Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Craven Is Getting the Ride of His Life

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Craven Is Getting the Ride of His Life

Article excerpt

With three consecutive top-10 finishes and his first career pole

for today's Goody's Headache Powder 500 at Martinsville, Va.,

Ricky Craven's stock is soaring on NASCAR's Winston Cup circuit.

"We could get selfish, but we're not going to," Craven said,

after finishing seventh at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) last week.

"We're going to be thankful for what we've got. You can't buy

confidence, and it's very important. We need to race with

authority, and that's what we're closing in on."

Craven, fourth in points after claiming Rookie of the Year

honors in '95, closed the gap quickly with Friday's fast lap at

Martinsville. Now he can go after his first career victory.

"Our plan has been altered since we left Daytona," said Craven,

who opened the year with a solid 13th-place showing. "We've got

a good group of guys, and I'm really fortunate I've been able to

get such a great group of people to work with.

"A lot of things have changed since my rookie season, and I've

got to admit, I underestimated out potential a little bit."

With four top-10 finishes in seven starts, Craven is just 73

points out of Dale Jarrett's lead and having a blast, though

he's wary of the early success.

"It's so dangerous when this becomes as enjoyable as it is for

all of us," the Newburgh, Maine, native added. "It was really a

big struggle coming into the series. I put a lot of pressure on

myself, but it's really becoming a lot of fun."

RUSTY'S SPRING THING -- Few drivers have enjoyed the kind of

success that has come Rusty Wallace's direction at Martinsville.

Wallace swept both races at the flat-track oval in the Virginia

foothills in '94 and has won each of the last three spring

races. On a track where saving brakes is at a premium, Wallace

has a feather foot on the pedal. …

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