MOORESVILLE, NC- (April 12, 2004) - For this weekend's Kroger 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville, Andy Houston knows the key to success does not rely solely on how fast his Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge is on the race track. The...
MOORESVILLE, NC- (April 12, 2004) - For this weekend's Kroger 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville, Andy Houston knows the key to success does not rely solely on how fast his Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge is on the race track. The fickle finger of fate often reaches out and either tickles you softly or cruelly dashes your hopes at the challenging .526 mile short track nestled in the hills of southern Virginia.
"Martinsville is all about being at the right place at the right time," said Houston. "There are so many factors that come into play at Martinsville and you have to have most of them play in your favor to be successful. You have to have a lot of things go your way. Pit stops, pit stop strategy, tire management, you have to keep the fenders on it and the wheels straight, and you have to keep the radiator from getting busted up. Circumstances over the course of the race play a big part at Martinsville and there are a lot of different factors and variables that determine your fate."
Crew Chief Dennis Connor concurs. In the highly competitive world of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series racing, a team cannot afford to let its guard down for a single moment. At Martinsville that axiom is even more defining.
"Success at Martinsville is going to start with qualifying," stated Connor, a three time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion. "A good qualifying run is important because pit selection is crucial. Pit road at Martinsville is so narrow. If you don't get off of pit road in a timely fashion then you lose track position. All these factors have a huge impact on your finish. Track position, tire management and pit stops all have to work in your favor. Plus you just need some bald-faced luck. The truck series is nothing like it has ever been before. There are so many good teams and some young aggressive drivers, and that is going to provide for excitement on the race track. I am afraid some innocent bystanders are going to get caught up in circumstances not of their making."
Houston knows first hand how challenging Martinsville can be. In addition to five NCTS starts he has one NASCAR Nextel Cup start at the diminutive paper clipped shaped oval.
"I had a decent Cup finish at Martinsville in 2001," Houston commented. "I finished 17th on the lead lap. It was a long, long day. 500 laps at Martinsville is a full day's work. It was extremely hot, Dale Jarrett won the race and he had to get oxygen in Victory Lane. We got spun out and were able to make the lap up under green. It is easier on the driver at Martinsville now because of the advancements NASCAR has made with all the safety gear and because of the most recent seat technology. My Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge now has much better seats with better seat angles and leg braces. You are more comfortable and you can sit up and drive hard."
Houston will be looking for the best seat in the house when the green flag falls on the Kroger 250 at Martinsville, VA on Saturday April 17th. The event will be broadcast live nationally on the Speed Channel, MRN Radio and XM Satellite Radio at 1pm ET.
For additional information on the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge and driver Andy Houston visit www.teamase-carquest.com.