MOORESVILLE, NC (May 26, 2003) - NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Jason Leffler left Lowe's Motor Speedway disappointed last week after a promising run turned sour in the late stages of the Hardee's 200. Leffler now heads to Dover...
MOORESVILLE, NC (May 26, 2003) - NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Jason Leffler left Lowe's Motor Speedway disappointed last week after a promising run turned sour in the late stages of the Hardee's 200. Leffler now heads to Dover International Speedway for the MBNA Armed Forces Family Truck 200 ninth in the NCTS points standings. Dover, Leffler claims, is most definitely a track that lives up to it's billing as the Monster Mile.
"That place truly is a monster," said Leffler, driver of the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge. "It comes by its nickname honestly but I love that track. It is a unique racetrack, one that you can really drive hard." Driving hard is one thing the 27 year-old Long Beach, CA native has been doing his whole career. Leffler learned his trade by competing against the best of the open wheel community and winning three straight USAC National Midget titles along the way. Success in open wheel racing comes from pushing the envelope, throwing the car into the corners as hard as you can -- something that the high banked corners at Dover invite a driver to do.
" You can almost get away with overdriving the truck at Dover because there is so much banking there to hold you," Leffler stated. "Dover is one of the places I really like because with the trucks it seems like the harder you drive it the faster it goes. It reminds me of some of the other types of racing that I have participated in. It is a neat place with multiple grooves but real narrow. Not narrow in the sense you can't run two wide there and have a good time, but in the sense that if somebody wrecks you really have no place to go."
Aggressiveness is a trait commonly shared by many race drivers. For many it has shaped the direction of their careers. The "Monster Mile" can react positively to aggressive behavior but only up to a certain point.
"Dover is a track that rewards aggressiveness both behind the wheel and with your set ups," Leffler said. "You can gain speed by being aggressive with your camber settings and your set up but if you step over the line it will catch up to you in the end."
The key to running well at any track boils down to a variety of factors including luck. At Dover having good luck often depends on how well you can navigate race traffic and whom you can catch relative to where they are on the racetrack.
"There is room to maneuver but lap traffic can really, really slow you down especially early on in a tire run when the bottom is the place to be," Leffler stated. "When you go to pass the truck in front of you and you have to go to the high side to do it, you really lose time to the truck behind you. Last year I was leading the race and lap traffic was really tough. You can have a half straightaway lead and the next thing you know the second place truck is right behind you."
Having a truck with a flexible enough chassis set up to run the top or bottom groove depending on race circumstances is the hot commodity at a difficult and taxing circuit like Dover.
"You have to be able to move around on the race track," Leffler said. "If you get hung up and you know that you can go up top it helps. You have to have the speed to be able get around slower traffic. Usually in the truck series races the bottom is the place to be but it is nice to know that you can go up top if you have to."
The MBNA Armed Forces Family Truck 200 at Dover International Raceway is scheduled for Friday, May 30. The event will be broadcast live by the Speed Channel and MRN Radio at 4:30 pm ET.