By NASCAR Driver Terry Cook
NASCAR Driver Terry Cook Counts Down This Summers' Must-Have Ingredients for a Good Time
CHICAGO (July 2, 2003) - On a hot summer weekend, there's no better way to enjoy the afternoon than to pull up at a racetrack with a cooler full of burgers and a grill ready to burn.
Just ask any of the 20,000 ticket-holders who are planning on attending the fifth annual Power
Diesel 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Indianapolis Raceway Park on Aug. 1. Before noon, hundreds of truck owners and thousands of race fans will head to the track - hours before the night race begins - to get a good parking space and set up their tailgatin' gear.
Terry Cook, driver of the No. 29 Power Stroke Diesel Ford race truck and reigning champ of the Power Stroke Diesel 200, has a lot of experience with pre-race festivities. He explains the draw: "NASCAR racing is one of America's most-watched sports, second only to football," says Cook, "and nearly half of all NASCAR fan households own pickup trucks. It's not just the high-speed truck racing that gets all the attention. Fans love tailgatin' - they really enjoy the camaraderie of meeting up with other families, talking about trucks, and grilling in the afternoon. "
According to Cook, there are five essentials for great racetrack tailgatin' at the Power Stroke Diesel 200 or any auto race:
* High-Speed Entertainment: With 25 races in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule alone, there are plenty of races around the country to head to. "Check your local newspaper for upcoming events, or go online to www.truckseries.com for a full race schedule," Cook suggests.
* Key Ingredients: Whether burgers or brats, bring along all the fixings for a full meal - and avoid the high priced foods on the midway. "I'm a burger guy. When my wife Amy and I cook out, we like to make juicy cheese burgers with a little seasoning salt and colby jack cheese. Before you leave home, make sure you've got everything you need - buns, meat, condiments, chips or potato salad, and lots of cool beverages to help beat the heat."
* A Cool Ride: In order to tailgate, you need a truck. "Pickups are best, but SUVs will do. I have a Ford Power Stroke Diesel Excursion SUV, and when I get ready to tailgate I just open up the back and set up my cooler inside. But the best part is the fuel economy. I can drive from Charlotte, NC, to Indianapolis on one tank of fuel - try that in a gas SUV."
* Get Cookin': Every tailgate needs a grill. There are several small travel grills available that are easy to pack and carry. Cook advises, "Set up the grill at least 10-feet away from your truck or any buildings. This way you'll keep safe and have extra room to practice flipping burgers."
* Safety First: Outdoor-food safety is key to having fun in the sun. "Temperature is the most important factor in preventing food poisoning," says Cook. "Cook your meat to 165 degrees Fahrenheit to make sure you kill all the bacteria. And wash your hands frequently."
For general admission tickets to this year's Power Stroke Diesel 200 race on Aug. 1, call (800) 884-6472. For information on pre-race tailgating activities going on in the Power Stroke Diesel Corral at Indianapolis Raceway Park, including live music and a Show 'n' Shine contest, visit www.PowerStrokeDieselStuff.com.
Terry Cook's Power Burger
1 tablespoon Worchester sauce
teaspoon seasoning salt
4 slices Colby jack cheese
1 pound ground beef or turkey
Chop the onion into fine pieces. Mix meat with onion, Worchester sauce, and seasoning salt. Mix thoroughly and form into patties. Preheat grill. Grill to desired doneness. Top burgers with cheese and serve on a bun.