Houston Gears Up For Mansfield Madness Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge Driver Hopes To Win Inaugural Ohio Short Track Event MOORESVILLE, NC- (May 10, 2004) -As the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series makes its second straight visit to a short half-mile oval,...
Houston Gears Up For Mansfield Madness
Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge Driver Hopes To Win Inaugural Ohio Short Track Event
MOORESVILLE, NC- (May 10, 2004) -As the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series makes its second straight visit to a short half-mile oval, Mansfield Motorsports Speedway in Mansfield OH, Andy Houston readies himself for the rigors of close quarters, side by side action that short tracks provide. Houston, the driver of the No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge, learned his trade on the short tracks across the South, and he clearly understands the pitfalls as well as the benefits.
"At times you enjoy it and at times you hate it," Houston said. "It can get you in trouble from time to time. If you get in certain situations where you get the fenders beat in or cut a tire down or something like that it can hurt you. There are a lot of variables on short tracks that don't come into play with intermediate or superspeedway tracks. If you beat and bang too much, it can easily adversely affect the performance of the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge. We are going to keep it as straight as we can for as long as we can."
The upcoming race marks the first visit for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to the new venue. Houston, like all the other NCTS competitors, has limited knowledge and zero truck series experience on the Ohio layout.
"I am kind of going into it with the frame of mind of it being kind of like South Boston." Houston claimed. "It might be a little bit bigger. The banking seems really similar with a progressive banking to the turns. I think it is going to be real close to South Boston. We have a NASCAR open test day set up for the end of next week ,and that is going to help us determine what we need for a plan of attack. We will have a chance to baseline our set up on that day and that will certainly help. All race tracks are unique and a little bit different, but I think that if your short track program is good and you handle good at a place like South Boston then you should be pretty close on your setup."
Houston knows that his short track pedigree is not unique in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series garage. Many of the drivers on the circuit cut their teeth on short tracks across the United States. That leads to tight fields bunched close together and plenty of action.
"Most everyone in the race will have a significant amount of short track racing under their belts and that makes it extremely competitive," Houston said. "All these trucks run real close to the same speed. It will be like Martinsville where everyone runs real close to the same lap times. We have a good short track program. I have always run real well on the short tracks and we have been pretty competitive on those type tracks. I look forward to running at new race tracks, especially a place like Mansfield where the grandstands have been sold out for a long time. It is going to be a very excited crowd that is looking forward to having the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series come to their area. Anytime you go to a track and the grandstands are packed and the fans are excited, it makes for a great weekend. Our sponsors, Team ASE and CARQUEST, are excited about the race, and they have a large group of guests that will be there. I would love nothing more than to win the inaugural event there at Mansfield and try to put on a great show for the fans."
The UAW-GM Ohio 250 at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway is set to take the green flag on Sunday May 16th at 2 pm ET. The race will be broadcast live nationally on the Speed Channel, MRN Radio and XM Satellite Radio. For more information on The Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge and driver Andy Houston visit www.TeamASE-CARQUEST.com.