This Week in Ford Racing October 12, 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series With five races remaining in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, Rick Crawford, driver of the No. 14 F-150, finds himself in unfamiliar territory - outside of the...
This Week in Ford Racing
October 12, 2004
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
With five races remaining in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, Rick Crawford, driver of the No. 14 F-150, finds himself in unfamiliar territory - outside of the top 10 in the point standings. Crawford has posted a top-10 finish in the final point standings in each of the last three years, including a second-place finish in 2002, and is currently in the 12th position, 31 points out of the top 10 as the series heads to Texas Motor Speedway this weekend.
RICK CRAWFORD -14-Circle Bar Motel & RV Park Ford F-150
YOU ARE AT ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY TESTING FOR TWO DAYS. WHAT ARE YOU HOPING TO GAIN FROM THE TEST?
"We're hoping to get our Fords back up to speed on the larger tracks and close the deficit we're at right now to the other manufacturers. I'm not the type to point fingers and say that this truck is better than mine or this engine is better than the one I've got, and it's my responsibility to make my piece as good as it can get, and until I do that, I can't complain about the other makes or what the other teams are doing. My priority focus is on Circle Bar Racing and the new F-Series pickup, not the other teams. I know where we're getting beat and I think we need to fix ourselves before we complain about someone else. That's why we're here in Atlanta testing. We're trying to overcome the deficit we're at right now with the rules that we have right now. We still have five races remaining and we want to get another win before we close out the season."
THERE SEEMS TO BE A LOT MORE TESTING GOING ON THIS YEAR FOR THE TRUCKS TEAMS. IS THAT THE CASE?
"I think what's probably changed the truck series is, one, media attention, and, two, NASCAR attention. I think with a new competitor coming into the series, NASCAR has had to pay more attention to make sure nobody gets a distinct advantage over everybody else."
WITH THIS WEEK'S RACE AT TEXAS, THE SERIES WILL HAVE COMPETED AT THREE CONSECUTIVE VENUES THAT ARE A MILE AND A HALF OR LARGER. HOW DO THE TRUCKS HANDLE ON THE LARGER TRACKS?
"It's difficult to win and it's also difficult to pass. The trucks are pretty equal and when you get them out there towards the end of race with the tires wore out and they're slipping and sliding with the setups we have to run nowadays, but you've got a handful. Texas is wide open, and you're running door handle to door handle like they did in the old days, but these pickups won't do that any more and be stable for some reason. There are a couple of guys that have figured this deal out there and there are a bunch of guys that haven't figured it out, so when somebody steps inside of you or somebody steps around the outside of you, you're going to have to back off a little bit and give that other driver some room or you're going to see a crash. If you look at some of the Cup races and some of the Busch races, you don't see cars running side by side, and it's hard for a truck to run side by side. It's due to the setups that are on the pickups and due to the drivers that don't want to back off."
YOU HAVE ONE WIN THIS SEASON AT MARTINSVILLE, BUT YOU'RE CURRENTLY OUTSIDE THE TOP 10 IN POINTS. WHAT CAN YOU DO TO MAKE THIS A SUCCESSFUL SEASON?
"Surely, the season hasn't been as smooth as it needs to be, but attitude, performance and knowing that you can get the job done weekly is what's going to turn this around for us. Going through the ordeal we went through at Atlanta, I think we recovered from that rather well by winning at Martinsville, but we've stumbled along the way. We've got to lead some laps. We've got to win some races, and we've got to get back in the top 10 in points."
VETERAN DRIVERS HAVE MADE A STATEMENT THIS YEAR WITH THEIR PRESENCE IN THE TRUCK SERIES. HOW MUCH DOES EXPERIENCE PLAY AT FACTOR IN THE SERIES?
"It does at any level, whether it's Cup, Busch or Truck. The more experience you have, the better you are. It's about quality experience, let me put it that way. What we have in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is quality experience. I've said it time and time again that before my racing career is over I'd love to run Winston Cup. I'm really content in running truck series because of the boss I have and the team I'm driving for, but it seems like to me the guys that raced Cup are coming back to race with me. I'm having a lot of fun driving in the truck series this year and I think when you win one of these races you appreciate it all the more."