Crawford Runs Fifth in OReilly 200

Rick Crawford started 24th, but charged through the field to finish fifth in Wednesday night's O'Reilly 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

CRAWFORD RUNS FIFTH IN O'REILLY 200 JOHN WES TOWNLEY – No. 09 Zaxby’s Ford F-150 (Finished 35th) – “I was behind the 07 as we came out of the corner and he started to spin.  I dove down for the bottom, but, unfortunately, it was just too sharp of a turn and it started to go around on me.  I was disappointed because I was so sure I had it saved, but it was just too sharp of a corner and I couldn’t avoid it.  I’ve got to thank Zaxby’s and Ford and Roush Fenway for giving me such a good truck.  We had a pretty fast truck.  We struggled a little bit in practice, but we got it right for qualifying.” 

WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO GET OUT THERE AND RACE ON THIS TRACK WITH THOSE GUYS?  “I tell you what, it’s like a dream come true.  My first race was at Mansfield and I was as aggressive as I could be, but, at the same time, I wanted to lay low a little bit and get my approval.  I’m starting to feel a lot more comfortable and getting a little more racy out there.  It’s just a disappointing night, but we’ll come back and hopefully do better the next time.”

ERIK DARNELL – No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150 (Finished 15th) – “It was frustrating.  We put ourselves behind the eight-ball in qualifying and started 23rd or whatever it was and we were making progress early on in the outside lane but two trucks got together ahead of me and one of them got loose and shot up in the left-front and cut the tire down five laps into the race.  We were just behind from there.  The Northern Tool + Equipment Ford was decent during the race.  I’ve got to give credit to Matt and all the guys for keeping after it all day.  We struggled in practice.  We were not very good at all and those guys threw everything they knew at the truck and got it better.  It was actually pretty decent in the race and was definitely a top-10 contender at the end, I know that.  From where we started the day, that’s a big improvement.” 

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE END WHEN YOU SPUN?  “I was frustrated just trying to get back to the front.  We finally got back on the lead lap with 50 to go, but at that point you don’t have much time to do anything, so I was just driving as hard as I could.  I drove it down in there, we were a little bit loose, and it got away from me.  It’s frustrating, but at least we didn’t lose as many points as we could have.”

RICK CRAWFORD – No. 14 PowerStroke Diesel by Int’l Ford F-150 (Finished 5th) – “I wasn’t happy with where we started, but I was really happy with where we finished.  People need to drive one of these Ford F-150’s, especially the F-Series pickup with the Ford PowerStroke Diesel in it by International.  We’re built Ford tough.  We started 24th tonight here at Bristol, I thought we could do it, I had a plan and it worked out for us.  We passed them when we came to them.  We were in a defensive mode there at the end.  We had the four foreign makes ahead of us and we were the only American made vehicle in the top five, so it feels good.  Our team needed this to build some momentum for Gateway and Loudon, which are good tracks for us.  To come out of this particular place with a top five feels pretty good.” 

WHAT WAS THE PLAN?  “Go to the front.  I felt good before the race. I felt good about my chances and I felt good about my truck.  Jody Ridley told me one time a long, long time ago and I listened to his experience.  He told me that when you catch a vehicle, be it a car or a truck, have a plan to pass him when you get to him.  Don’t waste your time and I listened to that and I applied it tonight.”

BRENDAN GAUGHAN – No. 10 Int’l MAXXFORCE Diesel Ford F-150 (Finished 13th) – “We have a lot better career-best finishes here and this Circle Bar team, we expect better.  We had a good Ford, but were just too tight all night.  The early run, we made up a lot of spots off the start and were the first one to go to the outside and just railed by people.  It was a lot of fun and then progressively as rubber got laid down and the track cooled off, we got tighter and tighter.  We had one set of Goodyears left as stickers, but as far as spring rate and stagger, they were horrible.  We couldn’t use them, so we knew we had to stick with what we had.  The Circle Bar guys did everything possible to try to get us a Ford that could run up there.  We got into the top 10 a couple of times and went back and forth.  In the end it was just a war – two by two – for all those spots and we came home 13th.  The truck is basically in one piece.  We’ll take this Ford to St. Louis.  This is one of my favorite ones in the Circle Bar shop, so we’ll take it there and try to go get a victory there again.”

COLIN BRAUN – No. 6 Con-way Freight Ford F-150 (Finished 34th) – “We were falling back a little bit and were fighting just being a little bit free.  That lapped truck certainly didn’t help us out any, he was racing us really hard, and it’s unfortunate but I guess that’s what you get sometimes.  I don’t know what happened.  We came off of four and I got free, but somehow we banged together there a little bit and we got the worst end of it.  These guys did a great job fixing this truck.  It was pretty torn up, but we ended up getting four spots there by fixing it, so it was definitely the right thing to do and I’m really proud of these guys for doing that and sticking with it.” 

YOUR F-150 LOOKS LIKE A MODIFIED RIGHT NOW WITH THE FRONT FENDERS AND HOOD MISSING.  “It didn’t drive that great, but we just needed to maintain minimum speed and run enough laps to get some of the trucks that didn’t finish.  It’s just disappointing because these guys work so hard on this truck and to have to bring it back torn up when you get in a wreck with a lapped truck is not all that good.”