Fort Worth: Steve Portenga qualifying report

Portenga firing from 28th slot in Texas. ROANOKE, Texas -Steve Portenga and the Roto-Rooter Chevrolet will start 28th in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at the Texas Motor Speedway Friday, June 7. Portenga earned...

Portenga firing from 28th slot in Texas.

ROANOKE, Texas -Steve Portenga and the Roto-Rooter Chevrolet will start 28th in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at the Texas Motor Speedway Friday, June 7. Portenga earned the position in qualifying for the race Thursday, June 6.

This is the third-consecutive race Portenga will start outside the top 25. He finished eighth and 13th in the previous two races, earning the Waste Management "Pickup Up Places" Award in each as the driver gaining the most positions during the race.

"I guess we have a shot at that award again," Portenga said. "I appreciate the support Waste Management has shown for the series and enjoy winning their award, but I'd really like to qualify better and start toward the front of the field."

The O'Reilly Auto Parts 400 is Portenga's first race at the Texas Motor Speedway. He admits it took a little time to get adapted to the high-speed, high-banked 1.5-mile quad oval.

"The learning curve in this series is pretty steep," Portenga said. "Every time we come to a track that's new to me, it takes me a while to get comfortable with the place."

Portenga showed he was adjusting to the Texas track. He posted the 16th-fastest time in the final practice after qualifying.

"That's just 'Alfred's' way," Portenga said. "That's what we've named this truck, and 'Alfred' seems to be like wine - he gets better with time."

Portenga hopes "Alfred" is perfectly aged by 9 p.m. EDT/6 p.m. PDT Friday, June 7 when the O'Reilly Auto Parts 400 is slated to start. The race will be telecast live on ESPN and broadcast on the radio affiliates of the Motor Racing Network (MRN).

-spr-

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Series NASCAR-TRUCK