Rick Crawford Seeks ..

 First Victory of 2008 at Gateway International Raceway

Rick Crawford, driver of the No. 14 Circle Bar Truck Corral/Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford F-150, is one of three drivers to have competed in the 10th previous races at Gateway International Raceway. Crawford has earned four top-fives and six top-10 finishes at the 1.25-mile race track. He talks about making history and he season to date.

RICK CRAWFORD – No. 14 Circle Bar Truck Corral/Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford F-150 – ON RACING AT GATEWAY – “I was the first person to change the rule to only one green-white-checkered at the end of the race.  We had about four here back in 2004 and I think I caused about a 30-minute red flag because they had to turn my truck back over.  That was one of the rule changes that NASCAR had to make and they made it because of me.” 

WHAT HAPPENED? “The first caution that caused a green-white-checkered was [Bobby] Hamilton and Shane Hmiel got together and both lead trucks spun out.  Then they had another, I can’t remember who was in that and then they had another and we’re still running out there, probably about 10 laps over the actual race distance.  Then the last one, I got put up in the wall coming off turn two and the truck just slid up on its side.  Actually, I needed a sponsor on the under carriage of the truck because we got some good [television] airtime.  We sat over there for about 15 minutes.” 

AND YOU WERE UNINJURED?  “Oh, yeah.  Even the truck was okay.  It was just sitting on the side.” 

DID THAT CHANGE YOUR OPINION OF THE TRACK? “It didn’t.  I was just bringing that up.  It’s an important fact about the track.  This is where a rule change was made.  This track, you need to have something good under the hood and makes good straightaway power.  This is actually a drivers’ race track because both ends are different.  This facility, looks to me, like it was built on land that didn’t have enough room for a symmetrical race track.  So, they made a banked corner with sharper turn and they made a flat corner with a longer sweeping turn.  It is a really neat place to race and hopefully the Power Stroke Diesel by International F-150 F-Series pick up can do great tomorrow afternoon.”

HOW DO YOU SET-UP YOUR TRUCK? “There’s a way.  You know what you’re looking for. You know where you’ve got to turn.  You know where you need to be in position of the corner and your exit speed and what it needs to be.  Sometimes you can be good at one end and not good at another and it will average itself out.  The guy who wins the race will be good at both ends.”

YOU MENTIONED GATEWAY IS A RACERS’ TRACK THAT USUALLY MEANS IT’S MORE A STRATEGY RACE.  IS THIS A STRATEGY RACE? “Very much so, track position is everything.  But the biggest advantage you can have here is under the hood.”

SOME OF THE TRUCKS HAVE A NEW SPACER SINCE BRISTOL, HOW DO YOU THINK THAT WILL CHANGE RACING? OR WILL IT? “It might make it closer together.  Closer racing than you already see in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.”

ON THE 2008 SEASON. “It’s not as good as I would like for it to be.  It’s a lot better than what some people would say that they’re having an okay year.  I’m having a little bit better than that.  I’m proud of all the guys on the Circle Bar Race team and the Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International truck has been performing well.  A couple of mistakes and a couple of perfect races, we could be in victory lane.  We’ve got nine races to go and I still don’t think we’re out of the hunt.  We’ve got to capitalize on some races coming up and that might put us in good shape for Ford Championship Weekend.”

RICK CRAWFORD (continued) – THIS TIME LAST YEAR, YOU WERE HIGHER IN THE POINT STANDINGS BUT THERE WAS A LARGER GAP IN THE POINTS SPREAD.  HOW IS RACING DIFFERENT THIS YEAR? “The racing probably isn’t as different but there are guys that have had trouble at different parts of the year.  When I was leading the points, I had trouble.  When Hornaday was leading the points, he had trouble.  Even when Johnny [Benson] had the point lead at one time, he had trouble at Memphis.  But he’s just been on a roll, winning three or four out of five or six races and accumulated some points in a hurry.  But it can also come away from you in a hurry.  The racing probably hasn’t changed it’s just that some mistakes have been made and some performances have been off on a few trucks. As I come to the points spread, it’s narrow.”

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