Three Fords Finish Top-Five

in Charlotte NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Race

Brendan Gaughan finished third with Erik Darnell fourth and Rick Crawford fifth in Friday night's North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

BRENDAN GAUGHAN – No. 10 Int’l MAXXFORCE Diesel Ford F-150 (Finished 3rd) – “Chad McCumbee and congratulations to Matt Crafton.  He deserves a win so much and to watch two young kids, Crafton and Chad go at it.  I told Chad, I said, ‘If you could have just hit him one more time.’  We made a great run at it.  That’s a brand new Circle Bar Ford from our shop.  Curt and the guys in the fab shop built it.  It’s been to the wind tunnel and did all the stuff with it.  I’m so proud of all those guys.  Thanks to Rick Crawford for bringing me here and Ford for taking the chance, and the Maxx Force guys.  Man, I haven’t had this much fun in years.  My dad smiling on the pit box, this is just like old times.  We can do this every week.  Me and Rick, top five, we’re gonna start making some headway.” 

DID YOU THINK YOU HAD A CHANCE ON THE LAST RESTART?  “Absolutely.  Gator does my transmissions here and years ago a man named Dwayne Knorr kind of helped me on my restarts.  Gator builds them for me just like I had them and we were great on restarts.  I love it and I had a chance.  They both did a good job.  They had a little bit better truck tonight, but they started banging and I thought I had a chance.  That’s what a green-white-checker is all about.”

RICK CRAWFORD – No. 14 Power Stroke Diesel by Int’l Ford F-150 (Finished 5th) – “How about that?  A third-place finish and to come from where we were in practice with this Ford F-150.  Ford Racing – Drive one.  I enjoy it week in and week out and I’ve been doing it for a long time.  How about this finish?  Look at the big picture.  Chasing down the point leader.  He didn’t have such a good night tonight and congratulations to Matt Crafton, a guy that’s been racing in the series almost as long as I have and tonight his first win here at Charlotte.  But a top-five finish for the Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International team.  What a night.  Kevin Starland told me in qualifying.  He said, ‘Now I can fix it.’  In practice we had a tough time, but he said, ‘Now I can fix it,’ and he did and it ran some good, fast laps all night long.” 

DID YOU THINK THERE MIGHT BE ONE MORE WRECK AND YOU AND BRENDAN WOULD HAVE BATTLED FOR THE WIN?  “Yeah and I could have probably just asked him to move over and win the thing.  No, Brendan Gaughan is a great race car driver.  I was glad to have him as an addition to my team.  He just fits in perfectly.  His guys have been working on that truck.  This was a brand new truck they had tonight and to have a top three with it says a lot for the Circle Bar Racing team, along with the Maxx Force Diesel.”

ERIK DARNELL – No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150 (Finished 4th) – “It’s disappointing.  Our Northern Tool + Equipment Ford was awesome tonight.  The 51 was tough, but I felt like we were about equal to him in the middle of the race.  On that last restart, I don’t know.  The way I read the rule, the leader sets the pace.  I knew Johnny was hanging back a little bit, so I was just kind of waiting.  We weren’t even to the double red lines yet and I hadn’t fired off.  He took off and went and got up on the outside there and, unfortunately, it ruined our race for us.  It would have been a good race between me and him at the end.  I know I think he was a tick better than us.  He had a little bit fresher tires than we did.  I’m just disappointed.  I’m kind of kicking myself right now because I lost that race for us.  It should have been a win or a second right there with him and I screwed it up tonight.” 

SO YOU DIDN’T HAVE A PROBLEM ON THE RESTART OR SPINNING THE TIRES OR ANYTHING?  “No, I wasn’t having a problem with spinning the tires, but it just felt like I couldn’t get going in second gear.  I felt like that from the start of the race.  I noticed on one restart when Travis was behind me that it looked like he was having the same problem getting going, so it’s frustrating and disappointing.”

COLIN BRAUN – No. 6 Con-Way Freight Ford F-150 (Finished 15th) – “The Con-Way Freight No. 6 Ford F-150 was great.  We had a really fast truck.  I thought we had a truck to win the race.  We made our last pit stop there and got some great final adjustments in the truck.  Mike Beam did a really good job.  I think that pit call was absolutely the right thing to do.  It put us back there a little bit, but on fresh tires our truck was so fast that it was the right thing to do.  The 51 and 33 both did it and I thought we were a little bit faster than those guys, so I think that was the right thing to do.  It’s just unfortunate that they all had to wreck up there.  It’s a little disappointing when there’s thirty-something laps to go and there’s a wreck for 10th place, but that’s the way racing goes and, unfortunately, we got caught up in it.” 

YOU SHOWED SOME PATIENCE RACING HORNADAY EARLIER.  WAS THAT A CASE OF HOW MUCH YOU’RE LEARNING IN THIS SERIES?  “That was just a case where we had a faster truck at the time and, really, on the inside we were both slowed down.  We were losing about half-a-second a lap and by doing that, we were trying to catch the other guys in second and third.  I just wanted to fall back single-file and then knew he’d run up the race track and we would get past him.  We got back ahead of him and pulled out to a pretty big lead and then we started to tighten up.  When he got back to me, I just let him go.  I figured that was the more veteran thing to do.  I’m trying to learn from these guys.  Hornaday obviously didn’t want to let it go that easy, but I tried to gain a little bit of respect from those guys by doing that and, hopefully, that pays off down the road a little bit.”

TRAVIS KVAPIL – No. 09 Zaxby’s Ford F-150 (Finished 18th) – “It’s been a rough weekend.  I thought we were really gonna have a chance to win here tonight.  We had a great truck here last year and going off those notes I thought we were gonna have a good shot at it, but we hurt that first truck.  We popped a tire and I really thought we got this truck up to speed in practice and I was pretty confident in it, but we just started the race off too tight.  We were just a little bit off the leaders and during the long green-flag run we ended up going a lap down.  I think we put scuffed tires on it under that green-flag stop and that one set of tires in particular was really tight.  We lost a lot of time and lap times were really slow.  Once we got them back off there, it looked like the truck was OK again, but we were trapped a lap down and just kind of stuck there.”

BRENDAN GAUGHAN PRESS CONFERENCE – “It was a heck of a night.  We qualified 29th and I wasn’t worried about it one bit.  Bryan Berry and the Circle Bar guys build me race trucks and not qualifying trucks.  We knew we had a decent piece, but it’s a long night.  It’s a battle.  Bryan came in for some adjustments and from there it was just keep driving.  The guys had great pit stops.  We did a two-tire stop under green and kept us on the lead lap and did a great job just trying to hold onto it.  I’m just proud as all can be of my guys on pit road.  They did such an outstanding job, and then we brought home a brand new Ford F-150 in third and Rick Crawford right behind him in fifth.  You can’t knock that for Circle Bar.  The top two Fords and I was just rooting for Chad and Matt to bang one more time.  If they hit each other one more time, I had a chance but I’ve got to say a huge congratulations for Matt Crafton.  I’m extremely proud of him and excited for him and it’s been a long time coming.” 

 IS THIS YOUR BEST FINISH HERE?  “No, I finished second in 2003 to Ted Musgrave, but it’s my best run here in a very, very long time.”

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