BRISTOL, TN- (August 20, 2003) -Jason Leffler made a mad dash from the back of the pack to post a solid ninth-place finish in the O'Reilly 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday night. Leffler qualified 17th...
BRISTOL, TN- (August 20, 2003) -Jason Leffler made a mad dash from the back of the pack to post a solid ninth-place finish in the O'Reilly 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday night. Leffler qualified 17th in the 35-truck field but was forced to start in the rear because of an engine change prior to the start of the event. Travis Kvapil won the race to post his first NCTS win of the season and take over the points lead from Brendan Gaughan.
"It was a lot of fun to come from all the way in the back like that," Leffler said after the race. "The Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge was really good at the start of the race, and we were able to pass a lot of trucks early on. You don't want to start in the back anywhere, but especially not here at Bristol. These Ultra Motorsports guys did a great job making the motor change and getting the truck ready to race."
Leffler made a swift ascent from his poor starting position. He moved into the top 20 in the first ten laps of the race and was running in the top 15 by lap 20. The Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge charged into the top ten by lap 50, and Leffler was able to claw his way all the way to the sixth position by the midway point of the 200-lap event. When the caution flag flew on lap 117 for debris in turn one, Leffler brought his truck in for his only pit stop of the evening. The Ultra Motorsports crew, under the guidance of crew chief Dennis Connor, made a four-tire and fuel stop with an air pressure adjustment designed to help tighten up Leffler's Dodge. Upon exiting his pit Leffler found himself blocked in by fellow competitor Chad Chaffin who occupied the pit directly in front of Leffler.
"We got pinned in trying to get out of the pits," Leffler said. "It wasn't anybody's fault. It's just that pit road is so tight here that it's tough to get in and out smoothly. We lost a few spots as a result of that and it is tough to make up ground to the front of the pack in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The second set of tires that we put on during that stop didn't match up as well with our truck as the first set. We were a little bit loose and we made adjustments to tighten it up, but that second set of tires was even looser than the first set."
Leffler was able to stay within shouting distance of the leaders for the remainder of the event and brought the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge home with its tenth top-ten finish of the season. He remains in the eighth position in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points standings, 279 markers back from Kvapil.
"Bristol is a great place to race," Leffler claimed. "The crowd was awesome tonight and that is great for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. There is always lots of action here and the sparks were flying. The fans always get their money's worth here."
The next event for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is the Virginia is for Lovers 200 at Richmond International Raceway on Thursday September 4th. The event will be broadcast live nationally by the Speed Channel and MRN Radio at 8:00 pm ET.