MILLINGTON, TN (June 22, 2002) - On a hot afternoon at Memphis Motorsports Park, Jason Leffler and the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge scored a cool fourth-place finish in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 200 Saturday.
"Everybody did a good job today," said Leffler. "The Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge wasn't as good as we wanted to be after Happy Hour yesterday and we weren't as good as we wanted to be on the racetrack today, but I still feel pretty good about it. We finished sixth at Martinsville and fourth here at Memphis, so I like the direction our short track program is headed."
In qualifying, Leffler scorched the.75-mile suburban Memphis oval in 22.887 seconds (117.971 mph) en-route his fourth Bud Pole in just eight races.
"That was a great lap," commented Leffler. "I think the key to this pole was that we were fast right off the trailer. We didn't have to thrash and make any major adjustments before we qualified. We just fine-tuned the truck and it turned out a little better then we thought. The 'Ultra Bad Boys' have a solid qualifying package and that has shown week in and week out."
At the drop of the green flag, Leffler paced the field for the first 12 circuits and dropped back to third until pitting on Lap 51 for four fresh tires, a chassis adjustment and a full load of fuel. Returning to the track 21st in the running order, Leffler wasted little time working his way back to fifth in just 21 laps.
Following the sixth caution of the afternoon, Leffler again headed to the attention of the "Ultra Bad Boys" on Lap 115 for four more tires and a full load of fuel. Back on track Leffler sliced his way into fourth 28 circuits later and held the position for the remainder of the 200-lap Memphis NCTS classic.
"The truck got a little bit better as the day went on," explained Leffler. "We made a pretty big adjustment on our first stop and that helped the truck, but not enough to get us back to the front. I had a hard time passing because my truck was fairly loose up off the corner, so I couldn't get back in the throttle as hard as I wanted. I could get within four truck lengths of Ted (Musgrave) and he could get within a couple of truck lengths of the guys in front of him and that would just back everybody up. We had a good points day. I'm just glad to have finished this time. Today was a lot better then Texas two weeks ago."
The fourth-place effort earned the Long Beach, CA driver $17,325 in prize money and kept him fifth in the NCTS championship chase, 106 points behind leader David Starr heading into next week's event at The Milwaukee Mile.
The GNC Live Well 200 at The Milwaukee Mile will take the green flag Saturday, June 29 at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The eighth race of the 2002 NCTS tour will be telecast live on ESPN and broadcast on MRN radio nationwide.