Kansas City: Dodge Motorsports front row press conference

JASON LEFFLER (No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge Ram) NOTE: Leffler earned his series-high fifth Bud Pole of the year today, and his second pole position at Kansas Speedway. Leffler earned the front qualifying spot at the track in last year's...


NOTE: Leffler earned his series-high fifth Bud Pole of the year today, and his second pole position at Kansas Speedway. Leffler earned the front qualifying spot at the track in last year's Winston Cup Series race. Leffler's time of 32.576 sec. (165.812 mph.) set a new track record by nearly three-quarters of a second.

"We've been running good. We're just not quite as fast as we thought. We made some changes at the end of practice, so I think maybe it went the wrong way. But, it was a good lap, and all the guys have been working hard. So, let's get ready to race."

"Last year my pole in the Winston Cup car was the highlight of my season, now I've got five of them in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. We're having a great year thanks to Ultra Motorsports, Team ASE, CARQUEST and Dodge. I'm having a lot of fun. We're still trying to get our first win and get in victory lane. We've had a successful season so far with three second-place finishes and being really close, so eventually the first victory is going to come.

"I took a lot of mental notes from last year, and they came right back to me on the first lap out on the track today. I've got a notebook that I write some stuff down in, as far as lines and where to back off and stuff. But, I've found that it really hasn't helped me as much as it did last year in the Cup car. Our Dodge Ram has handled so well, and we have such a great team that the tracks seem a lot easier to me this year.

"We did run a good setup last year, and this year we unloaded great too. We've unloaded fast everywhere. Our worst qualifying position is seventh, and before that is fifth. We've just got a great team. I knew we had a chance for the pole coming here, but having a chance and getting it done are different things.

"I didn't see any cloud cover when we qualified. I was hoping for some, but I didn't see any. We just had a great Dodge today. You can tell we're getting spoiled because the guys came on the radio and said my time, but we all kind of sounded disappointed even though we were on the pole. We were only on the pole by that much. We're used to getting on the pole by a couple of tenths. We're definitely getting spoiled by this. We've got a great team, and I owe it all to them.

"I'm having a great time here in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. It's a great series to be involved with. It's good hard racing, and I think it's some of the best racing in all NASCAR. When you've got a lot of great sponsors involved, and a lot of great people to work with, it's a lot of fun."

"I've made a couple of mistakes this year, trying to push too hard for a victory when I probably should have just let it come to me - that's my new approach. We did that last weekend and we almost pulled off the win. We've got a points race to worry about too, so we've got to make sure we finish every race.

"You think a short track is more of a drivers track, where you've got to get in and out of the gas. Kansas is a neat place, and there are some little tricks you can pick up on to get a little more speed. It's obviously a nice facility - it's really smooth.

"I guess I'm just more relieved and having a lot more fun this year as opposed to last year. Last year we learned a lot, but didn't have a whole lot of success. This year we're having a good time, and every race we go to I really look forward to. I know we're going to be a contender for the pole and a contender for the win. When you're running well every week the stress level goes down. I've gotten a lot of support from everyone this year. I've been very fortunate through my career to have a lot of support from the people I've driven for. But I've never had as much support as I've had this year, so it's great."

TED MUSGRAVE (No. 1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge Ram)

NOTE: Musgrave will start next to his Ultra Motorsports teammate Jason Leffler on the outside pole for Saturday's O'Reilly Auto Parts 250. Musgrave has started in the front row in seven out of 10 races this year.

"Well, our new paint scheme is for the hot temperatures in a long duration run, trying to keep the carburetor a little bit cooler. The Mopar Dodge was pretty good - good enough to be in the top-five, but that's about all. We've got it tight right now. These guys they come out here and run in these Infinity cars and they put down a different rubber. I think the first 10 cars or so will have a little bit of trouble, slipping and sliding a little bit. It's just the luck of the draw, but we'll take it.

"Today was a lot different than it was last year. Last year I think we were at 103 or 104 degrees - very unbearable. The racetrack is still the same. It's very, very smooth and it's a nice consistent racetrack. It's one good thing when you come back year after year and the racetrack doesn't hang too much. I think it has a lot to do with the construction underneath the racetrack. They did an excellent job here in Kansas City because we've been to racetracks where you go there one year and you come back the next year and it's totally different, out of control. My hat's off to the guys who've really built this racetrack here, they did a nice job here in Kansas City, first class.

"The Mopar Dodge is running really good. We ran well in practice, but our teammate is just faster. He's been faster all year long. We're really looking forward to tomorrow. Consistency is going to be the thing here - the truck that can consistently run fast laps. That's more or less what we've been working on. We've been trying to get the truck where it's fast lap after lap, not just after the first lap."

On sharing information with Ultra Motorsports teammate Jason Leffler"

"He didn't share anything with me today. We do a little bit of that right now. His Dodge is a little bit different than mine except a few odds and ends. We share a lot of information. Bill Lester and I, when we were at Chicagoland Speedway I took him around the racetrack and explained a few things and we worked together a little bit. He asked me about Kansas City and what it's like. I said, 'Well it's a little bit of Las Vegas,' and I explained a few things. We do the same thing; the teammates always try to do that. It doesn't matter if it's the crew chief, the team or the group of guys that you're with. As long as they keep on sharing information it's going to make both of them stronger."

"It's going to be a little bit different this year, but you have to go out there and do it. This is a new body style. The 2002 Dodge Ram package is different than last year. So, we're not really sure what the aerodynamic package is going to be here at Kansas City. We definitely have to work in the draft, work around different trucks and see what's going to happen. We don't spend a lot of time worrying about the conditions being a little bit different. But I know we're going to run the full hour of practice. The Goodyear tires that we've got can last forever, so we're going to use the ones that we started out with this morning, and put those on through happy hour. We won't lose anything by running the whole session. We're just trying to gain more information that's all."

"Actually, I caught a little bit of cloud cover when I went out and it hurt me. I pushed off of turn four and had to get out of the gas a little bit. It hurt me, actually. I was set up for a hot, slick racetrack. So it's just a matter of getting the right combination of air pressure with what your truck is doing if you want the cloud to come out or not. Most likely you do want a cloud because the speed can pick up a little bit, but it actually hurt me a little bit.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Jason Leffler , Bill Lester