Houston seeking astronomical season By Brett Borden

CONOVER, N.C. (Jan. 20, 1999) Andy Houston experienced liftoff in 1998, winning the Pennzoil/VIP Discount Auto Parts 200 as a Cintas Rookie of the Year candidate at New Hampshire International Speedway. In 1999, he hopes to reach even higher into the stratosphere of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. "1998 was a good year," Houston said. "We didn't accomplish all of the goals that we wanted to accomplish. We wanted that rookie of the year, we didn't get it. We wanted to finish in the top-10 in the points, I think we finished 12th. But winning a race was on that list, and we got that accomplished. I wouldn't trade the other two for the one we got." Houston finished second to Greg Biffle in Cintas Rookie of the Year honors, but he still added five more top-five finishes to his New Hampshire victory, including a runner-up finish in the Pronto Auto Parts 400K at Texas Motor Speedway in only his eighth race in the series. And now Houston looks forward to more accomplishments with which to barter. He says that the experience factor alone will make him a contender at more stops on the series schedule. "There were a lot of places we went to that it wasn't until about halfway through the race that I had figured out what I was supposed to be doing in the truck," he said. "Especially places I'd never been to before like Bakersfield, Calif. (Mesa Marin Raceway), and Monroe, Wash. (Evergreen Speedway). So I can't wait to go back to some of these places now that we have a better handle on what's going on." Houston had eight finishes of 26th or worse last season, so experience can't help but factor into more consistency for the Hickory, N.C., resident this season. "We're really looking forward to 1999," Houston said. "We've got a great new sponsor with CAT Rental, and that's going to make it a whole lot easier on us this upcoming season. "We just came off a two-day test at Homestead (Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex) and we're really happy with the new body style (Chevrolet switches this year to the Silverado). That thing was awesome right off the truck. And it responded when we made changes to it, too." It remains to be seen how Houston will respond following a strong rookie season, but it looks like a great season could be in the stars.

Source: NASCAR Online