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Toni Montgomery · Thursday July 6, 2006
The stars are lining up for Terry Cook. Last week at Kansas, Cook tied Rick Crawford's record of 209 consecutive NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts. Cook began the streak on January 19, 1998, at Walt Disney World Speedway and will become the new sole owner of the Iron Man title for the series by starting this weekend in Kentucky.
That's particularly ironic because Crawford, who began his streak on January 19, 1997, saw his record come to an end exactly one year ago in Kentucky when a qualifying crash kept him out of the race. I guess that's a lesson that nothing is guaranteed in NASCAR, but for Cook's sake, I hope he has better luck than Crawford did in keeping his record going. Knowing how superstitious drivers can be, my guess would be that he's trying his best not to think about it yet.
What he was thinking about was winning, at least in Kansas. It's fitting in my mind that Cook should give such an outstanding reminder of his presence in the series just one week prior to such a milestone event in his career.
Honestly, Cook has been almost a forgotten man in the truck series at times. He drives for ppc Racing, a one-time Busch Series powerhouse that has been struggling to keep up in both series in recent years. He has also driven for Duke Thorson as well as Bob and Kay Keselowski during his tenure in trucks, teams who, like ppc, are perennial contenders, but not dominators. His manufacturer, Ford, hasn't been much of a factor unless Mark Martin races as everyone has endured a thorough Toyota trouncing for much of the season. And yet it is interesting that just at this time, Cook emerged from the pack and put a serious spanking on the field in Kansas.
Although he has five wins to his credit, Cook had not seen Victory Lane in 94 previous races, dating back almost four years to August 2, 2002. Those numbers are good for the third longest win drought in Series history. That's one title he'd rather not share with Rick Crawford, who holds the record for the longest period between wins at 120 races.
I wonder, though, if it wouldn't have been more fitting if he'd held off one more week and won in Kentucky instead. Then he could have broken both streaks at the same time. Maybe that was just the warm-up. Maybe he's planning to repeat and really make his presence known.
There's one other little tidbit I find really interesting. Last weekend when Terry Cook tied the consecutive start record and finally broke his victory drought, both records held by Rick Crawford, the driver he beat to the finish line was, of course, Rick Crawford.
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Recent articles from Toni Montgomery:
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IF you want to know more about Toni Montgomery or to see all of her Frontstretch articles, check out her archive and bio page.