Leffler, Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge second at IRP. Jump three spots in NCTS championship chase. CLERMONT, IN (August 3, 2002) - Jason Leffler powered his No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge to a second-place finish in the Power Stroke 200...
Leffler, Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge second at IRP.
Jump three spots in NCTS championship chase.
CLERMONT, IN (August 3, 2002) - Jason Leffler powered his No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge to a second-place finish in the Power Stroke 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Indianapolis Raceway Park Friday and in the process, catapulted from sixth to third in the 2002 NCTS championship chase, just 29 markers out of the top spot.
"We had a great night," stated Leffler after rolling to his fifth runner-up finish in 14 NCTS events this season. "I'll finish second all year if that leads us to the championship table at the Truck Series banquet at the end of the season. Timmy Kohuth (Leffler's crew chief) and all the boys on this Ultra Motorsports team did an awesome job. We pitted early, hoping that strategy would keep us out front and it worked, but once Terry (Cook) got by me, he just ran off and hid.
"We did the best we could and the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge was pretty good, but nobody had anything for Cook. Even though we didn't win the race, we had a huge points night. We'll just keep working at it and this team will get a win before the season is over."
Leffler toured the .686 IRP-oval in 22.816 seconds (108.240 mph) qualifying second in the 36-truck field and just missing his eighth Bud Pole Award of the season. At the drop of the green flag, the Long Beach, CA driver settled in to the second spot and never fell from the Top-3 until his only pit stop of the night following the fourth caution of the event on Lap 57. There, Leffler took on four tires, a full load of fuel and a made a chassis adjustment to cure a loose handling condition on his No. 2 Dodge.
Back on track in 13th position, Leffler wasted little time making a charge to the front. By Lap 93, the three-time USAC National Midget Champion had reassumed the second spot before inheriting the lead just 10 circuits later when the majority of the field headed down pit lane under yellow flag conditions.
"We had a pretty good idea that we were only going to stop once," explained Leffler. "We stopped early knowing that everyone else would have to come in and that would give us the lead. We were hoping to stay there, but we were off a little bit. I have no doubt that was the right strategy. It would have paid off, but I couldn't keep up with the No. 29. He was dominant all night."
When the action resumed, Leffler valiantly held off Cook for eight circuits before relinquishing the lead on Lap 112. The Long Beach, CA driver then settled into second and held down the position for the remainder of the caution-marred event earning $27,600 of the $467,393 in posted awards.
"I don't know what else we can do differently to put ourselves in a better position to win," said Leffler. "The crew does an awesome job every week. The Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge is fast everywhere we go. We just haven't been able to break through the Winner's Circle. We'll just keep digging. We're headed for Nashville next week and our speedway package is fantastic. We keep heading down this road and we will get a win, Maybe next Saturday night will be our race."
The Federated Auto Parts 200 at Nashville Superspeedway will take the green flag Saturday, August 10 at 9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The event will be telecast live on ESPN and broadcast on MRN radio nationwide.