Erin Crocker "CHEX" Out the Action at Homestead-Miami Speedway
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (November 21, 2021) -- Erin Crocker, driving the No. 05 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Ram in only her second NASCAR Truck Series event, qualified her truck on speed in the 18th position, starting ahead of series' stars such as Bobby Hamilton, Brendan Gaughan and Dennis Setzer.
Crocker, who only ran 19 laps in practice on Friday, posted a qualifying time of 31.955 seconds/ 168.988 mph. Her team, a joint effort between Evernham Motorsports and Bobby Hamilton Racing, worked hard to prepare her Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Ram for the race. In addition to General Mills' popular Cheerios and Betty Crocker household brands, the No. 05 Dodge Ram also promoted Chex and Hamburger Helper.
But Crocker had to wait to test her mettle against the field, as Friday night's 200-lap event was delayed for rain for several hours, then eventually postponed around 10:30 p.m. when the downpour ended all hopes of a dry racetrack.
"We were really excited about our qualifying lap," said Crocker. "The team did a great job getting our Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Ram ready with limited practice. I'm glad I was able to hold up my end of the deal with a decent lap. It's a lot more nerve-wracking when you have to qualify on speed, but it really builds the confidence of the team when you do it."
After a late night waiting for the rain delay, the team was back at the track early on Saturday morning for the rescheduled race, which began at 8:30 a.m.
"Cheerios is all about getting up early and having a good breakfast, and we were certainly up early this morning," said Crocker. "It's definitely a different routine to race first thing in the morning. But we were wide awake for the green flag and ready to get more seat time and experience."
When the race went green, it didn't remain that way for long. A spin on lap 1 brought out the first caution, then the field went green for 30 laps. The next caution came out for an incident where a driver went too high on the racetrack and collected a competitor.
Unfortunately, the competitor was Erin Crocker, who sustained damage to the left and right sides of her Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Ram. Crocker had moved high on the racetrack to allow plenty of room for the other vehicle, but the other vehicle was unable to maintain their lane. Crocker came to the pits for repairs to her truck and four new tires, but the time in the pits put her 11 laps down.
She continued to have problems handling the damaged truck, which had significant steering and handling problems. Her team worked on the truck over several pit stops, improving the handling but setting her back additional laps. Crocker fought hard to regain laps on the field and guide her truck to the end of the race. She finished the day in the 30th position, 30 laps off the pace.
"We qualified really well with the Cheerios/Betty Crocker truck, thanks to Bobby Hamilton Racing behind me coming here with a very good truck," said Crocker. "I don't really know what lap it was, but someone got a little loose underneath us and got into us. That put my right side in the fence and knocked the toe out and the front end out. We had to spend some time on pit road, but we finished the race and that was one of the goals today.
"I do feel like I'm getting a handle on these trucks," she added. "I do like them. I feel really confident and comfortable. We just need to get our ducks in a row and finish some races. But, I think we'll be good next year."