NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Tearing Apart the Trucks: 2008 Rookies Start to Improve

Last weekend at Mansfield Motorsports Park, rookie of the year contender Donny Lia surprised himself and the world of NASCAR with his last lap pass on David Starr to score his first career Craftsman Truck Series victory in just his eighth start. When Starr took the white flag for the final half-mile around the track, his first win since 2006 seemed inevitable until heavy contact from Lia caused the truck to break loose from the driver of the No. 11 Pit-Now.com Toyota Tundra.

10 Points to Ponder… After the 2008 All-Star Challenge at Charlotte

1. No Problem, Ron – Sprint Cup Series point leader Kyle Busch ended his six weekend streak of winning a race – somewhere and in some type of car or truck. The Las Vegas native won the pole positions at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for both the Craftsman Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200 and the Sprint Cup All-Star Race, but did not visit Victory Lane in either contest. In the All-Star Race, Busch appeared to be the driver to beat as he dominated the early going, but encountered engine problems before the end of segment two, relegating him to the 24th and final position in the running order. Busch also dominated the CTS event, leading 86 of the first 105 laps on the night; however, with just 29 laps remaining in the contest, reigning series champ Ron Hornaday and Busch made contact, requiring NASCAR’s hottest driver to pit twice for repairs and dash his hopes for a victory. Said Hornaday, a three-time CTS champion; “I got loose and got into him. He got the short end of the stick.”

Rick Crawford Driver Diary: Everyone is Welcome at Circle Bar Racing

We had a good points day at Kansas for the Ford Powerstroke Diesel by International No. 14 truck and got a top-10 finish in ninth. We tried something new. Our team tested in Pocono with Tony Raines driving and tried something new there. It’s just a point where Kevin Starland and the guys on the Circle Bar race team are getting this new package together and it will start showing dividends here pretty quick. We’ve never raced at Pocono before, but it’s a pretty good testing facility. The straightaways and the corners and all that let you try a lot of different elements out of a race.

Rick Crawford Driver Diary: Another Crawford On Track Soon?

Since the last time we talked, our team did a NASCAR official Truck Series test at Martinsville. The Ford Powerstroke Diesel ran well for two days, and the Maxx Force Diesel ran well for two days with Brendan Gaughan. Even Adam got a shot at driving the Ford Powerstroke Diesel for the first time, and handled it like a veteran. He put some speed up on the charts. I’m real proud of Adam, and I’d really like to thank everybody for having the confidence in him and the team for working behind him. He had a couple of sponsors to mention for the race at Martinsville, but his Dad and the car owner, Mr. Mitchell, decided not to let him race because I think he needs a little more racing experience. But we have to appreciate the people at the South Point Casino in Las Vegas, Ford Motor Company, and Roush Yates Engines, who were going to provide Adam with a chance to run in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Maybe when Adam gets ready, they’ll have that chance again.

Tracking the Trucks: 2008 Kroger 250 at Martinsville

Dennis Setzer took the checkered flag ahead of Matt Crafton to win the Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway Saturday afternoon. Setzer held onto the lead during a green/white/checkered finish that ended under caution as Kyle Busch and Johnny Benson wrecked in turn 3. Rick Crawford, Ken Schrader and Erik Darnell rounded out the top five finishers.

Rick Crawford Driver Diary: Fiery Crashes and Rock n’ Roll Revivals

We ended last time by starting at Daytona. We were ready to go racing. Daytona Speedweeks is always exciting. It’s always great to be at the world center of racing. Leading up to the race, the Circle Bar Truck Corral Ford F-150 was running great with Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International. We got ready to qualify, and qualified a little bit better than we expected because the truck that we took to Daytona is really good in race trim, and we knew how good it was. At the beginning of the race, I sort of got boxed in and there was no where to go. The inside line I was in sort of pushed me toward the back, so we hung around there for a little while. At Daytona, with the intake reducer on it, the racing is really close there for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series so at the beginning of the race we just kind of let the ranks get sorted out. That’s not necessarily my style, but we did.

Rick Crawford Driver Diary: Until We Meet Again

2007 was a good year for the Circle Bar Racing team and the No. 14 Power Stroke Diesel Ford by International. It was a great year for Circle Bar Racing to have two of its trucks, with our teammate David Starr in the top 10 in the points and the No. 14 truck in the top five in the points. We had a good strong finish at Homestead with third place, and it was just a good year for us. My hat’s off to [Ron] Hornaday for winning the championship and [Mike] Skinner for second. Those guys had great years, and earned top finishes all year, and ultimately deserved to battle it out for a championship.

Rick Crawford Driver Diary: Home Sweet Homestead

We’ve been to Texas and Phoenix since our last diary. Starting with Texas, our Circle Bar Racing Team went there with the Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford F-150 with our guns loaded and had a top-five finish, but it wasn’t that easy. It sort of left a mark with that last green/white/checkered finish that we had. Thank goodness NASCAR only has one of those.

Rick Crawford Driver Diary: 4 Feet Short & Gone Golfing

Sorry for keeping you all waiting on this edition of my diary. Sometimes our schedules just get crazy! Our last race at Talladega was definitely a good one. That was a very important one for me since Talladega is my home track. I’m from L.A. That stands for Lower Alabama, which is where my hometown of Mobile is.

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