Sunday, May 19, 2002 Pikes Peak Int'l Raceway - Fountain, CO Rocky Mountain 200 Presented by Dodge, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series JASON LEFFLER (No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge Ram) NOTE: Leffler finished second for the second time this year. He...
Sunday, May 19, 2002
Pikes Peak Int'l Raceway - Fountain, CO
Rocky Mountain 200 Presented by Dodge, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
JASON LEFFLER (No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge Ram)
NOTE: Leffler finished second for the second time this year. He started first, earning his second Bud Pole award of the year. Team owner Jim Smith celebrated his 175th start as a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Owner -- earning the most starts ever made by an owner. Smith has had an entry in every NCTS race in history.
"We had a great Dodge all day. When we took that last set of tires it started to tighten up a little bit. But, that's the way it goes. It was a good points day for us again, and we're running for a championship. That should get us back into third. I'd like to thank everyone at Ultra Motorsports for putting together a good Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge. I'm happy. I'd like to win, but that's the way it goes.
"We were just making do with what we had there at the end. We just got loose on that last run right after that last pit stop, and that was compounded by the fact that we didn't have a very good pit stop. We got behind some other trucks and some dirty air. All in all it was a good day for us. We led the most laps, and had a good points day. If you keep finishing second then eventually you're going to win one, so I can't complain about it all.
"I was loose right after that last pit stop. We just had a lug nut hang-up on the right front, I think. So it was loose, and plus being around the other trucks it really affects your truck. Starting at the front row is a big advantage because you can get out and set your own pace. When you get bottled up behind other guys if you have a problem then your car starts to magnify that. I was a little loose by myself, and I was really loose around other cars.
"It was three wide there for a little bit at the end - it was a little hairy. But that's what makes this series so great. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series puts on a great race. There's a lot of short-track style racing on the big tracks.
"We were talking about the rain. I was a little worried there after awhile because Ted got in front of me. If it would've rained, I knew that I had a better truck than him and I wanted to get in front. But at the end, I was doing all I could. We were getting so loose up there in the corner I was having to be really careful with the throttle and spinning the tires a little bit. But, like I said it was a good day for us.
"I was doing all I could just to stay with Mike Bliss. One time I caught him by a couple tenths, and I thought I had something there for him. But we just kind of petered out there. We got behind his air, and I really couldn't do too much.
"Preferably, I like the low-groove. That seems like what suited my truck the best. But getting through the lapped traffic, you know all the lapped cars go to the bottom, so that kind of bottled us up a bit. But it's just a part of racing. You've got to deal with it. The middle groove wasn't bad. All in all we had a good Dodge everywhere on the track. But it was at its best at the bottom."
BILL LESTER (No. 8 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Ram)
NOTE: Lester earned a career-high finish of 15th. He was the top-qualifying rookie for the fourth time in five races this year.
"The truck was tight all day. The guys said they were going to adjust it to tighten it up - we were thinking it was going to be a little warmer than it turned out to be. We thought as a result from our experience last year, that as the track heats up it tends to turn these tires loose. I think we just overcompensated. So, we ended up with too tight a truck and wound up getting a little bit more of a stripe on the front that I wanted to. But it wasn't bad, it didn't really upset the truck much. But it sure got my respect. It got my attention.
"We're just learning. The team, they're learning what I like, and I'm learning how to better communicate with them. We're pleased. We finished, and we didn't get in any kind of real mess. This is a career-best finish for me at 15th. So, I just want to extend my thanks to Bobby Hamilton Racing and Dodge Motorsports.
"The first race of the season, the confidence was there, but I didn't really know. Sure I was going in confident, but I just didn't know. Now I'm at the point where I know. So, every successive run I think we'll be better."