Darlington: Jason Leffler preview

Leffler looks for luck at Darlington. MOORESVILLE, NC (March 9, 2003) - Jason Leffler certainly hopes that Darlington Raceway, the track "too tough to tame," brings him a more favorable finish than his last outing at the 1.366 mile fabled ...

Leffler looks for luck at Darlington.

MOORESVILLE, NC (March 9, 2003) - Jason Leffler certainly hopes that Darlington Raceway, the track "too tough to tame," brings him a more favorable finish than his last outing at the 1.366 mile fabled facility. Last year the Team ASE CARQUEST Dodge driver captured his first career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series pole and was a major factor in the event until a late race spin. The ensuing damage from a blown tire relegated the team to a 30th place finish. Leffler looks forward to improving his fortunes at one of NASCAR's most formidable venues.

"Darlington is definitely one of the toughest tracks that we run on the whole circuit," Leffler said. "It has really high speed to it and two totally different corners. You run right up against the fence and your tires go away so quickly because of the pavement. It certainly lives up to its name. We ran good there last year and just when you think things are going good the track jumps out and gets you."

NASCAR's oldest superspeedway provides a multitude of challenges for any driver or team. Foremost among the challenges is the constant battle for grip on the racetrack. Darlington's abrasive racing surface can reduce a perfectly good new set of racing tires to relative ineffectiveness in a matter of laps.

"When you first go out on the track and drive into the first corner you have instant grip," Leffler said. "You can almost feel the rubber tearing off the tire. By the second lap around you really notice the difference. You only get one good lap out of a set and then they continue to go away and then they level off. From the start of a run until the end of the run your lap times go down tremendously. Goodyear makes a great tire but the pavement compound is very rough. The best drivers at Darlington are the ones who have a good feel for how their truck handles when the tires are going away. Some guys have a lot of experience there so they know what to do. Other guys run too hard and wear their stuff out at the end. It is a real tough track to get a hold of."

Tradition and heritage are rich at Darlington Raceway and drivers hold the facility in high regard. One such tradition is one that most drivers would like to avoid -- the Darlington Stripe.

"In order to be fast there I think you're going to get a Darlington Stripe on your truck," Leffler said. "I am amazed at how guys like Jeff Gordon or Dale Jarrett can run 500 miles and win a race at Darlington and not have a mark on their car. I don't know how they do it. It is awfully hard for me to stay off that wall. If you can win a race there you have done something big because it is such a hard racetrack to drive. It really is too tough to tame."

The Too Tough to Tame 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Darlington will be broadcast live on the Speed Channel and MRN radio on Friday, March 14 at 4 p.m.

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Jason Leffler