Fontana: Andy Houston preview

MOORESVILLE, NC- (September 16, 2003) -Andy Houston takes over the reins of the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge this weekend at California Speedway replacing Jimmy Spencer who won the New Hampshire 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway on Saturday.

MOORESVILLE, NC- (September 16, 2003) -Andy Houston takes over the reins of the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge this weekend at California Speedway replacing Jimmy Spencer who won the New Hampshire 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway on Saturday. For most drivers the added pressure of following up a driver like Spencer, especially after a win, might be too much to bear. For Houston the opportunity is music to his ears.

"This is what I have waited for," Houston said. "The opportunity to get back to a team like this Ultra Motorsports team that I know is a front running team, a top caliber team. This is a team that I competed against for years and they were always one of the teams to beat. I am really excited; this is the best opportunity I have had in several years. We are going to go to California and I am going to run with the confidence and ability that I know I have. Even if the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge had not won last week you know what this team is capable of. Jim Smith has done a great job of keeping these teams highly competitive and crew chief Dennis Connor is one of the best in the business. This team had a big win last week and we want to build on that success."

Houston's record in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series action at California Speedway is stellar. He has two poles an outside pole and two top five finishes in four starts. His best finish was a second place in 2000. His overall NCTS record is outstanding as well. The 32 year-old Hickory, NC native has posted 3 wins, 3 poles, 25 top-five finishes and 42 top-10 finishes in 90 career starts.

"In 1998 we went out there and I had never seen the place," Houston said. "We won the pole and finished fourth in the race and I fell in love with the place. Every time we go out there we seem to run really well. It is a big two-mile racetrack with a lot of grip. It is really smooth and you can run two and three wide so it is a lot of fun. The fast way around is right on the bottom of the racetrack."

Houston will pilot the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge at California and LasVegas. Further determination concerning the team's direction will be reached after those events. For right now Houston is content to focus on the task at hand, running as well as possible at California. His keen understanding of what it takes to navigate the Fontana oval will be a huge asset.

"You have to roll out of the throttle in the corners," Houston said. "You need to have your truck free enough that you don't get tight coming up off the corners. It needs to be so that you can really use the accelerator from the center of the corner off and make the straight-aways as long as possible. That is where you make up the most ground. You don't want to be so loose that can't get down into the corners hard either, so there is a happy medium that you have to find to be successful at California."

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at California Speedway in Fontana, CA is scheduled for September 20th. The event will take the green flag at 4:00 pm ET and will be broadcast live nationally by the Speed Channel and MRN Radio.

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Jimmy Spencer , Andy Houston , Jim Smith