Spencer makes most of Martinsville; Team ASE/Carquest Dodge driver posts solid sixth place finish. MARTINSVILLE, VA (October 18, 2003) -Jimmy Spencer made the most of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series opportunity Saturday afternoon. The Berwick,...
Spencer makes most of Martinsville; Team ASE/Carquest Dodge driver posts solid sixth place finish.
MARTINSVILLE, VA (October 18, 2003) -Jimmy Spencer made the most of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series opportunity Saturday afternoon. The Berwick, PA native charged from the near the back of the pack on two separate occasions to post a solid sixth place finish in the Advance Auto Parts 200 at Martinsville Speedway.
"It was a lot of fun out there today," said Spencer following the event. "We adjusted the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge and made it a lot better. I just had the truck too tight. I felt like we had an awesome truck at New Hampshire where it was real free and neutral all day. Yesterday we kept freeing the truck up to get it as comfortable as it was when we won at New Hampshire and we probably should have freed it up a little bit more. Crew Chief Dennis Connor did a great job when we came into the pits, making the truck better, and that allowed us to get a decent finish today."
Spencer started in the 15th position and picked off several spots early in the event. When the caution flag fell on lap 55 for an accident involving Brian Sockwell and Matt Carter, the Ultra Motorsports team elected to bring Spencer down pit road for four tires, fuel and a combination of chassis adjustments designed to help free up Spencer's Dodge Ram.
"I made a mistake getting into the pits on the first pit stop and we lost a lot of track position," Spencer said. "We got back there around 20th position and to race all the way back to sixth was pretty good. Track position was critical and that is what got us today. We had a truck capable of winning the race but we had a tough time passing other trucks and you just can't push them out of the way so we ended up sixth. It is almost impossible to get by other trucks here. Lap traffic is tough but you get by them eventually. When you are racing someone and they have a top ten or top five truck, they aren't going to move out of the way and I don't blame them one bit."
Spencer climbed into the top ten shortly past the halfway mark of the event. Matt Crafton brought out the second caution of the day when he crashed in Turn Two. Once again Spencer brought his Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge in for service and his team gave him four tires and fuel and took a half of a pound of air out of the left side tires. Quick work by the Ultra crew allowed him to gain a position on pit road and he restarted the race in the ninth spot. The changes made by his crew brought his truck to life, making Spencer one of the fastest competitors at that stage of the event. He climbed up to the sixth position and was challenging Bobby Hamilton for fifth over the last 50 laps of the race.
"I had a great race going there with Bobby Hamilton," Spencer said. "I think I had a lot better truck than he did but that doesn't matter. He was in front of us and I couldn't get by him. He drove his line and I drove mine. He gave me the bottom but my truck was just too tight and I would go in and it would just break loose on me when I put the power to it. The sun really changed the track - with this concrete here at Martinsville the sun does weird things. Yesterday during happy hour we were real free when it was cooler. Today the track was much tighter."
Crew Chief Dennis Connor appreciates the job Spencer has done in his three races with the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge. He was in the hunt at Richmond, he won at New Hampshire and he raced his way from the back of the pack at Martinsville.
"Jimmy did a great job here today," Connor said. "We had a bad starting position here at Martinsville. When you start in the back, it is hard with these short races to work your way to the front and he did a great job of doing that. We had a deal in the pits where we overshot the pit box and that cost us seven or eight spots that we had to gain back again. To come back and finish sixth after basically starting in the back twice on a short track like this was quite an accomplishment. All the guys on this team appreciate what Jimmy has done. He brought his talents and abilities in here to try and keep this team as good as it was, if not better. He ran really, really good in all three races that he ran for us. He gave us some good feedback. If he ever decides to quit that big time NASCAR Winston Cup racing he could get real good in one of these NASCAR Craftsman trucks."
Virginia native Jon Wood captured the checkered flag beating teammate Carl Edwards in a hard fought duel. NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points leader Brendan Gaughan preserved his lead with an 11th place finish and now leads Travis Kvapil by 45 points and Ultra Motorsprts driver Ted Musgrave by 69 markers. The next event on the circuit is October 31st at Phoenix International Raceway. The event will be broadcast live nationally on the Speed Channel and MRN Radio at 5:30 p.m. ET.