Houston Rolls A Seven At Dover Team ASE/Carquest Dodge Scores Top Ten DOVER, DE- (June 4, 2004) -Andy Houston overcame flying debris, flat tires and an ill handling chassis to post his first top-ten finish of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series ...
Houston Rolls A Seven At Dover Team ASE/Carquest Dodge Scores Top Ten
DOVER, DE- (June 4, 2004) -Andy Houston overcame flying debris, flat tires and an ill handling chassis to post his first top-ten finish of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season in Friday's MBNA America 200 at Dover International Speedway. Crew chief Dennis Connor made the decision to leave Houston and his Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge on the racetrack for an extended green flag run and was rewarded with a timely caution flag that caught a number of competitive trucks a lap down to the field. The end result was a seventh place finish and a healthy dose of momentum as the series heads to Texas Motor Speedway next weekend.
"That was a great pit call," Houston claimed after the event. "Dennis made the call to keep us out there and we had a little luck go our way. That is the first time all year we have had luck go our way. The Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge was not an exceptionally fast truck today but we got a top-ten finish out of it. Even when we had some bad luck early in the race these guys never gave up and they deserve a good finish for all the hard work they have put in. Hopefully that will help us build some momentum for Texas."
Houston started the race in the 26th position and quickly moved up ten positions in the running order. The bad luck that has plagued the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge all season once again reared its ugly head on lap 46 when Lance Hooper exploded his engine. Debris from Hooper's motor ripped through the right front fender of Houston's Dodge, flattening the right front tire and causing extensive damage. Houston made a series of pit stops while his Ultra Motorsports crew attempted to repair the damage. As a result of the additional pit stops, Houston fell out of pit sequence allowing Connor to gamble on leaving his driver on the racetrack while the other competitors had to pit for fuel. The strategy worked to near perfection placing Houston in the fifth position on the lead lap when Kevin Love spun his truck on the frontstretch with 48 laps remaining in the race. Houston was able to hold off several faster trucks at the end of the race and wound up with a richly deserved seventh place finish.
"I told these boys this was our Mulligan," Houston said. "When we show up in Texas on Friday night we'll be there to win the race. We needed this. Any time you can knock off a top 10, especially with as tough as the competition is now, it's a good day. With a little more luck, and that was asking a whole lot, but we would have run in the top five. It's a step in the right direction. We've got Texas coming up, and I'm looking forward to that. Skinner was the class of the field pretty much all day, and I tried to hold him off at the end, but you take a chance on getting wrecked. You don't want to give anything up. I still made some risky moves there to keep seventh, but it all worked out for us and we came home with a top 10. That's our first one of the year, and we've got plenty more to come."
Houston moved up three spots in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points standings and now sits in the 14th position. Chad Chaffin took the checkered flag at Dover to post his first career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win and became the sixth different driver to win a NCTS event in 2004. The next stop for the truck series is Friday June 11th at Texas Motor Speedway.