CONCORD, NC (May 16, 2003) - Jason Leffler entered the Hardee's 200 at Lowe's Motor Speedway Friday night with a strong truck and dreams of winning his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. At the end of the evening he was left singing the ...
CONCORD, NC (May 16, 2003) - Jason Leffler entered the Hardee's 200 at Lowe's Motor Speedway Friday night with a strong truck and dreams of winning his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. At the end of the evening he was left singing the familiar refrain, "If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all." While his Ultra Motorsports teammate Ted Musgrave took the checkered flag, Leffler limped home to 21st place finish.
Leffler's Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge started the race on the outside of the front row after a stout qualifying run placed him second on the grid. Misfortune struck early and often, however, as his Dodge experienced mysterious fuel flow problems in the first few laps of the event. By the time the first caution flag flew, Leffler had fallen back to the sixth position. After the ensuing restart, the fuel problems vanished and the 27 year-old Long Beach native began picking off positions one by one. When a mandatory NASCAR caution came out on lap 38, Leffler had moved his truck into the second position behind Bobby Hamilton. His Ultra "Bad Boys" pit crew ripped off an exceptional stop and Leffler left the pits in first place. "I can't say enough about these guys," Leffler said. "They gave me a great truck and the pit stops were awesome. The truck was really, really fast. It handled great and we were in good position."
Leffler headed the field for the next ten laps and was near the front of the pack for the next 50 laps when trouble once again reared its head as the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge developed a tire vibration. Leffler was forced to pit under green on lap 92. After his team put on four fresh Goodyear tires, Leffler came out in the 21st spot only to see an untimely caution fall on lap 101. Finding himself at the tail end of the lead lap Leffler needed help in the form of a caution and he got it on lap 110. Once again the Ultra Motorsports crew belted on a set of tires and made chassis adjustments to tighten the truck up for one last charge. Leffler restarted in the 15th spot and was charging through the field when bad luck delivered it final blow. A cut right rear tire on lap 116 forced him into the pits for replacements and Leffler found himself two laps behind the leader.
"We just ran over something there at the end and cut a tire," Leffler said. "The truck was fast. We'll just shine it up and take it to Texas. At least we know we have a good truck for there. It looked like we got a little luck there by getting back on the lead lap but it wasn't to be. Dover is my new favorite race track because that is where we race next, and I can't wait to get there and put this finish behind us."
Amazingly Leffler moved up one position in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points standings to ninth place. The next stop for the NCTS is the MBNA Armed Forces Family Truck 200 at Dover International Raceway on Friday, May 30. The event will be broadcast live by the Speed Channel and MRN Radio at 4:30 pm ET.