West Allis, WI (June 28, 2003)-Thanks to lightning quick pits stops by his "Ultra Bad Boys" crew and an extremely fast "Hulk" themed truck, Jason Leffler almost came home with his second NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory of the season...
West Allis, WI (June 28, 2003)-Thanks to lightning quick pits stops by his "Ultra Bad Boys" crew and an extremely fast "Hulk" themed truck, Jason Leffler almost came home with his second NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory of the season at America's oldest speedway, the Milwaukee Mile. Instead Leffler settled for second place behind winner Brendan Gaughan in the GNC Live Well 200.
"What a great truck, and we had super pit stops all day," Leffler said. "Those guys put me out front and gave me a chance to win the race and that is all we can ask for. The truck was a little bit tight up off the corner but I still had great forward bite. All in all it was a good day. We passed a bunch of trucks in the first part of the race and that combined with the great stops put us in good position."
Leffler started the race in the ninth spot and picked his way through the field. His Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge consistently ran lap times that were among the fastest in the field. He moved into the Top-5 on lap 60 and by the time the field started making green flag stops, Leffler had moved into the top three. He brought his Dodge in for service on lap 84, and quick work by his Ultra Motorsports crew gave him the lead when green flag stops cycled through on lap 87. He kept the lead until his truck started to fade on lap 111 and he got involved in a three wide battle with second place Rick Crawford and the lapped truck of Tina Gordon.
"I came out in the lead because of a great green flag stop," Leffler said. "I ran the truck real hard trying to stay out front and I kind of used my truck up and those guys got to me and passed me. I got a little fender damage from the battle with Crawford but it was nothing major, just a little minor beating and banging. He went for the lead - he really wanted the lead - and his truck was pretty good right there."
With the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge running in the fourth position, caution came out lap on 133 due to debris caused by NCTS points leader Bobby Hamilton's blown engine. Once again Leffler's crew performed a flawless stop, changing four tires and adding two cans of gas in only 15.1 seconds, giving Leffler the lead once more.
"After the second stop, which got me out front under caution I just took it easy trying to save something for the end of the race," Leffler stated. "I thought maybe Brendan would fade a little toward the end but to his credit he didn't. We had a great truck today but we weren't as good as Brendan at the end."
Due to Hamilton's engine woes the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points standings have taken a dramatic shift. Gaughan now sits atop the standings with both Hamilton and Crawford only one point behind. While Leffler still remains in the ninth spot he made up significant ground. He entered the Milwaukee race 272 points behind the leader and now stands only 174 points back.
The next race for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is scheduled for Saturday July 5th at Kansas Speedway. The Speed Channel and MRN Radio will broadcast the event nationally at 2pm ET.