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Published: Saturday, 2/14/2004

Cook finishes 5th in truck race

BY MATT MARKEY
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Terry Cook survived a crash-marred Craftsman Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway last night, but he was not able to come out on top in the high-speed, Friday the 13th melee.

There were seven crashes that put 42 of the 100 laps under caution and continually shook up the field.

Starting from the pole, Cook led 12 of the first 50 laps in the Florida Dodge Dealers 250, but fell back a dozen places when he got trapped inside and caught in a bad draft. Cook worked his way back up to second and was on the tail of winner Carl Edwards with 29 laps to go, but was penalized for losing a tire on pit road and dropped to 10th.

Cook, the Sylvania native who won four times on the Craftsman circuit in 2002, was pushing the lead pack as the race neared the end, but finished fifth. It was the fifth consecutive top-10 finish in the race for Cook.

Ted Musgrave, who was involved in several of the mishaps, spoke for most of the drivers when he said it was a night to forget.

“I saw a lot of things tonight that I wish I hadn t seen, “ Musgrave said. “I guess Friday the 13th brought out all of the idiots. I ve never seen anybody drive like this before. They were just running crazy out there tonight.”

Defending Craftsman Truck Series champion Travis Kvapil finished second in a Toyota in the manufacturer s debut in NASCAR. Tina Gordon was involved in a couple of crashes and finished 24th after being knocked out of the race with suspension problems.

Cook won the pole with a qualifying run of 49.008 seconds Wednesday night, averaging 183.643 mph. Cook, who has been racing in the Craftsman series since 1996, had finished fourth here last year, and sixth the two previous years.

NEWMAN WINS IROC: Ryan Newman slipped past Kurt Busch at the finish line to win last night s International Race of Champions at Daytona International Speedway.

Busch had led for laps 36-39, and thought the race was his as the pack came out of the final turn and headed for the checkered flag. But Newman slipped by him on the low side, even crossing the yellow line, which could have resulted in a disqualification. But NASCAR officials ruled that Busch s actions had forced Newman below the line.

“I got a good run at Kurt, and he tried pinching me down,” Newman said. “Instead of spinning me out, he pushed me down below the yellow line. The way the rules read, if you are forced down there, you have the right to resume your position, and that s what I did.”

The IROC series had been in danger of being discontinued before Crown Royal consented to sponsoring it for this season.



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