MOORESVILLE, NC- (July 21, 2003) - Michigan is known for many things -- the magical music of Motown, Kellogg's cereal and the American automotive giants - Chrysler, Ford and Chevrolet. It is also known for some pretty good racing, and once again...
MOORESVILLE, NC- (July 21, 2003) - Michigan is known for many things -- the magical music of Motown, Kellogg's cereal and the American automotive giants - Chrysler, Ford and Chevrolet. It is also known for some pretty good racing, and once again this weekend the great state of Michigan will play host to the ultra-competitive NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Jason Leffler, driver of the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge is looking forward to the annual trip to the Irish Hills and to the running of the Sears 200 at Michigan International Speedway. Leffler is coming off his fifth straight top-ten finish and his second straight top-five finish as he attempts to keep moving up the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series standings.
"Michigan is a great place to race," Leffler said. "There is just so much racing room that you can find a way around someone if your truck is working good, and the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge has been working pretty good lately. We know we are still in the thick of things points wise so we are really looking forward to this race. Each race has an added importance right now because we are in a crucial stretch run. If you are going to make up ground, then you need to start now."
Leffler likes Michigan's two-mile tri-oval layout and he loves the extra wide racing room that the track affords. It is this additional space that allows competitors a chance to really mix it up with three and sometimes four-wide formations.
"You can make a move almost anywhere on the track," Leffler commented. "Unlike some racetracks, there is not just one place where you can attempt a pass. At Michigan you can pass almost anywhere. That's what causes the good side by side action between trucks. The closing speeds at Michigan are really fast and sometimes you are forced to find a way around someone in a hurry."
Leffler is also fond of Michigan's built in flexibility when it comes to chassis setups. If your truck doesn't work with the line you are running, then simply try another groove.
"You can really compensate for an ill handling chassis at Michigan better than some other places," Leffler said. "Because the track is so wide, you can search for a groove that works for you. You can experiment with different lines and sometimes you find one that clicks with what is underneath your truck. You have to have a good combination of horsepower and aerodynamics to be successful there. Right now our Dodge Motors are really good, and crew chief Dennis Connor is learning more and more about these Dodges, so that creates some optimism for our Ultra Motorsports team."
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams and drivers are set to compete in the Sears 200 at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday July 26th. The event will be broadcast live by the Speed Channel and MRN Radio at 1:00pm ET.