Houston Rallies For 15th Place Finish at Mansfield Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge Suffers Suspension Woes MANSFIELD, OH- (May 16, 2004) -Andy Houston and his Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge crew overcame a mysterious suspension problem and rallied from...
Houston Rallies For 15th Place Finish at Mansfield
Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge Suffers Suspension Woes
MANSFIELD, OH- (May 16, 2004) -Andy Houston and his Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge crew overcame a mysterious suspension problem and rallied from two laps down to claim a 15th place finish in the UAW-GM-Ohio 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway on Sunday. The 33 year-old Hickory, NC native was making his 100th career NCTS start, and while he has seen a lot of bizarre circumstances over that span of races, most if not all of it pales in comparison to Sunday afternoon.
"In all my days of short track racing I have never seen anything like that," Houston claimed. "The Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge was really competitive for the first part of the race and then it was like somebody flipped a switch or something. At first I thought I had a flat. Something really strange happened. The truck just wouldn't turn in the corner at all. It would lay over on the right front and just stay there. It had a really weird feel like something was broken or twisted."
Inclement weather forced the 36-truck field to start the race by 2003 NASCAR Craftsman owner's points placing Houston eighth on the grid. He started the day in promising fashion. On the first lap Houston maneuvered into the sixth spot, claiming two positions. He rode comfortably in sixth through the first few caution periods and then on lap 58 his fortunes fell in dramatic fashion. Houston came over the radio and reported problems with his Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge. He dropped from 6th to 28th in one lap. During a series of pit stops at the next caution his Ultra Motorsports crew, led by crew chief Dennis Connor, examined potential problems with Houston's Dodge. Houston returned to the fray in the 29th position but was still forced to make repeated stops for repair whenever caution periods would allow it. On lap 111 the team changed the right front shock, losing two laps in the process. Houston's crew added a spring rubber to the right front on lap 150 and made extensive air pressure and chassis adjustments over the course of several stops. Houston made one lap back just past lap 200 and made his second lap back when a massive melee occurred on the backstretch involving Bill Lester, Chase Montgomery, Steve Park and several others. After a short red flag interruption, Houston restarted in the 20th spot. He fought hard to regain five positions over the last 15 green flag laps, claiming two of those spots during the last two laps of competition.
"I am proud of these guys," Houston said after the race. "Dennis Connor and all these guys never quit all day long, they never gave up and that says a lot. This was a classic example of refusing to give in. It was a tough day but there was no quit in any of them. We are not happy with a 15th place finish but at least we didn't roll over."
Jack Sprague claimed victory in the UAW-GM-Ohio 250, his 24th career win. The race was slowed by 94 caution laps, a series record. Houston climbed two spots in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series standings to the 17th position, only 203 points back from new points leader Dennis Setzer. The next stop for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is the Infineon 200 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC on Friday May 21st at 8:30pm ET. The event will be broadcast live nationally on the Speed Channel, MRN Radio and XM Satellite