MOORESVILLE, NC (June 30, 2003) - Kansas Speedway has been kind to Jason Leffler over the past couple of years. When the speedway first swung open its doors to the NASCAR Winston Cup competitors in 2001, it was Leffler who captured the ...
MOORESVILLE, NC (June 30, 2003) - Kansas Speedway has been kind to Jason Leffler over the past couple of years. When the speedway first swung open its doors to the NASCAR Winston Cup competitors in 2001, it was Leffler who captured the inaugural pole. When Leffler made his initial NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series visit to the 1.5-mile tri-oval last year he won the pole and almost won the race. Leffler and Rick Crawford were running in the first and second positions and engaged in an epic battle in the closing laps when Crawford's engine let loose, covering Leffler's Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge in Crawford's oil. That created two problems for Leffler -- first he couldn't see the track and second his tires were coated with oil. Leffler was fortunate to lose only two spots and finish fourth.
"We were extremely lucky," Leffler said. "I could not see anything but oil, and the truck got really loose and I almost crashed. My spotter helped me get around the racetrack and we were able to salvage a good finish. It was an exciting way to end a race."
Leffler and his Ultra Motorsports team are hoping to build some momentum for the midseason stretch run that encompasses the dog days of summer and creates opportunities for teams looking to capitalize when other teams struggle. Crew chief Dennis Connor, who has won three NCTS championships in his storied career, knows that a team must keep its focus in order to move upward in the points standings.
"This is the time of year when you must stay totally focused and keep control of all the things that are within your power to control," Connor said. "You can't control parts failures in the motor and you can't control being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but you can control the other things surrounding this team. I feel really good about going to Kansas because I feel that I understand these Dodge trucks 100 percent better than I did when I came on board a few weeks ago. I have a better feel for the aerodynamics and the chassis than I did previously. I came over here to help Ultra win a championship and that is what I plan to do. I know we started in a big hole, more than 270 points down, but we can put ourselves in position to take advantage of other teams' bad luck."
Leffler likes the Kansas layout, and the wide sweeping turns allow plenty of room to race. Its spacious grandstands and the eager fans that fill them are a welcome sight to the 27 year-old Long Beach, CA. native as well.
"We always get a good crowd at Kansas," Leffler said. "There are a lot of good race fans in the Midwest and they support the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series as well as the Cup Series. The track is really smooth with no noticeable bumps. If you can be smooth as the driver and keep it glued to the bottom and keep your momentum up, you can get around it with little or no trouble."
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitors invade the Kansas Speedway this weekend. Practice and qualifying sessions are slated for Friday July 4th and the NCTS Race is set for Saturday July 5th. The event will be broadcast nationally at 1:00pm ET Saturday afternoon by the Speed Channel and MRN Radio.