Crawford survives Craftsman Truck Series shootout
CLERMONT, Ind. -- Rick Crawford took the lead in a tight four-truck battle with 32 laps remaining, then held on to beat Dennis Setzer by 10 truck-lengths Friday night in the Craftsman Truck Series' Power Stroke Diesel 200.
Crawford, Setzer, Mike Bliss and Ron Hornaday Jr. fought for the lead going into the third turn at O'Reilly Raceway Park, with Bliss getting squeezed into the wall in the first turn to bring out a caution flag.
"I saw him [Bliss] go into the turn and stumble just a little bit," Crawford said. "It wasn't much, but I had to make my pass as quickly as I could.
"If you had some other guys involved, it would be a recipe for a wreck. But this was four veteran guys. But I'm glad my spotter said 'clear.' It was close. I don't think we touched at all, but I could smell yellow, red, black and green paint."
Setzer was just pleased to survive the brief battle.
"It was pretty exciting, I guess," he said. "Crawford and I had the 16 [Bliss], and my spotter called and said Hornaday was coming up fast, and he was. I thought he was going to get all of us."
Hornaday said he could see the mad scramble coming.
"They had a half straightaway on me, and I could see what was going to happen," he said. "I knew they were going to squeeze him (Bliss). I had a little bit of a run, and I knew things were going to get interesting."
Crawford stayed out front through four more caution periods, the last with four laps remaining in the 200-lap race around the 0.686-mile oval.
"To win, you have to have a perfect race, and tonight was a perfect race for me," said Crawford, who won for the first time since last September at New Hampshire.
Bliss' team gambled just past the halfway point, staying out while the leaders pitted after Chad Chaffin hit the wall. Bliss, who pitted on the 81st lap, inherited the lead and maintained it until the late four-truck flurry.
The race featured a track-record 11 caution periods for 51 laps.
Points leader Todd Bodine worked his way up to seventh place after starting 29th.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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