Leffler, Team ASE/CarQuest DODGE rock solid at PPIR. FOUNTAIN, CO (May 19, 2002) - After dominating the first half of the race, Jason Leffler wheeled the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge to a second-place finish in the Rocky Mountain 200 presented by...
Leffler, Team ASE/CarQuest DODGE rock solid at PPIR.
FOUNTAIN, CO (May 19, 2002) - After dominating the first half of the race, Jason Leffler wheeled the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge to a second-place finish in the Rocky Mountain 200 presented by Dodge NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Pikes Peak International Raceway Sunday.
"The Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge was awesome early on, but we just got loose on that last run and never were able to get back by the leader," said Leffler, who also finished second in the previous NCTS event at Gateway International Raceway two weeks ago. "All in all, it was a good day. We led the most laps and had a great points day. If we keep finishing second, we're going to win one. I can't complain about it at all."
After topping Saturday's practice charts, Leffler blistered the one-mile Pikes Peak oval in qualifying and nabbed his second Bud Pole of the season, touring the track in 27.178 seconds (132.460 mph).
"We had a great truck all weekend," said Leffler. "I was definitely surprised that we qualified as fast as we did. I knew we had something for the pole, but that was four-tenths of a second quicker than what we had practiced. I can't say enough for the 'Ultra Bad Boys.' We were fast and they made the truck even faster. Starting out front was a big advantage because we were able to stay out front and set our own pace."
Leffler proved to be the class of the field in the early going snatching the lead from teammate Ted Musgrave on the third lap holding down the top spot until the second caution of the afternoon on Lap 42.
After a lightning-fast pit stop, Leffler returned to the track in second and grabbed the lead again on Lap 60. The 26-year-old driver held on to the top spot for the next 52 circuits until dropping to fourth when trouble with a right-front tire exchange slowed a routine pit stop.
"We had a lug nut hang up, but the truck was fairly loose after that last stop anyway," explained Leffler. "We were really good when we were by ourselves, but when we got bottled up behind a bunch of other trucks it just magnified the problem. I was a little loose by myself, but I was really loose when I was behind another truck. I had a lot of fun out there today. It was three-wide for a while there, but that's what makes the Craftsman Truck Series so great. There's a lot of short-track style racing on a big track."
Back on track, Leffler patiently worked his way back toward the front of the field, picking up two more spots before making a final charge at eventual winner Mike Bliss.
"I was doing all I could just to stay with him," said Leffler. "At one point I caught him and I thought maybe I'd have something for him, but when I got behind him in dirty air, I couldn't stay with him long enough to make a serious run. I'm a little disappointed because we didn't win, but we are going to win some races this year. I'm in a great situation. It's one where I can look forward to going to the racetrack every week."
Next up for Leffler and the "Ultra Bad Boys" will be a return to the "Monster Mile" at Dover Downs International Speedway. The team is the defending champion of the NCTS event.
The MBNA America 200 will take the green flag Friday, May 31 at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The sixth race of the 2002 NCTS tour will be telecast live on ESPN and broadcast on MRN Radio nationwide.