MOORESVILLE, NC- (June 14, 2004) Memphis is a town known best for its savory BBQ and soulful blues. But when NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitor Andy Houston visits this steamy southern city later this week, he'll be seeking racing redemption...
MOORESVILLE, NC- (June 14, 2004) Memphis is a town known best for its savory BBQ and soulful blues. But when NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitor Andy Houston visits this steamy southern city later this week, he'll be seeking racing redemption rather than culinary enjoyment or musical enlightenment .
"The last time I competed at Memphis was in 2000," Houston remembers. "We were running fourth in the No. 60 truck with a couple of laps to go and the No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge wrecked me on the last lap. We had what you might call an old fashioned altercation after the race. As a result maybe Memphis owes me one, and maybe the No. 2 truck owes me one. Now that I am driving the No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge I plan on capitalizing on that."
Houston is coming off two straight top-ten finishes in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition and as a result has seen a significant tightening in the series points scenario. Houston currently sits 15th in the NCTS standings but is only 62 points out of the 10th place position and only 91 points out of the 7th spot. Now the series heads to Memphis Motorsports Park, a short track full of character and challenges.
"It's not all that old but it is rough," Houston, a 33-year-old native of Hickory, NC claims. "It has a lot of bumps. It has a big bump going into turn one. That corner is pretty flat, so you have to stay right around the bottom of the race track. It's a big broad corner and you carry a lot of speed through there and you sweep around it and down the backstretch. Getting into three there is a huge bump where the crossover gate is located on the end of the backstretch and it really upsets the truck when you drive over it. Getting down into three it is a really tight corner with a lot of banking to hold you, but it's a real sharp corner so you have you use a lot of brakes going into three. In this corner again you are right on the bottom of the track and it seems like it tightens up considerably coming off of turn four. I have never felt like I have figured Memphis out 100% but we have been competitive there in the past."
While Houston may feel he doesn't have Memphis' tricky .75 mile layout exactly dialed in he can take solace in his supporting cast. Ultra Motorsports has had tremendous success there, and three-time NCTS champion crew chief Dennis Connor is dangerous on any circuit.
"Ultra Motorsports won the Memphis race last year with Ted Musgrave and I am sure we're going to utilize the notes and the data that was so effective for them last year," Houston said. "I am excited about going back there. We're taking the same truck that we used at Martinsville and Mansfield with a new snout on it and we think we will be good there. We're excited about the rest of the year. We think we have everybody headed in the right direction and pumped up. The crew is all on the same page and working positive."
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Memphis Motorsports Park is scheduled for Saturday June 19th. The event will be broadcast live nationally on the Speed Channel, MRN Radio and XM Satellite Radio at 3pm ET.