TRUCK SERIES RACE # 16
STEVENS BEIL / GENUINE CAR PARTS 200
COOK CAPTURES FIRST VICTORY IN TRUCK SERIES
THIRD YEAR VETERAN IS PICKING UP MOMENTUM
Pole sitter Stacy Compton takes command of the race as he leads the field into turn one of the first lap.
Flemington, NJ -- 200 Laps, 125 Miles
August 8, 1998 -- Purse: $330,255
FLEMINGTON, NJ-Terry Cook, a veteran Ohio late model driver, claimed his first victory in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at Flemington Speedway, the historic half mile track. The 29 year old took the lead on lap 166 and never looked back.
"This is great," said Cook. "Our team has worked so hard to get here in winner's circle and I'm glad for our owner Duke Thorson."
Cook captured the attention of the media last year at Flemington when he broke the track record in his qualifying effort, then slammed into the wall in turn one. He qualified fourth this year, behind Stacy Compton, Kevin Cywinski, Bryan Reffner. Compton's lap time of 18.892 was good enough for his second Bud Pole Award and merely .042 of a second off Cook's record.
While racing for the lead Stacy Compton cut down a tire dashing his hopes for a second win this season.
Jack Sprague crashed his truck in practice and Jason Pasch was one of the crew members to help repair it.
Terry Cook makes an inside pass on race leader Stacy Compton.
"We knew we had one of the fastest trucks here this weekend,î Compton noted. "Kevin (Crew Chief Kevin Cram) and the guys gave me a great setup. It was Compton's sixth top-five qualifying effort this season in the #86 RC Ford.
When the green flag dropped, Compton dove to the lower part of the track leading the field of 35 through turn one. Reffner slid by Cywinski for the second spot as the field raced to the stripe to complete the first lap. Cook maintained his fourth spot, fighting Curtis Markham and Tony Raines, who started fifth and sixth.
Compton held a two truck lead over Reffner for the first 22 laps. Ron Hornaday moved up from the 10th starting position to fourth by lap 20.
A wreck in turn four on lap 23 brought out the first caution of the day. Lonnie Rush, Jack Sprague and Boris Said got tangled up in the corner. Compton raced back to the start finish, holding the front spot with Reffner, Cook and Hornaday close behind.
Jay Sauter (3) didn't want to give up the position to Mike Bliss.
Bryan Reffner tries to hold off the charge of Butch Miller (18).
By lap 51, Compton began to lap the slower trucks as he passed Lonnie Rush in turn one, closing the gap on Butch Miller who held the 34th position. Lapped traffic would tighten the field for the leaders throughout the remaining laps.
Joe Ruttman, who started in the 15th position had moved up to the sixth spot, moving in Jimmy Hensley in the #43 Cummins Dodge which is owned by Richard Petty, NASCAR legend.
Compton was losing ground as Reffner closed within a half a truck length and Cook was on his inside prepared to pass the former ASA champion.
On lap 82, Ruttman moved up to the fourth spot and six laps later had taken over the second position from Cook who had passed Reffner on lap 74.
A wreck on lap 91 brought out the third caution of the day when Andy Houston hit the wall, spinning out in turn four. There were only six laps of green flag racing until the halfway break as Compton lead all trucks through turn one to hold the top position at the break on lap 101.
Kevin Cywinski and Terry Cook (88) battle for position early in the race.
Mike Wallace (52) had to come from the back of thefield to a top 10 finish.
Team RC made only a few adjustments to the #86 RC Ford, taking fuel and a fresh set of tires for the last 99 laps. Ruttman, Reffner, Cook and Hensley rounded out the top-five for the restart.
On lap 115, Ruttman was still in the second spot behind Compton but really never threatened the leader. Ruttman fell back to fourth on lap 150 and began to fade back.
Cook took over the second spot form Ruttman and moved within a truck length of Compton as they fought through lapped traffic.
On lap 161, Cook was running side by side with Compton. The two raced for three laps with neither driver giving an inch. The crowd of 12,000 stood and cheered as the two came through the front stretch , only inches separating them.
Terry Cook celebrates after his first victory in the Craftsman TruckSeries.
Three laps later, Compton dove to the outside of Cook in turn one, trying to get a jump on the Ohio native.
The two trucks slid out of the lower groove and Compton was sent into the loose stuff on the outer part of the track. He tried to hold the spot, but slammed the wall between turn one and two.
It was lap 166 and Compton was out of the race, after leading all 165 previous laps. Cook took over the front position and was never really challenged as he crossed the finish line ahead of Hornaday and Reffner to claim the win.
"It was a tough race," said Cook. "I was racing hard with Compton for three or four laps and he got real loose in turns one and two. I hate it for him because he had a great truck today."
Cook earned $32,00 for the win. Hornaday took over the first spot in the NCTS point standings with Joe Ruttman, Jack Sprague, Tony Raines and Jay Sauter rounding out the top-five.
The PBA crew with driver Terry Cook
This article was previously posted on http://truckworld.tenmagazines.com/
but the page no longer exists, so it has been republished here for posterity.