After starting in the 12th position, Rick Crawford driver of the ...
After starting in the 12th position, Rick Crawford driver of the #14 Circle Bar Racing Ford heeded the advice of veteran crew chief Ray Stonkus by using a tire management strategy to move his way through the field.
With tires being the major concern of the 36-truck field, Crawford wisely chose his line and moves on the track nicknamed "To Tough to Tame." In the first 28 laps of the event, Crawford took his time marching towards the front in an attempt to conserve his tires.
Crawford broke into the top-ten for the first time on lap 29 when the field pitted for the first time. Crawford used the next 45 laps to pick his way through the top-ten climbing into the top-five on lap 75.
On lap 90 Crawford fell from the fifth position when the no. 29 of Terry Cook used lapped traffic to take the spot. The Circle Bar team pitted for the final time on lap 101 for four tires and fuel allowing Crawford to regain fifth where he remained until the end of the event.
Rick Crawford Quotes:
"This is Darlington and tire management was the key today. Me and my crew chief, Ray Stonkus, who does a great job and the crew advanced every time we had a pit stop. They kept me in the race and when it was time to mash the hammer, we mashed the hammer. We mashed it, but we didn't have enough for the Dodges or the Chevy's today."
Crawford's thoughts on the new four tire rule in the truck series:"Here at Darlington it did because that's was the only strategy you had, putting on four fresh tires. If you would have put on two rights, you took a chance on getting lapped or getting in trouble. You do what the leaders do at Darlington, especially putting on four tires when you can. If your team can do that without losing any spots, that's the only decision to make."
"I watched those Winston Cup guys on TV and made a little pass there in 1 and 2 and it got me a couple of spots one time. I put that in the bag for knowledge, but I enjoyed Darlington. We cam home without a scratch, but I didn't tame it and came home fifth today."
Craftsman Anniversary 200 Notes
* Rick Crawford moved from 24th in the series standings to eighth. Crawford currently has 246 points, 114 behind leaders Robert Pressely and Ted Musgrave.
* By taking the green flag for the event, Rick Crawford started his 128-consecutive event for Tom Mitchell and Circle Bar Racing. Crawford holds the most consecutive starts of any driver in the series.
* Rick Crawford was the top-finishing Ford for the first time in the 2002 season. After a disappointing 24th in Daytona, Crawford and company rebounded to post their first top-five of the year.
The Craftsman Anniversary 200 can be seen on ESPN2 Saturday, March 16 at 6:00 p.m. on ESPN2.
The next event for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is the ______ 200 at the Martinsville Speedway, Saturday April 13. The event will mark the third race of the 2002 season for the truck series and 129-consecutive for Rick Crawford.