DAYTONA BEACH, FL (February 15, 2002) - After running in the Top-10 all afternoon, Jason Leffler and his Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge Ram were caught up in a late race accident, relegating the Long Beach, CA driver to an 11th-place finish in the NASCAR...
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (February 15, 2002) - After running in the Top-10 all afternoon, Jason Leffler and his Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge Ram were caught up in a late race accident, relegating the Long Beach, CA driver to an 11th-place finish in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Florida Dodge Dealers 250 at Daytona International Speedway.
"The ASE/CARQUEST Dodge was really fast all day," said Leffler. "The truck was really good out front, a lot better than it was when we were behind somebody. We just got caught up there at the end trying to get to the front. It was just one of those accidents where there was nowhere for me to go."
After a solid fifth-place qualifying effort (48.569 seconds, 185.303 mph) Leffler kept his ASE/CARQUEST Dodge in the Top-5 until pitting after the second caution of the 100-lap event. Back under green, Leffler returned to the action 12th and quickly made his way back to the front snaring the lead by Lap 40. Two laps later, the 26-year-old driver relinquished the lead and headed for pit road on Lap 57 under green for four fresh tires and a full load of fuel.
"I was a little worried when we had to pit under green, but everything worked out ok after that stop anyway," commented Leffler. "My crew chief, Tim Kohuth, calls an awesome race so I was pretty sure it would work out. I have all the confidence in the world in whatever call he wants to make."
Back on track, Leffler sliced his way back to third by the 71st circuit. After falling back briefly following a late race pit stop, Leffler was fifth until the ill-fated wreck collected the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge.
"I'm not going to complain," explained Leffler. "We had a fast truck all week and even though we were caught up in an accident, we still finished 11th. There's no way to predict if we would have won the race, but we were good all day. We led some laps and the ASE/CARQUEST Dodge handled great. The guys made good decisions in the pits and we were a threat for the win. I'm disappointed to finish 11th, but all in all, it was a good day."
The finish netted Leffler $16,050 in prize money and positioned him 10th in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points standings after one event. Next up for Leffler and the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge will be a trip to the famed Darlington Raceway. The Craftsman Anniversary 200 at Darlington Raceway will take the green flag Friday, March 15th at 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The race will be telecast live on ESPN and broadcast on MRN Radio worldwide.
ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) also has a long involvement in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. As the primary sponsor on the No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST entry, the non-profit organization has been able to highlight its efforts to provide the highest quality professional technician certification and assessment services at all levels of vehicle maintenance and repair. In addition to ASE's racing involvement, the organization is active in numerous civic, charitable, educational and humanitarian activities.