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Ray Cook Ignites 2012 Race Season by Winning his Second Ice Bowl at Talladega

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Cook first won the Ice Bowl in 2009, one of his best seasons to date, hopes are that this victory is a forerunner to a repeat performance. Photos by Ron Skinner
Cook first won the Ice Bowl in 2009, one of his best seasons to date, hopes are that this victory is a forerunner to a repeat performance. Photos by Ron Skinner
Racers are comforted by familiar patterns, any overt sign, or the slightest hint of indication that the fickle lady of luck may once again be smiling their way. In 2009 when the "Tarheel Tiger" Ray Cook won his first 50-lap super late model Ice Bowl, he followed it up with arguably the finest season of his career.
Ray Cook says his team learned a lot of valuable lesson about running on tracks with extreme conditions after his win at the 2012 Talladega Ice Bowl. Photos by Ron Skinner
Ray Cook says his team learned a lot of valuable lesson about running on tracks with extreme conditions after his win at the 2012 Talladega Ice Bowl. Photos by Ron Skinner


"Back in 2009 when I won the Ice Bowl for the first time, it helped propel us to maybe the best year in my career," remarked Cook after lighting the fuse on 2012. "Hopefully, this Ice Bowl victory will come close to doing the same thing!"

The annual Ice Bowl race at Talladega short track in Eastaboga, Alabama could have more appropriately been tagged the Sludge Bowl. A determined morning drizzle turned the one-third mile, newly clayed track into muck, making one of the biggest dirt races of the season that much more challenging. Of the 25 cars that started the race, only nine saw the checkered flag.

Committing on the high attrition rate the Brasstown, North Carolina driver said, ""Due to track conditions people just couldn't stand it anymore. A lot of it was just due to parts failure." Then in support of the impressive efforts done by the Talladega track officials to fix the racing surface Cook added, "They've done the best they could."

Despite a shifting, uneven and fast race track, the K&N veteran was able to muscle his new orange paint scheme No. 53 MasterSbilt racecar to a convincing Ice Bowl XXI victory. By lap eight Cook had worked his way to the lead where he remained for the rest of the race.

After collecting his $6,000 payday Cook stated, "We are just so tickled to get a win right off the bat in 2012 and especially at a race with so much prestige like the Ice Bowl. Everything worked real well all weekend and we learned some stuff on our car to get through those rough track conditions. I have to thank my entire team, but especially Keith (Masters) and Gary (Winger) for some valuable help on how to get through those holes."

After their successful run at the Talladega short track aptly nicknamed the "Hornets Nest," the D&R Motorsports team went back to work at the shop, combing through the No. 53 car for any bent or broken parts. Weather permitting, the teams next race will be this weekend, January 27, at the Cabin Fever 40. Cook will be gunning for his second straight win in the race held at the Boyd's Speedway in Ringgold, Georgia. On the line this year is a $3,000 winner's check.

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