Absence of Familiar Face Will Be Evident at Kansas Truck Race

Lee FraserCorrespondent IApril 27, 2010

LEBANON, TN - APRIL 02: Rick Crawford, driver of the #14 Circle Bar Ford, sits on pit wall during qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Nashville 200 at Nashville Superspeedway on April 2, 2010 in Lebanon, Tennessee. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images for NASCAR)
John Sommers II/Getty Images

On Monday the entry list for the O'Reilly 300 Camping World Truck Series race in Kansas was posted.

As I read the entry list to myself, usually after Johnny Sauter's No. 13 truck, a huge smile comes across my face to announce my favorite driver in the truck series. "No. 14 Ford driven by LA's Rick Crawford," usually is what I say.

Instead I skipped right to Johnny Benson's No. 15 truck.

My heart sunk. Where's Rick, I asked. He can't not be in the truck race!

It's the first time since the final race of the 1996 season that Crawford will not be in a truck race. His and Tom Mitchell's Circle Bar Racing team started up in the 1997 season, and had success along the way.

Crawford was always the staple of the series. It was fun for me, to grow up and have him to root for. Growing up, I was always a Rusty Wallace fan, and I rooted for Kenny in the old Busch Series. Rick was always my truck guy.

A Ford driver, and a guy with the personality of your favorite teacher in elementary school. A great driver.

He always put a smile on everyone's face, saying that he was from "LA," and knowing it's not true 'cause you can hear it with that deep southern accent. Then he would say..."Lower Alabama!" That was always great.

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I'll never forget going to Daytona in 2008, and that was my first truck race. I rooted and pulled for him each and every lap. It killed me when he lost his sponsor before this season.

He's ran good this season, and has just had some bad luck. Getting caught up in someone else's mess at Daytona, twice. Blowing a tire at Martinsville, just bad luck.

Still, he would get out and smile, but the unknown future was CLEARLY bothering Rick. He wasn't the same guy in the interviews, and that broke my heart, too.

The race at Kansas, of course I will watch it, but it just won't be the same looking up at the ticker and not seeing 14-Crawford, definitely in the top-10.

I remember in 2003 at Daytona when Rick went three wide to win it! That was an awesome moment! I went crazy when I got off the plane to Daytona and found out that Rick had won that race!

Rick, find some funding and get back soon. In the mean time, you will be missed greatly! Good luck with everything!