Nashville: Jason Leffler race notes

Leffler, Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge suffer 28th-place finish at Nashville. LEBANON, TN (August 10, 2002) - What looked to be a promising run turned sour when a flat-right front tire sent Jason Leffler's Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge hard into the Turn 2...

Leffler, Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge suffer 28th-place finish at Nashville.

LEBANON, TN (August 10, 2002) - What looked to be a promising run turned sour when a flat-right front tire sent Jason Leffler's Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge hard into the Turn 2 wall in the Federated Auto Parts 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Nashville Superspeedway Saturday night.

"We had a good truck, there's no doubt about it," commented a dejected Leffler following the Lap 133 incident that left him with a 28th-place finish. "The Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge started to get real loose in Turns 3 and 4 and the tire gave up on the front straightaway. That sent us hard in the fence. It was a pretty big hit, because my belts were tight before I hit and I think you could have put a basketball in between me and the harnesses afterwards."

Leffler posted the sixth-quickest time of the 38-trucks attempting to make the field in qualifying touring the 1.333-mile Lebanon, TN oval in 30.977 seconds (154.915 mph). An engine problem in the final practice, however, necessitated a powerplant change and pushed Leffler's Ultra Motorsports mount to the rear of the starting grid in accordance with NASCAR rules.

"I over-revved the motor in practice and we couldn't take a chance on having an engine failure, so we swapped motors before the race and had to drop to the tail of the field," said Leffler. "We had a really good run at Milwaukee earlier this year after we switched motors, so we weren't to worried about coming from the back of the pack."

Leffler made a spirited charge towards the front of the field early in the event as the Long Beach, CA driver carefully diced his way through traffic breaking into the Top-10 by Lap 50. With just one caution flag flying in the first 133 circuits, pit strategy began to play a part as Leffler headed for pit road for his final stop of the night under green flag conditions for fuel only at Lap 125. Just a handful of laps later, Leffler's promising night ended in a heap of twisted metal courtesy of a flat tire and the Turn 1 retaining wall. The 28th-place finish earned Leffler $5,590 and dropped him to sixth in the NCTS championship chase, 130 points behind leader Mike Bliss.

"The truck was handling great," said Leffler. "We were going for track position on our last stop and it would have worked if it hadn't been for that cut tire. After pit stops cycled through, we were fourth and in good position to race with the leaders if we would have gotten a caution. Unfortunately, we were the caution.

"It's a shame because we wanted a good finish tonight for our good friend from ASE, Dick Cossette, who passed away Thursday morning," Leffler continued. "Dick was a big supporter of this program and we're going to miss him a lot. Maybe we can get our first win of the season for Dick in a few weeks at Richmond."

The Virginia is for Lovers 200 at Richmond International Raceway will take the green flag Thursday, September 5 at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The 16th race on the 2002 NCTS tour will be telecast on a delayed basis at 10 p.m. Eastern on ESPN and broadcast live on MRN radio nationwide.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Jason Leffler , Mike Bliss