Homestead: Marty Houston preview

MOORESVILLE, NC- (November 11, 2003) Marty Houston is more than ready to climb back behind the wheel of a NASCAR Craftsman Truck this week at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Ultra Motorsports team owner Jim Smith is giving Houston the opportunity to do...

MOORESVILLE, NC- (November 11, 2003) Marty Houston is more than ready to climb back behind the wheel of a NASCAR Craftsman Truck this week at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Ultra Motorsports team owner Jim Smith is giving Houston the opportunity to do just that by running a second Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge in Friday's Ford 200. Houston has 47 NCTS starts to his credit with a best finish of fourth at Kentucky Speedway in 2000.

"I am truly excited to get back behind the wheel of one of these NASCAR Craftsman Trucks," Houston said. "It is a great opportunity that Jim Smith has given me. I talked with Jim a couple of years ago about driving and the deal did not come together at that time. I knew from the start that driving is what I want to do and I think I can get the job done.

Houston normally serves as the truck chief and the rear tire changer for the No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge driven by his brother Andy Houston. This week he drives a No. 10 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge of his own. Houston's last NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start came in November of 2000 at California Speedway.

"I don't think I am going to have to knock any rust off," Houston claimed. "I think I will fall right back into place. It is kind of like riding a bike. Homestead-Miami is a superspeedway, and from the experience I have had in the past they are not as difficult to master or as technical as short tracks or road courses. I am surprisingly laid back and calm going into it, and I have the piece of mind knowing that I have a really good truck. I have worked on this truck and I have seen what it can do. It drives good and the set up will be solid. Really just going down there and making some laps will help not only knock any rust off but get the truck in race trim. I am not that concerned about qualifying but we don't have any points to fall back on so I do need to get a good lap in."

Houston will be in the unusual position of racing not only his brother but another Ultra Motorsports teammate, Ted Musgrave, who is going after the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship.

"My main goal is to go down there and win the race," Houston says. "When it comes down to it, the big picture at the end of the day is we want Ted Musgrave to win the NCTS Championship and we want Ultra Motorsports to win the Championship. Anything that I can do to help him out, within the boundaries of the NASCAR rules, is what we will do. Our main goal as a team is to win the championship and my main goal as a driver is to try and win the race."

In order for Houston to run at Homestead, the No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge had to give up one of crew chief's Dennis Connor's most valuable assets. No team likes to give up one of their best over the wall competitors but the Hickory, NC native insists his replacement is more than capable.

"We are racing for owner points only at this point," Houston said. "Andy is not really racing for driver's points so it allows me to race without significantly hurting our points situation. Robbie Huffman who normally carries the rear tires for me will become our rear tire changer. This is really a big opportunity for Robbie and he is really excited about making his debut as rear tire changer. He has tons of over the wall experience but none of it changing tires. We are going to practice him up. He has been practicing with the crew and doing a great job. I think he can step in and not miss a beat."

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series finale -- The Ford 200 -- is scheduled for Friday November 14th. The Speed Channel and MRN Radio will broadcast the event live nationally at 3:00 pm ET.

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Andy Houston , Ted Musgrave , Marty Houston , Jim Smith