Ricky Craven Wins CBS Sportsline Race of Champions – Hickory, NC In a “Survivor” type format, Ricky Craven was the last man standing in the CBS Sportsline Race of Champions online contest. Craven beat out Gil de Ferran in a head to head duel of NASCAR vs. open wheel stars.

Over 20 weeks ago, the contest pitted 25 drivers from NASCAR in one column and 25 open wheel drivers in another. Each week, fans logging onto the site had an opportunity to vote off a driver from each column.

It all came down to Craven vs. de Ferran in the final week and Craven prevailed. Were it the real “Survivor”, Craven would be the only man left on the island. idn poker88

Ricky Craven and his legion of fans have been following the contest diligently and upon hearing of his victory, he had the following to say:

“I am absolutely the most fortunate driver in America right now to have the type of support I enjoy with my loyal fans. They worked so hard on this contest to see that I won. I’ve been following the results weekly and so has my sponsor, Tide and Procter & Gamble. They are obviously thrilled as well. This contest that CBS Sportsline put together was all about the fans. I think it shows their commitment to racing and their passions for their favorite drivers.”

I’ve said for the last 18 months that I am driving for the greatest group of people in racing…and now it’s very clear that I have the fans to match.”

Ricky Craven Smiling As The ‘Tide’ Continues To Turn

Hickory, NC — Ricky Craven, driver of the #32 Tide Ford is finding more and more reasons to smile as the first third of the season draws to a close. The Newburgh, Maine native is sitting 13th overall in the Winston Cup point standings as the summer stretch begins. Aside from being the highest ranked single car team in NASCAR Winston Cup competition all season, Craven has plenty to smile about regarding his individual accomplishments along the way.

Craven and the PPI Motorsports team got off to a healthy start this year by quickly capturing two Bud Pole Awards and two-top 5 finishes in the first five races of 2002. The team has three top-five finishes, including a season best 3rd place effort last week at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in the longest race of the year–the Coca-Cola 600, and four top-ten finishes in the first twelve points events. He’s qualified in the top-ten 7 times in 12 races and has completed 94% of all laps this year. He has led in four separate events (175 laps), which include Rockingham, Darlington, Martinsville and Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

Compare these stats to Craven’s 2001 campaign and it’s easy to see that things have turned around for the Cal Wells’ backed effort. This same week last year, Craven was ranked a season low 30th in the Winston Cup point standings. He had two top-tens and one top-5 finish to his credit. Mechanical failures and engine woes sidelined the team in six of the first twelve events. The PPI Team has not had a single mechanical failure in all of 2002 competition, a point not lost with Cal Wells during their weekly shop meetings.

“We continue to focus on assembling the critical building blocks of a successful Winston Cup operation,” said Wells. “Ricky Craven has proven to be the most single biggest factor in how we’ve produced this season, along with (crew chief) Mike Beam and (engineer) Roy McCauley. We remain committed to our season long goal of exploiting our talent in this most competitive arena that is NASCAR.”

Craven echoed the team’s enthusiasm.

“I can’t remember having this much fun in my career,” said a satisfied Craven. “Each week, these guys put a car under me that is capable of running up front and in contention for a win. We have a saying around here about ‘being in the game’ each week. With the exception of Daytona, we haven’t gone to the racetrack without that feeling. As a driver, it’s the best situation you could ask for.”

As the series heads to Dover, Delaware this weekend, the Tide Team is looking forward to backing up their strong start. It’s a long summer stretch, but if they can keep up their consistency, they may very well reach the first goal of their three-year plan–to finish top-10 in points at the end of the season.