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Rick Crawford Driver Diary: Still Good on Dirt

We’ve run two more races since the last diary, and these were pretty good races for our Power Stroke Diesel Team. We had a top-five finish at ORP, in the Power Stroke Diesel 200, and we just got finished with a top-10 run, a sixth-place finish at Nashville Superspeedway. We had a good run for Circle Bar Racing, David Starr and myself, with the International Maxx Force Diesel by International and the Power Stroke Diesel by International both in the top 10. The No. 10 and the No. 14 trucks have been competitive, and we’ve had a good couple of weeks.

As far as Circle Bar Racing, with our new two-truck team, I think it’s turning the corner. When you have two trucks that can run in the top 10 week in and week out, I think that can enhance the program for the No. 14 truck and also put Starr in the No. 10 MaxxForce Diesel by International in the top 10 in points and that’s what we want him to do, finish in the top 10 in driver points and be running up front competing for wins. We’d like to continue our top-five run in the points and maybe even just keep pressing them a little bit for the championship. They’re due to make a mistake, and we need to try not to make one. I really do think it’s turning a corner. David had a top-five run last weekend and I finished sixth, so I think the communication level has raised itself in the Circle Bar race team and among the two teams. I think the inventory has improved itself. If we keep the Roush Yates engines under the hood performing as they have been everything will be fine. David’s doing a great job behind the wheel. We’ll just keep doing our best as far as a whole team effort. You do your best and everything will come out all right. Everything is going good, we’re Ford factory backed with both teams and Mr. Mitchell wants us to do good so we have some incentives. Plus I think the drivers and the teams themselves, each individual wants to do well. We’ve got some competition in the middle of us but we want to do well on the racetrack for our sponsors too.

I did Ken Schrader’s Night of Stars a few weeks ago and it didn’t turn out like the first two editions of my dirt racing tour turned out, but I had a lot of fun and raised some money for charity at Ken Schrader’s I-55 Pevely Raceway. What an amazing dirt track that is out there, to be so small in size but run three- and four-wide, and to compete with some friends of mine out there for the Night of Stars and charity. It was a really neat event. I finished ninth out of 12. I’m still all top-10 finishes on dirt so I’m still good.

What else have I done? I went to Bowman Gray Stadium on our off Saturday night and watched a 199-lap Whelen Modified race. I saw some interesting talent up there and it’s the first time I’ve ever been to that legendary speedway. They’ve probably run over 50 years of NASCAR racing, one of the longest running Saturday night tracks in America, especially under the NASCAR banner, and it was really exciting. That was a neat show, well promoted, and they have some great racers up there.

We went to watch my son Adam race about three weeks ago. Friday night in Pensacola he ran a 100-lap race and didn’t do too good. We didn’t finish that one. We had a doubleheader the next night, Saturday night, in Mobile, which he finished in the top 10. He had a ninth-place finish there. He’s seventh in the points this year so I’m really proud of Adam. He rebounded really well, had a good strong run and did good. He goes back to do his doubleheader, Friday night in Pensacola, Saturday night in Mobile, on Labor Day weekend while I’m in St. Louis so I won’t be able to attend that one but I’m sure Adam will do well when he goes down south.

We’ve also gotten to do a test at Bristol since the last diary. They’ve put a new surface of concrete on the Bristol half-mile. It really made it a lot smoother, but you can tell the characteristics of Bristol are still there. I look forward to going back there next Wednesday night and running. It’s Wednesday next week by the way. We test there again on Tuesday with a four-hour test session and then we go back and race Wednesday night under the lights at Bristol. That should be an exciting event for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. It always is at Bristol because it’s almost like Forrest Gump, it’s like a box of chocolates – you never know what you are going to get at Bristol! We’re looking forward to that and they did a fantastic job putting the concrete down. It’s a really neat place.

I have plans to go to the U.S. Nationals, the NHRA drag racing meet on Labor Day weekend. I think it falls on a Monday and it’s the same weekend that we race on Saturday night in St. Louis. Indianapolis isn’t very far from St. Louis so I’m going to go up and cheer my friends on at John Force Racing to keep those Ford Mustangs winning in the funny car ranks. I’m just going to try to enjoy the rest of that weekend and still take my dose of rpm.

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