HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Feb. 26, 2000) Andy Houston used pit stop strategy to gain the lead then never looked back to win the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Florida Dodge Dealers 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday afternoon. Houston was...
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Feb. 26, 2000) Andy Houston used pit stop strategy to gain the lead then never looked back to win the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Florida Dodge Dealers 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday afternoon. Houston was followed across the finish line by 1999 Homestead race winner Mike Wallace, Jack Sprague, Joe Ruttman and Greg Biffle.
The decisive move came on lap 141 when the lead pack pitted during the last caution. Houston and Wallace gambled and stayed on course for track position.
"We hadn't run very long on those tires and it seemed the longer we ran, the better off we were," said Houston, who won $49,869. "So we stayed off and those guys pitted and we pretty much ran off and hid after that."
Houston, the son of NASCAR Busch Series legend Tommy Houston, scored a runaway, 4.505-second victory at the 1.5-mile oval. He went to the lead on lap 142 of the 167-lap event and simply motored away from all challengers.
"As a race car driver, that's the kind you like to run," said Houston, who averaged 129.755 mph in the CAT Rental Store Chevrolet owned by Mike Addington. "It probably wasn't the best show to watch, but I'm going to take it."
The win was Houston's first in 39 starts, or since he scored his inaugural win at Loudon, N.H., on Aug. 2, 1998.
The show to watch was the four-truck battle for second-place.
Wallace, who won the series season-opener at Daytona International Speedway last weekend, held off the charge to earn runner-up honors.
"I was a fourth or fifth place truck," said Wallace, who drives the Team ASE Racing Ford. "It worked out that we finished second."
Sprague, the defending series champion, said he had the truck to beat until cloud cover disrupted the handling of his GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet.
"We were awesome in the race," Sprague said. "But in the cloud cover, my truck got really tight. My team tried to loosen it up, but I was still tight at the end."
In the closing laps, Wallace stayed low to protect the passing lane and all Sprague could do was follow.
"I was hoping he'd slip, but he didn't," said Sprague, who has led every truck race staged here but never scored a victory. "My streak is still intact."
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has a few weeks off before traveling to Phoenix International Raceway on March 18 for the Chevy Trucks NASCAR 150.
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• Florida Dodge Dealers 400 unofficial results