Leffler, Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge red hot heading into Kansas. KANSAS CITY, KS (July 1, 2002) - With a NASCAR Winston Cup Bud Pole to his credit in his only start at Kansas Speedway, Jason Leffler comes into the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series ...
Leffler, Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge red hot heading into Kansas.
KANSAS CITY, KS (July 1, 2002) - With a NASCAR Winston Cup Bud Pole to his credit in his only start at Kansas Speedway, Jason Leffler comes into the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 armed with the savvy and know-how to find the quick way around the 1.5-mile oval Kansas City oval.
"I had a great run in qualifying in the Winston Cup car last year and this year I want to do the same thing in the ASE/CARQUEST Dodge, but I plan to be there at the end this time and race for the win. The track is fast and really smooth. Kansas is pretty simple to get around. There are no major bumps or anything like that because the track is so new. You just stay as low as you can and try not to bind the truck up exiting the corner."
Although Leffler will call on his past experience to find the fast way around the track, the weather at the Kansas City circuit can get just as hot as the action on the track.
"It's going to be hot in Kansas, that almost goes without saying," explained Leffler. "Last year, it was over 100 degrees and that type of weather presents its own set of physical challenges. I try to stay in good shape all year round. I don't think I'll do anything to dramatic to get ready, probably just load up on water and Gatorade before the race. The Winston Cup race last year was a lot longer than the truck race will be and I was just fine, so I don't foresee any problems."
In last season's Truck Series event at Kansas, Ultra Motorsports drivers Ted Musgrave and Scott Riggs each came away with Top-10 finishes. While Musgrave started seventh and overcame a mid-race mechanical problem to finish second, Riggs qualified eighth and brought the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge home seventh.
While Leffler knows the fast way around the suburban Kansas City oval, the 26-year-old driver is also aware that a solid engine and aerodynamic combination is the key to a winning afternoon at the 1.5-mile track.
"You need a lot of motor, but you have to have good downforce too," said Leffler. "Everything is going to be critical because Kansas is so fast. I don't know what the winter has done to the track. I think the trucks will probably slow down a little, so that should make for better, side-by-side racing."
Last week at Milwaukee, Leffler posted the seventh quickest time in qualifying and came home second, his fourth Top-5 of the season.
"We had another solid run at Milwaukee," commented Leffler after being forced to drop to the rear of the field in accordance with NASCAR rules following a post-qualifying motor swap. "Before the race started we dropped back to 29th because we changed motors and fought our way all the way back to the front. We led a bunch of laps and even though we didn't win, it was a great day. The guys gave me great pit stops and the ASE/CARQUEST Dodge was absolutely on a rail all day. I think we're on an upswing and once we start winning the 'Ultra Bad Boys' are going to be tough to beat. We're knocking on the door. Hopefully we'll kick it open at Kansas."
The O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas Speedway will take the green flag Saturday, July 6 at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The 10th race of the 2002 NCTS tour will be telecast live on ESPN and broadcast on MRN radio nationwide.
ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) also has a long involvement in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. As the primary sponsor on the No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST entry, the non-profit organization has been able to highlight its efforts to provide the highest quality professional technician certification and assessment services at all levels of vehicle maintenance and repair. In addition to ASE's racing involvement, the organization is active in numerous civic, charitable, educational and humanitarian activities.