Daytona: Leffler, Team ASE preview

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (February 7, 2002) - A new year always brings a fresh set of challenges. After consecutive runs at Rookie of the Year titles in the NASCAR Busch and Winston Cup Series, Jason Leffler will have just that when he steers his No. 2...

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (February 7, 2002) - A new year always brings a fresh set of challenges. After consecutive runs at Rookie of the Year titles in the NASCAR Busch and Winston Cup Series, Jason Leffler will have just that when he steers his No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge onto the high-banks of Daytona International Speedway and the beginning of the 2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season. "I can't wait for Daytona," said Leffler, who moves to the potent Jim Smith-owned Ultra Motorsports NCTS entry full-time this season. "There's just something about kicking off a new season at one of the most famous racetracks in the world. Daytona is big and fast and, from what I saw of the Truck Series race last year, probably produces the most exciting race anyone will see throughout Speed Weeks. I've got a whole new outlook this year. I'm with a first-class operation at Ultra Motorsports and I don't see any reason why we shouldn't be in the hunt for the win. What's not to be excited about?"

After spending 2001 behind the wheel of Chip Ganassi's No. 01 Dodge Intrepid in NASCAR's senior division, Leffler moves into the highly coveted No. 2 Dodge for a run at the 2002 NCTS crown. Last year, Scott Riggs drove the ASE/CARQUEST mount to five wins and five poles. At Daytona, Riggs put the ASE/CARQEST Dodge on the outside pole and finished third. Given Mike Wallace won the inaugural 2000 Truck Series race at Daytona in Ultra Motorsports' No. 2 entry, you can't fault Leffler if he's eager to get started.

"It's going to be really important to have a good run at Daytona and get the season started on a high note," explained Leffler. "Daytona is obviously one of the bigger races of the year and a win there could set the tone for the entire season. To be able to bring home a win would be huge for Jimmy Smith, ASE, CARQUEST and the entire team - it would make everyone happy."

Meanwhile, Leffler's new relationship with Ultra Motorsports allows the young driver to reunite with long-time supporters ASE and Smith.

"My association with ASE goes all the way back to my open-wheel days and Jimmy Smith has supported me since the start of my career," said Leffler. "Surrounding yourself with good people who support you is a big part of being successful. Obviously they have great equipment and run a first class operation. They won five poles and five races last year and have consistently been in the hunt for the championship for the last three years. They have a great team. I'm pretty pumped up about being a part of it."

As a staple in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series weekly lineup, the ASE/CARQUEST entry has won at least once every season since the series began in 1995. Mike Bliss, Wallace and Riggs have all flown the orange, white and blue ASE colors in Victory Lane. Additionally, veteran crew chief Tim Kohuth and his "Ultra Bad Boys" return for the 2002 season.

"It's going to be a whole new challenge," commented Kohuth. "Last year was a very successful season for Ultra Motorsports. As a team, we won half of the races and I don't know if we'll ever be able to duplicate a season like that again. We've got a new Dodge Ram body for 2002 and it's going to be a whole new test to make that truck run as good as what we had last season. We've got a new driver with Jason, but we've got a strong team and they're behind the driver 110 percent ."

Leffler will take the green flag on the 2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season at Daytona International Speedway Friday, February 15 at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The Florida Dodge Dealers 250 will be telecast live by 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.

-tase-

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Jason Leffler , Mike Wallace , Scott Riggs , Mike Bliss , Chip Ganassi , Jim Smith