Jason Leffler looking for a little luck at Dover International Speedway DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 28, 2003) -- The 2003 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season has been all about luck for Jason Leffler. Most of it has been bad. Leffler (No. 2 Team...
Jason Leffler looking for a little luck at Dover International Speedway
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 28, 2003) -- The 2003 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season has been all about luck for Jason Leffler. Most of it has been bad.
Leffler (No. 2 Team ASE RACING/Carquest Dodge) was knocked out of the season opening race at Daytona International Speedway -- when his Ultra Motorsports teammate Ted Musgrave (No. 1 Mopar Performance Dodge) cut a tire, spun and eliminated both trucks.
More recently, Leffler appeared poised to score his first NASCAR victory at Lowe's Motor Speedway, until a flat tire late in the Hardee's 200 dropped the 27-year-old competitor from lead pack to a lap behind.
This coming on top of a frustrating first season on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in which Leffler grabbed eight Bud Poles and six times finished in second place.
When, Leffler might be pardoned for asking, will that dark cloud disappear?
The answer could be Friday, when the series heads for Dover International Speedway and the MBNA Armed Forces Family 200. Leffler finished ninth in last year's event, leading 26 laps after qualifying third. And Scott Riggs won the 2001 event in the Tim Kohuth-prepared truck, a victory the pair repeated later in the same season at Nashville Superspeedway, a 1.333-mile concrete layout.
Kohuth continues as Ultra Motorsports' general manager, overseeing the trucks driven by Leffler and Musgrave. Earlier this week, team owner Jim Smith announced the hiring of Dennis Connor, a three-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion crew chief for Jack Sprague, to quarterback Leffler's effort.
Connor is the series' all-time winning crew chief with 23 victories.
And, perhaps most important, Dover requires the kind of approach that Leffler employed when he won three consecutive U.S. Auto Club midget titles -- a feat that, later this summer, will admit the Long Beach, Calif., driver to the National Midget Racing Hall of Fame.
"Dover is a track that rewards aggressiveness both behind the wheel and with your set ups," said Leffler. "Dover is one of the places I really like because with the trucks it seems like the harder you drive, the faster you go.
"You can almost get away with overdriving the truck at Dover because there is so much banking there to hold you."
Leffler, with sixth and seventh-place finishes at Darlington and Mesa Marin raceways, continues to chase his first top-five of the 2003 season. He's still very much a part of the championship battle, in ninth and trailing leader Bobby Hamilton by only 202 points after five events.
Many believe it's only a matter of time before Leffler begins winning -- and often. This could be the week it happens.