Rick Crawford

Photo: Seminole County Sheriffs Office

Former Truck driver Rick Crawford convicted of attempted enticement of a minor

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A federal jury found former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Rick Crawford guilty of attempted enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.

Crawford, 60, faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 10 years, up to life, in federal prison. His sentence hearing is scheduled for Nov. 26.

Crawford was arrested March 5 after he was a caught in a FBI undercover child sex sting in Florida. He was indicted March 30.

Court documents state that Crawford answered a Craigslist ad Feb. 10, posted by an undercover officer, offering “taboo” relations.

Crawford had numerous email and text exchanges with the undercover agent, who posed as a father offering his 12-year-old daughter for sexual services.

In an early email exchange, the undercover officer wrote: “FYI 50yo taboo dad(,) w 12yo daughter (,) she’s into guys….i’m not(,) she’s also accepts donations(,) if this isn’t you then to no need to reply.”

Court documents state that Crawford responded: “Lets do it. Let me know where.”

According to court documents, Crawford agreed to pay between $50 – $75 to engage the girl in oral sex and intercourse. Crawford also indicated he wanted the child to be nude or wearing something with “easy access” at the time of their meeting.

The agent met Crawford in a restaurant parking in Lake Mary, Florida, on Feb. 28. After acknowledging to the undercover officer he was there for the arranged meeting with the young girl, Crawford was arrested as he exited his vehicle. He was found to be carrying $80 and a condom in his pants pocket.

During a search of Crawford’s vehicle, agents found two over-the-counter pills labeled “Diamond Male Sexual Performance Enhancement,” several digital video discs containing adult pornography, a device capable of playing DVDs, massage oils, personal lubricating gels, an open box of disposable gloves, a solid phallically shaped adult sex toy and condoms.

The case was brought as part of the Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Crawford spent 17 years in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He made 336 starts and earned five wins, 75 top five and 160 top 10 finishes. He last appeared in a race in fall 2012 at Talladega Superspeedway. He finished as high as second in the points in 2002.

Click here for press release from U.S. Attorney’s Office on Rick Crawford’s conviction

Former driver Rick Crawford to be released into home confinement in child sex case

Photo courtesy Seminole (Fla.) County Sheriff's Office
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Former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Rick Crawford was released from federal custody Friday.

Crawford had been held without bail since being arrested February 28 in an FBI sting outside Orlando, Florida. He was held on a federal charge of attempting to entice a minor into sex.

Crawford appeared Thursday in front of Justice Roy B. Dalton Jr., in the U.S. Courthouse for the Middle District of Florida in Orlando. Crawford entered a plea of not guilty.

The Judge ordered Crawford to be released Friday morning – after he surrenders his passport – into the custody of his aunt and uncle, whose names were not identified in the court order, but who live in Mobile, Alabama, Crawford’s hometown.

According to William C. Daniels, Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, Crawford will be held on home confinement at his aunt and uncle’s residence until his trial.

Crawford, 59, is subject to several conditions including GPS monitoring, no unsupervised contact with minors, no access to the Internet, no possession of child pornography, no possession of media storage devices or devices which may encrypt content and no possession of firearms.

A status hearing for Crawford will be held April 19 at the Orlando federal courthouse. Justice Dalton will preside.

Barring any delays or requests for extensions, Crawford is slated to go to trial on May 7 at 9 a.m. ET, in the Orlando federal courthouse. Justice Dalton will preside.

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Former Truck series driver Rick Crawford arrested in child sex sting

Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR
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Former NASCAR driver Rick Crawford remains in a Florida jail, facing a federal charge of attempting to entice a minor into sex.

Crawford, 59, was arrested Feb. 28 after communicating with an undercover Seminole County (Florida) sheriff’s deputy — working as part of an FBI undercover child sex crimes task force — who posed as the father of a fictitious 12-year-old girl, offering her services.

Crawford is being held without bail. He has a detention hearing at 2 p.m. Thursday in federal court in Orlando.

Rick Crawford (Photo: Seminole County Sheriff’s Office)

Crawford, whose legal name is Richard Hoyt Crawford Jr., is alleged to have answered a Craigslist ad Feb. 10 posted by the undercover officer offering “taboo” relations, according to the officer’s affidavit.

The affidavit states that Crawford had numerous email and text exchanges with the undercover agent over the next two weeks, seeking to set up a rendezvous, as well as setting the amount of money to procure the “daughter” for an amount between $50 and $75.

Even though the agent stated in the affidavit he told Crawford several times that the fictitious daughter was 12 years old, Crawford allegedly acknowledged he understood and allegedly made comments to the agent of “let’s do it,” “need to do now if she is ready” and “I want it all” (referencing to intercourse and oral sex, according to the affidavit).

The agent met Crawford in a restaurant parking lot in Lake Mary, Florida, northeast of Orlando, at 1 p.m. ET on Feb. 28.

After acknowledging to the undercover officer he was there for the arranged meeting with the fictitious 12-year-old, Crawford was arrested as he exited his vehicle.

The officer’s affidavit states that after being given his Miranda rights, Crawford said he showed up to see if the father (the undercover officer) had a 12-year-old daughter and claimed he would not have gone through with any sexual activity if the child had been underage.

Crawford spent 17 years in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He made 336 starts and earned five wins, 75 top five and 160 top 10 finishes. He last appeared in a race in fall 2012 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Contributing: Dustin Long

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PREVIEW: Kyle Busch to start 15th in Sunday’s 50th Snowball Derby

Photo courtesy VisitPensacola.com
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The golden anniversary of one of the most popular short track races in all levels of stock car racing takes place in Sunday’s Snowball Derby.

The 50th running of the Super Late Model classic takes the green flag at 3 p.m. ET at 5 Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. The race will be televised on pay-per-view on Speed51.com.

Only 37 of the 67 cars that submitted entries will take part in Sunday’s 300-lap main event around the high-banked paved half-mile.

Qualifying took place Friday, with the top 30 drivers locked into Sunday’s show (see full qualifying list below). Three other drivers will receive a provisional position start, while four additional drivers will have one final try to qualify for Sunday’s field in Saturday night’s 50-lap “last chance” race.

Among notables in Sunday’s race are 2015 NASCAR Cup champ Kyle Busch, along with a number of young NASCAR drivers including Noah Gragson, Mason Mingus, Ty Majeski, Brandon McReynolds, Harrison Burton and Corey LaJoie.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series former champion Johnny Sauter was originally entered into the Snowball Derby before a hard wreck during practice Thursday forced the Wisconsin native to withdraw his entry.

Preston Peltier will start from the pole, while defending Derby winner Christian Eckes failed to qualify on a tiebreaker Friday, but will race Sunday because of a past champion’s provisional.

Kyle Busch was not happy with his 15th place qualifying effort, particularly since he and his team had a strong two-day practice at 5 Flags right after the NASCAR Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“Obviously 15th isn’t where we wanted to qualify, but Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) and all the guys made our Toyota, Phoenix Construction Camry a lot better for final practice,” said Busch, who was sixth-fastest in Saturday’s final practice session.

“We made some 20-lap runs and we feel like we have good long-run speed, but we’re probably still lacking a little bit of speed firing off compared to the guys that qualified up front.”

Busch has one Snowball Derby win to date, in 2009.

Several well-known former NASCAR drivers are past Derby winners, including the late Pete Hamilton (1974), Donnie Allison (1975) and Darrell Waltrip (1976), Ted Musgrave (1988) and Rick Crawford (1989).

NASCAR has really taken a hold of victory lane at the Derby in recent years. Starting with the younger Busch brother’s win in 2009 and Johanna Long’s triumph in 2010, NASCAR drivers have captured the Derby in virtually every year since, including two-time winners Chase Elliott (2011 and 2015) and Erik Jones (2012 and 2013), and John Hunter Nemechek (2014).

Snowball Derby winners

  • 1968 Wayne Niedecken
  • 1969 Friday Hassler
  • 1970 Wayne Niedecken, Sr.
  • 1971 Dickie Davis
  • 1972 Ed Howe
  • 1973 Dickie Davis
  • 1974 Pete Hamilton
  • 1975 Donnie Allison
  • 1976 Darrell Waltrip
  • 1977 Ronnie Sanders
  • 1978 Dave Mader III
  • 1979 Freddy Fryar
  • 1980 Gary Balough
  • 1981 Freddy Fryar
  • 1982 Gene Morgan
  • 1983 Mickey Gibbs
  • 1984 Butch Lindley
  • 1985 Jody Ridley
  • 1986 Gary Balough
  • 1987 Butch Miller
  • 1988 Ted Musgrave
  • 1989 Rick Crawford
  • 1990 Rich Bickle
  • 1991 Rich Bickle
  • 1992 Gary St. Amant
  • 1993 Bobby Gill
  • 1994 Tammy Jo Kirk (first female Snowball Derby winner)
  • 1995 Jeff Purvis
  • 1996 Rich Bickle
  • 1997 Bobby Gill
  • 1998 Rich Bickle
  • 1999 Rich Bickle
  • 2000 Gary St. Amant
  • 2001 Wayne Anderson
  • 2002 Ricky Turner
  • 2003 Charlie Bradberry
  • 2004 Steve Wallace
  • 2005 Eddie Mercer
  • 2006 Clay Rogers
  • 2007 Augie Grill
  • 2008 Augie Grill
  • 2009 Kyle Busch
  • 2010 Johanna Long
  • 2011 Chase Elliott (At 15, youngest winner in Snowball Derby history)
  • 2012 Erik Jones
  • 2013 Erik Jones
  • 2014 John Hunter Nemechek
  • 2015 Chase Elliott
  • 2016 Christian Eckes

Here’s how Friday’s qualifying played out. Just the first 30 drivers are locked in. Three others, including defending champ Christian Eckes, are locked in with provisional spots, leaving four remaining positions to be filled in Saturday night’s last chance event.

1             48          Preston Peltier 16.319
2             26          Bubba Pollard   16.344
3             112        Augie Grill           16.419
4             5M        Mason Mingus 16.437
5             75          Jeremy Doss      16.441
6             81          Chase Purdy      16.460
7             14D       Chris Davidson 16.461
8             91          Ty Majeski         16.475
9             53B        Cole Butcher     16.480
10          55D       Spencer Davis   16.514
11          9C          Jeff Choquette 16.514
12          18          Casey Roderick 16.520
13          14C        Connor Okrzesik 16.521
14          36          Dan Fredrickson  16.521
15          51          Kyle Busch          16.530
16          4             Kyle Plott            16.530
17          26S        Chandler Smith 16.544
18          99L        Raphael Lessard  16.552
19          11B        Logan Boyett    16.553
20          18G       Noah Gragson  16.571
21          20          Brandon McReynolds  16.573
22          12          Harrison Burton 16.576
23          46          Cole Rouse        16.582
24          00          Anthony Cataldi 16.609
25          53J         Boris Jurkovic    16.621
26          07          Corey LaJoie      16.624
27          19          Kason Plott        16.649
28          01          Jake Crum          16.653
29          13          Cassius Clark      16.658
30          51N       Stephen Nasse 16.660
31          2W        Donnie Wilson  16.660
32          15          Christian Eckes 16.660
33          9K          Derek Kraus       16.664
34          55          Brandon Oakley 16.705
35          32D       Tyler Dippel       16.705
36          8F          Tate Fogleman 16.734
37          88          Garrett Jones    16.743
38          33          Dustin Smith     16.744
39          7             John DeAngelis Jr  16.749
40          11R        David Rogers     16.769
41          79          Kyle Bryant        16.778
42          89          Jeremy Pate      16.782
43          22          Donald Crocker 16.786
44          79A       Joe Aramendia 16.815
45          16          Steven Davis     16.843
46          45          Rich Bickle Jr     16.847
47          5             Jerry Artuso       16.855
48          58C        John Coffman   16.882
49          43          Dennis Schoenfield  16.897
50          4R          Ben Rowe           16.947
51          64          Garrett Evans    16.967
52          32          Stuart Dutton   17.137
53          58F        Jeff Firestine     18.159

 

Bobby Labonte making history with start in NASCAR Whelen Euro Series

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Bobby Labonte might be gone from the NASCAR Cup Series, but he’s not done making NASCAR history.

The 2000 Cup Series champion and a NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee, Labonte will become the first Cup champion to make a start in NASCAR’s Whelen Euro Series.

Labonte, 53, will compete in the June 10-11 race weekend, which includes two races, at the Brand Hatch road course in the United Kingdom.

A 21-time winner in the Cup Series, Labonte will drive the No. 1 Whelen Engineering Ford Mustang fielded by Alex Caffi Motorsport.

“I am really excited to join the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in Brands Hatch. It is a great opportunity,” Labonte told NASCAR’s Home Tracks website. “With Jerome Galpin (NWES President / CEO) and Joe Balash (NASCAR International Liaison) we talked about it during the winter and when they called me for this race I was more than happy to jump on-board. The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series is very successful and I really love the fact that NASCAR is present in many different countries. I think the Euro Series is a really good environment both to develop a NASCAR career and race at very competitive level with low costs. It will be fun to be able to get in a Euro NASCAR car and go race at such a famous race track.”

A winner of the Brickyard 400 and the Southern 500, the race will be Labonte’s first outside the United States. Brands Hatch is a six-turn, 1.198-mile circuit.

While he’s the first Cup champion to do so, Labonte is the latest NASCAR driver to compete in Europe series. Xfinity driver Ben Kennedy won a race in 2012. Labonte also follows Jeffrey Earnhardt, Max Papis, Rick Crawford and Brandon Gdovic.

“I had a friend call me and he didn’t even know it (the series),” Labonte said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “SiriusXM Speedway. “Hopefully we can bring more recognition to the NASCAR Euro Series, what it really means over there and their races that they have.”

Labonte’s last start in the Cup series was in the October 2016 race at Talladega Superspeedway.

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