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Houston looking for more California success FONTANA, Calif. (April 24, 2001) -- When Andy Houston talks about California Speedway, site of the next Winston Cup race (April 29), there's a spark of enthusiasm. And rightfully so. The McDonald's...

Houston looking for more California success

FONTANA, Calif. (April 24, 2001) -- When Andy Houston talks about California Speedway, site of the next Winston Cup race (April 29), there's a spark of enthusiasm. And rightfully so.

The McDonald's rookie driver had his share of success on the 2.0-mile oval when he competed in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series from 1998-2000.

In the three truck races he competed at California Speedway, Houston qualified on the pole twice (1998 & 1999) and was on the outside pole last year. His race finishes were fourth in 1998, 19th in 1999 and second in 2000.

The two pole positions were also the first two of his career as a professional driver.

"California Speedway will always be special for me since it was the place I earned my first pole in the truck series," said Houston. "When I sat on the pole in my rookie year in the trucks that was a huge confidence builder and told me that I was capable of winning races. I am looking forward to making something like that happen again this weekend. Once you get that big dose of momentum it does lead to bigger and better things down the road.

"I really feel comfortable driving at California Speedway. The track is smooth, wide and has plenty of grip, just the way I like it. You can drive hard through the corners and carry a lot of speed. It's just a neat place to race at."

Houston's enthusiasm for this weekend's NAPA Auto Parts 500 can also be attributed to his recent performances in Martinsville and Talladega. He finished on the lead lap in both races, posting a 17th finish in Martinsville and 21st in Talladega.

"We're not where we want to be, but I feel good about how this team is progressing," said Houston, driver of the No. 96 McDonald's Ford Taurus." We struggled early as most new teams do, but we're gaining and we're just going to get better and better." <pre> Houston's 2001 Winston Cup Stats

Event            Start/Finish   Status
Daytona:         4/38           accident
Rockingham:      DNQ
Las Vegas:       DNQ
Atlanta:         29/21          running
Darlington:      DNQ
Bristol:         36/39          accident
Texas:           12/32          running
Martinsville:    30/17          running
Talladega:       24/21          running

Season Point Standing: 41st

-McDonald-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Andy Houston