A Look Back In Talladega History: Rick Crawfords Shares Memories
Perhaps no other driver has as many fond boyhood memories of Talladega Superspeedway as NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Rick Crawford. A native of Mobile, Alabama, Crawford grew up attending races at Talladega as a spectator and dreaming about the day when he might get the chance to compete on the historic high-banks.
“When the trucks finally came to run at Talladega, I mean, I was probably the proudest guy on the planet,” said Crawford.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series made its Talladega debut in 2006. And while Crawford narrowly missed earning a trip to Gatorade Victory Lane in that short amount of time, he finished second to Todd Bodine in 2007 by .014 seconds, he still rates it as one of his favorite Talladega memories.
“Being able to race here, have fun, put on a great show for the fans and come across the start-finish line in a three-wide finish…that memory will last no matter the outcome.”
It was another unexpected outcome that Crawford recalls fondly from his days in the Talladega grandstands.
“I remember sitting in the OV Hill Grandstands. It was a covered grandstand and the cars were firing up for the Talladega 500. I noticed a car down there that wouldn’t crank. The owner of the car was named Jimmy Crawford, and he actually drove a few races. But that particular day, the car was driven by Dick Brooks.
I knew he was behind, because he had a hard time cranking the car. When he finally got it cranked, it was just a deal where it kind of caught my eye, because the guy that owned it had the same name as I did. So, I watched it all day and pulled for it all day and it ended up winning the race. That was pretty neat.”
The 1973 Talladega 500 victory was Brooks first and only win in a 17-year career.
But Talladega didn’t just give Crawford the opportunity to root for the underdog, it also gave him the chance to meet one of the legends of the sport.
“When I was a spectator, at a young age, I was in the garage area and the first person I saw was Richard Petty. I had never seen him face to face, I just thought he was a giant. I don’t know, it was one of those moments where you stand still and dream for a few minutes after you see probably the sport’s greatest hero.”
NASCAR latest heroes will be on display during the Aaron’s 499 on April 26. Tickets are still available at 1-877-Go2-DEGA or www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.
In 2009, Talladega Superspeedway proudly celebrates forty years of the most competitive racing in NASCAR. While the track has seen changes made to the cars that circle its high-banks, the surface that they race on and the grandstands that thousands of fans fill twice a year, one constant remains; Talladega Superspeedway is authentic NASCAR racing at its finest.
Race fans should make plans now to experience part of Talladega’s history in 2009 during the triple-header, Aaron’s Dream Weekend, April 24-26, featuring the ARCA RE/MAX Series, the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. For tickets, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA. For our hearing impaired guests, please call TDD 1-866-ISC-TRAK (1-866-472-8725). Tickets also are available in person by visiting the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. CDT, Monday- Friday.
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