For the second consecutive week, rain showers forced the cancellation of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series qualifying. The field for tomorrow's O'Reilly 400K at Texas Motor Speedway was therefore set by the NASCAR rulebook, and with 36 competitors,...
For the second consecutive week, rain showers forced the cancellation of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series qualifying. The field for tomorrow's O'Reilly 400K at Texas Motor Speedway was therefore set by the NASCAR rulebook, and with 36 competitors, no teams were forced to pack up early.
Rick Crawford, who along with fellow Ford driver Terry Cook are the only two drivers to have competed in all 10 previous Craftsman Truck Series races at Texas Motor Speedway, will start second in tomorrow's 167-lap race. Cook, a four-time winner on the circuit last season, will start from the eighth position.
Heading into this weekend's seventh race of the season, Crawford, who won the season-opening event at Daytona, trails first-place Bobby Hamilton by 43 points in the point standings, while Cook sits 92 points out of the top five.
RICK CRAWFORD -14-SAC/Circle Bar Motel & RV Park Ford F-150:
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON CANCELING QUALIFYING IN AN ATTEMPT TO GET SOME PRACTICE BEFORE TOMORROW'S RACE?
"I think qualifying is big anywhere. You're apt to get in less trouble the further up toward the front you start. Qualifying by owner points when qualifying gets rained out, the owner earns that right. If something happens it's a good way of doing things. It's the right thing to do when NASCAR has to fall back on Plan B and give the teams more time to practice rather than qualify. The truck owners that come to each and every race earns those points and that's the way it should start."
THE TRACK HAS NOT UNDERGONE ANY CHANGES FROM LAST YEAR. DO YOU EXPECT THE TRACK CONDITIONS TO BE BETTER THAN LAST YEAR?
"It's been the same the last couple of times that we've been here, and we've been here four times in the last two years. I think it's been the same track, but weather is more of an issue here. We start the race with the sun going down and we finish it under the lights. I think that plays a part into the outcome of the race. I think it adds some excitement because you can have a good truck at the beginning of the night and it might not be there at the end, and somebody might tweak on something toward the end and get better. I think it adds some excitement. I think we've had some different winners here that you wouldn't have expected to win going into the race. You wouldn't say that some of the past winners were the veterans or the truck masters of the series, and all of a sudden they're winning. You get some variety here at Texas because it plays into a lot of hands.
THIS RACE USUALLY HAS A HIGH ATTRITION RATE. TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE THAT? "It's a long race and these trucks are aerodynamic bricks. We're trying to run 180 mph with them, so you have to stretch all of the components inside that vehicle, and when you do something is apt to break. You can't pull back on the reins here and say, 'I'm going to just hang out until the end and be safe' because you're not going to win. There's going to be a guy out there who's the rabbit that is going to lead the pack and lead it all day long, and he's going to stretch his stuff to the point of breaking. If you're there with him and he has problems, now it's your chance. From that point on, you have to stretch your stuff just long enough to beat the rest of the them."
YOU ARE COMING OFF OF WHAT YOU CALLED A DISAPPOINTING FINISH LAST WEEKEND IN DOVER. DO YOU FEEL THAT YOU HAVE WORKED OUT THE PROBLEMS IN THE PITS?
"Any time that you get out of a checkered flag situation and you get out of a truck that was far dominant for the first half of the race and it should have been in victory lane and it's not and you lose points to the leader, it frustrates a driver. I'm a competitor and I'm also human, and when I got out of the truck last week I was frustrated and blasted away and I hope that nobody took it personally. The team is still intact and hopefully we have a good run this weekend. We brought a truck here we think can win or we wouldn't have brought it here. This is basically our home track with our owner Tom Mitchell living in Ozona, Texas, and a lot of the family members are here. We know what kind of mistakes we made. We're working on timing with our pit stops. We know that we've had tremendous pit stops throughout the year and we're not Winston Cup related like some of these teams."
IS IT A DISADVANTAGE FOR YOU WHEN THE TRUCK SERIES RUNS WITH THE WINSTON CUP SERIES BECAUSE TRUCK TEAMS CAN GET WINSTON CUP CREWS TO PIT THEIR TRUCKS?
"I'll put my guys up against any of them any time and I think my guys are ready to take to the issue. If you look at Phoenix last year, I know we finished third to Harvick and Musgrave, but we beat them both out of the pits each and every time and I know that they had Winston Cup-related crews. They did the same thing at Daytona and we won at Daytona with track position at the end of the race. My crew did that for me, so sometimes it's probably unfair to point the finger because of one incident."