KANSAS CITY, KS-(July 5, 2003) - Jason Leffler was faced with a double dose of adversity during the course of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, but was still able to post a respectable seventh-place finish when...
KANSAS CITY, KS-(July 5, 2003) - Jason Leffler was faced with a double dose of adversity during the course of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, but was still able to post a respectable seventh-place finish when the day was done. While running in second position, Leffler and the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge fought through a pit road collision with Randy McDonald that forced him to the rear of the field. After he overcame that incident and drove his way to the front of the pack, Leffler was unable to get a yellow flag when he so desperately needed one. Leffler was then forced to make a green flag stop while leading with 38 laps to go, falling a lap down and making up his lap under green flag racing.
"We had a very eventful day," Leffler said. "The Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge was awesome from the start. I don't know if I have ever had a better truck. It went from being just a little free to a little tight but we made some minor adjustments and it was really dialed in. Crew Chief Dennis Connor and the guys did a great job and Arrington Engineering gave us some really stout horsepower today."
Leffler started the race in the sixth position and started his march to the front from the onset of the green flag. He was running in the second spot when caution came out on lap 29 for debris in turn two. Leffler brought his Ultra Motorsports Dodge down pit road and to the attention of his crew, who executed an excellent four-tire and gas pit stop. When Leffler exited his pit, he made contact with McDonald who was running near the rear of the pack. The damage to the front right fender of the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge was extensive enough to require two additional trips to pit road to allow his crew to repair the damage. Leffler returned to the on-track action in the 24th position, still on the lead lap.
"We had a problem getting out of our pits," Leffler stated. " We made contact with the 72 truck and that put us in the back of the pack. Our truck was good enough that we were able to make our way back to the front."
Leffler made an impressive charge through the field, passing trucks at a striking rate. When caution came out on lap 106 Leffler was once again in second place, but not yet to his pit window for his last stop. He took the lead when Jon Wood pitted, and the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge led the next 22 laps. Leffler was hoping for a caution that never materialized, and he was forced to make his last pit stop under green flag conditions. Leffler exited the pits just behind leader Brendan Gaughan, one lap down and in the 19th position. He promptly passed Gaughan to get back on the lead lap and once again made a vaunted charge through the field, climbing all the way back to the seventh spot at the time the checkered flag fell for eventual race winner Jon Wood.
"The yellow flags just didn't fall our way late in the race," Leffler said. " We feel like we are climbing back in the championship race. Dennis Connor says we are going to win the championship and I believe him and the crew believes him. We just have to go out and do what we do best and that is go fast."
Leffler pocketed $12,625 for his day's work and picked up one spot in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship standings, moving into the eighth position, 172 markers back of new points leader Travis Kvapil. The next race for the NCTS competitors is at the Kentucky 225 at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday July 12th at 8pm ET. The event will be broadcast nationally on the Speed Channel and MRN Radio.