08/04/06
Crawford Beats the Best to Snap Winless Streak at O’Reilly Raceway Park

Dennis Setzer and Ron Hornaday are the undisputed kings of short track racing in the Craftsman Truck Series ranks but Rick Crawford beat them both at O’Reilly Raceway Park to score his fifth career victory and his first in more than a year. Crawford took the lead for the final time with a gutsy three-wide pass off of Turn 4 with 36 laps to go.

Even though he led more laps than anybody else, Crawford had to be concerned when the final caution flew and left just four laps to race for the checkers. Setzer, the defending race winner, and Hornaday, 1997 winner at ORP, lined up for that final restart second and third, respectively and were more than prepared to give Crawford a run for the money. Any worries Crawford may have had evaporated when he pulled away as soon as the green flag fell and left Setzer and Hornaday to battle for second in his wake. "To win, you have to have a perfect race,” Crawford noted. “Tonight was a perfect race for me. This race is for everybody that’s turned a wrench or given Rick Crawford a dollar. I appreciate it.”

Setzer was helpless in his attempt to run down Crawford but he successfully held off Hornaday to score his first top five finish of the season. “(Crawford) had a really good truck and I can't say exactly where he had an advantage on us because we made some runs at him in different spots on the track,” said Setzer. “It seemed like he would pull away and then I would reel him in. I just couldn't figure out where he was beating me and he just eased away from me.”
After a slow start to the season Hornaday has been on a roll and the two-week hiatus leading into the race at ORP did little to stifle his momentum as he scored his third consecutive top five finish and fourth in the last six races. "There was no walking out there tonight, it was tough racing,” Hornaday explained. “I could roll up there on them, but I couldn't get back in the throttle. We will take third and go on to the next race. It is tough competition out there but that is what the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is all about.”

David Reutimann lost his grip on second in the point standings when he was the innocent victim in a multi-truck crash and relegated to a 34th place finish. Reutimann was bypassed in the driver rankings by both Johnny Benson (finished 12th) and race winner Crawford. Todd Bodine came home seventh and extended his advantage to 182 points as the Craftsman Truck Series heads to Nashville Superspeedway for next weekend’s event.