Leffler, Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge sixth at Martinsville Leffler survives wild afternoon. MARTINSVILLE, VA (April 13, 2002) - Jason Leffler survived 14 caution flags and a No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge not quite to his liking to bring home a ...
Leffler, Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge sixth at Martinsville
Leffler survives wild afternoon.
MARTINSVILLE, VA (April 13, 2002) - Jason Leffler survived 14 caution flags and a No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge not quite to his liking to bring home a sixth-place finish in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Advance Auto Parts 250 at Martinsville Speedway.
"We struggled from about the middle of the race all the way until the end," said Leffler. "The Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge just kind of went away. We had problems getting the truck to turn in the center of the corner, but the 'Ultra Bad Boys' did a great job all weekend. I just tried to hang in there at the end and, fortunately, we were able to come away with a decent finish."
After qualifying his ASE/CARQUEST mount impressively on the outside of row one at a speed of 20.417 seconds (92.746 mph) Leffler picked up the lead from teammate Ted Musgrave after Musgrave collided with lapped truck 71 circuits into the 250 lap event. The Truck Series newcomer never faded from the Top-5 until his final pit stop of the afternoon during the ninth caution period of the day. On Lap 176, Leffler peeled off the flat half-mile and headed to the attention of the Tim Kohuth guided "Ultra Bad Boys" for fresh right-side rubber and a full load of fuel.
"We were originally trying to make it all the way on one stop," commented Leffler. "But shortly after the run started, I picked up a terrible vibration and I wasn't going forward, so we took a chance and came in for right-sides and tried to work our way back up through traffic. I never really got the truck to handle as well as it did in the beginning of the race, but I'm still pretty happy about the way things turned out."
Back under green, Leffler faded as far back as 10th before slicing his way back through traffic to score his first Top-10 finish of the season.
"It was pretty rough out there, especially at the end," commented Leffler. "At that point, you just have to go. After a long, frustrating day, it's hard not to get aggressive at the end trying to get the race over with and get as far up as you can. That's just racing at Martinsville. I'm just glad to have had a decent finish and bring the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge home in one piece."
The sixth-place effort earned Leffler $10,200 in prize money and propelled the Long Beach, CA driver from 17th to 11th in the NCTS championship standings.
"It was a good day," said Leffler. "We had a great truck yesterday in qualifying and Happy Hour where we felt we could run up front if we could just stay there. We were just off a little bit. I was just trying to stay out of trouble and be there at the end when it counted. Finishing sixth at Martinsville is alright. It was a good points day for us. We'll work hard in these next couple of weeks and go on to St. Louis where we can race a little harder and if you're faster, it's a little easier to get around some of these guys."
The Ram Tough 200 at Gateway International Raceway will take the green flag Sunday, May 5 at 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The fourth race of the 2002 NCTS tour will be telecast live on ESPN and broadcast on MRN Radio nationwide.