The "Big One" Bites Houston at Daytona Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge unable To Survive Lap 51 Crash DAYTONA BEACH, FL- (February 14, 2004) -Andy Houston's weekend went from bad to worse in the blink of an eye Friday night when his Team ASE/CARQUEST ...
The "Big One" Bites Houston at Daytona
Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge unable To Survive Lap 51 Crash
DAYTONA BEACH, FL- (February 14, 2004) -Andy Houston's weekend went from bad to worse in the blink of an eye Friday night when his Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge was swept up in a 15 truck crash on lap 51 of the Dodge Dealers 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway. Houston was examined and released from the infield care center with virtually no ill effects from the multi-truck incident. The same could not be said of his Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge. The damage suffered from the crash proved to be too extensive for his Dennis Connor led Ultra Motorsports team to repair.
"I don't really know if the No. 16 came down or if the No. 88 went up, but they spun," Houston said after the event. "I turned hard right, trying to avoid the No. 16 and he came up hard in front of me. He pinned me up against the outside wall. Then when I spun off the wall somebody else cleaned me out. I'm just glad this weekend is over. It's been bad. We have a great race team and we were running great."
The crash was Houston's second incident of the week. He was involved in a fracas on the backstretch during a late afternoon practice on Thursday. The team was forced to roll out their backup truck and in doing so, they gave up their seventh place starting position and took the green flag from the rear of the field in compliance with NASCAR regulations. Houston moved conservatively through the pack during the early portion of the event, expertly dodging several early race accidents in the wild and wooly affair. On lap 47 it appeared the 33 year-old Hickory, NC native was set to make his move to the front. Houston went from the 14th position to the 8th spot. Four laps later his evening was done through no fault of his own when the dreaded "Big One" raised its ugly head.
"We had started in the back and had moved up into the top ten," Houston added. "We were just biding our time, looking for a good run. When those deals happen in front of you, especially at a place like Daytona, sometimes it is unavoidable and that is what happened to the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge tonight."
The race was filled with exciting side-by-side and sometimes three-wide racing on Daytona's famed 2.5-mile oval. It was also filled with sometimes questionable or overly aggressive driving, a point not lost on Ultra Motorsports owner Jim Smith who lost two trucks - Houston's Dodge and his teammate Ted Musgrave's Dodge in the lap 51 crash.
"Tonight I saw a lot of back runners that are capable of running in the draft," Smith said. "These trucks blow such a large hole in the air that you become Superman. Musgrave went up, led his lap then he went back and rode around to just play it out. But the problem is you don't ever know where the wreck is going to be. It could be in the front. It could be in the back. I don't know. It's just a shame, you know? We've got two torn up racetrucks. There's, what, 15 or more torn up racetrucks right now? It's just these younger drivers need to know how to be patient."
Houston couldn't agree more. He saw his bid for a strong start to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck season go flying out the window.
"It's a bad thing because you're at the mercy of everybody else," Houston claimed. "You can try to be patient yourself, but if everybody is not driving that way there's no point in it. You've got some guys that are trying to be a little bit more cautious and some that are all out. The ones that are all out, most of them are on the hook. It is a long race, and even when you get down to 20 laps to go, people don't realize how much time that is at a place like this. It's a lot of racing left."