HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (August 4, 2003) - Jason Leffler and the NetZero HiSpeed Racing team, competing together for the first time, salvaged a 33rd-place finish in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday after a weekend full of ...
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (August 4, 2003) - Jason Leffler and the NetZero HiSpeed Racing team, competing together for the first time, salvaged a 33rd-place finish in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday after a weekend full of unexpected obstacles.
Despite having had the opportunity to run only four practice laps due to mechanical problems before his two-lap qualifying effort, Leffler, one of the top competitors in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, posted a speed of 181.759 miles per hour around the 2.5-mile oval Saturday morning. Leffler and the NetZero HiSpeed Racing team were rewarded for their hard work with a 26th place starting spot for the 10th anniversary of the Brickyard 400.
Due to an engine change made Friday morning, Leffler was forced by NASCAR rules to drop to the rear of the field just prior to the start of the event Sunday. Just after the green flag flew Leffler communicated to crew chief Tony Furr that the car was tight in the center of the corners, but he diligently worked his way toward the front of the field. By Lap 29 of the 160-lap race, Leffler held down the 33rd spot. Leffler had several problems with cut tires during the event, the first of which came at Lap 33. Leffler radioed to the crew that he thought he had a left front tire going down and ducked into the pits. Following a four-tire pit stop, Leffler returned to the track one lap down and in 38th place. He was able to make up the lap during a subsequent caution, but again went one lap down when he was forced to drive onto pit road 43 laps later for another tire problem.
Leffler continued to struggle with a tight handling condition for the remainder of the event, and with less than 10 laps to go in the race, Leffler again experienced a cut tire. In an effort to move out of harm's way, Leffler drove to the top of the track. Derrike Cope, driver of the No. 37 Chevrolet, followed and as Leffler was slowing, made contact with the NetZero HiSpeed Pontiac sending it spinning into the wall. The resulting damage to the right side of the car took several laps to fix and Leffler took the checkered flag in 33rd, six laps down.
"It was a shame we had to drop to the back at the start, but I tried to be pretty patient, stay out of trouble and pick through traffic one by one," commented Leffler. "The NetZero HiSpeed Pontiac was pretty tight all day, but Tony and the guys made changes to it every time we stopped, which helped. We had some tire issues that got us a lap down and then led to the damage to the car at the end of the race. The crew had good stops and worked really hard this weekend, so I wish we could have had a better finish today. At least we got the first race together under our belt. That should help us next time."
The NASCAR Winston Cup Series next travels to Watkins Glen International for the running of the final road course event of the season. John Andretti will once again take the wheel of the NetZero HiSpeed Pontiac for the event. Qualifying for the Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen will take place Friday, August 8, with the drop of the green flag scheduled for Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET. The event will be telecast live on NBC and will be broadcast worldwide by MRN Radio.