GLADEVILLE, TN- (August 9, 2003) -Jason Leffler faced a medley of maladies at the Nashville Superspeedway Friday night, from a cut tire to an untimely caution flag to his ultimate demise, a blown engine. The trio of complications ended what...
GLADEVILLE, TN- (August 9, 2003) -Jason Leffler faced a medley of maladies at the Nashville Superspeedway Friday night, from a cut tire to an untimely caution flag to his ultimate demise, a blown engine. The trio of complications ended what started out as a promising run for the Long Beach, CA driver, relegating him to a 24th place finish and leaving him further behind in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points battle. Rookie Carl Edwards claimed his second straight victory and his third win of the year.
"It was a disappointing evening," Leffler said. "We had high hopes for this race for a variety of reasons but it wasn't our night. Something let go in the motor and ended our night early. This is the second straight week that things haven't gone our way, but you can't just give up -- you have to keep digging as hard as you can. One thing I am sure of is that these guys won't give up. There is no quit in this Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge group. They will just work that much harder."
Leffler started the race in the fifth position after qualifying on the inside of the third row with a time of 30.74 (156.109 mph.) He quickly worked his way to the front of the pack taking the lead from pole-sitter Chad Chaffin on lap 17. When the caution flag fell on lap 27 for an accident in turn one, Leffler brought the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge to the attention of his Ultra Motorsports crew for a four-tire and fuel stop. He exited the pits in the third spot, first among the trucks that elected to pit.
"The truck was pretty good during that first green flag run," Leffler commented after the race. "We got just a tad loose at the end of that run, but crew chief Dennis Connor made an air pressure adjustment and the guys gave me a great stop and got me out in great position."
Leffler continued to run in the top five for the next 60 laps, climbing as high as second during the long green flag segment. On lap 84 disaster struck in the form of a cut tire. Leffler dived onto pit road for a green flag pit stop, taking four tires and gas and reentering the event one lap down. Needing just a few more laps of green flag racing to allow the pit sequence to cycle through for the leaders and reclaim his spot on the lead lap, Leffler was once again dealt a cruel blow of fate. NASCAR Craftsman points leader Travis Kvapil slapped the wall, bringing out a caution at the most inopportune time for the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge and preventing Leffler from getting his lap back.
"As I exited the pits I saw the 16 truck hit the wall in the middle of turns one and two, "Leffler observed. "He got it straightened up and then hit it again down in turn three. Racing luck is often about timing and our timing wasn't real fortunate tonight."
Leffler made a gallant effort to regain his lap under green but was unable to do so over the next 25 laps despite the fact that his truck was among the fastest on the track. On lap 120 he radioed his crew about a piece of debris entering turn three. As NASCAR debated the merits of throwing the yellow flag, Leffler once again radioed his crew. This time the bad news was terminal as his engine experienced internal complications, ending the evening for him and his crew.
Leffler remains in the eighth position in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points standings but falls 244 points back from new points leader Brendan Gaughan. The Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge driver has lost 96 points to the series leader over the past two events. The next opportunity to make up ground comes on Wednesday August 20th at Bristol Motor Speedway. The race will be broadcast live nationally at 8:30pm ET by the Speed Channel and MRN Radio.