thought it was going to be a good day. Then the tires got worn and the handling went away. We had a caution shortly after that and were able to come in and change right side tires. It was then we discovered we only had about nine pounds of air in the right front tire. We were riding around on a tire that was losing air and that compounded our handling problems. It was a good thing we caught the caution before we ended up wrecked, but a bad thing that it didn't come out before we lost a lap in the process." Cook's problems then went from bad to worse on a restart later in the race. "We lost another lap when there was some confusion with NASCAR on the line up order on a restart after another caution," said Cook. " I passed a truck on the left coming to the green that I thought was a lapped truck. That cost us a stop and go penalty. Unfortunately, the leaders were getting around quick enough that they were able to catch us and put us a second lap down. >From then on, our strategy was just to finish the race with all four fenders on the truck and take the best finish we could without taking a chance on having more tire problems." Now running 30th after the penalty, Cook managed to stay out of trouble the rest of the way to work his way back to the 17th position at the finish. Along the way, Ruttman, Steve Grissom, Rob Morgan and others fell prey to the tire problems. "The frustrating part is that with fresh tires we could run with the leaders," said Cook, who earned $9,890 for the effort. "Even on worn tires, we were still a Top-10 truck. If we'd have only been one lap down, we'd have taken the chance and raced the leaders to get our lap back. That would have put us in the Top-10 but as it turned out, we couldn't take that chance. "The day didn't go the way we wanted or needed it to," Cook concluded. "It's kind of like the way the entire weekend went. We just couldn't seem to find the set up that would work with the new tire Goodyear brought for the race. I know a lot of the teams struggled with the same problem and a lot of teams had tire problems today. We were just one of them." Cook and his SealMaster Racing Team will try to get back on the right track when they head to Evergreen Speedway and the 10th race of the 24-event 2000 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series tour. The Saturday, June 3 event on the challenging .646-mile Monroe, WA oval will take the green flag at 8 p.m. Eastern Time and will be telecast live on ESPN. The race will also be broadcast live by MRN radio.

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Mike Wallace , Ricky Hendrick , Terry Cook , Joe Ruttman , Steve Grissom , Rob Morgan