Phoenix: Andy Houston preview

MOORESVILLE, NC- (October 23, 2003) - After a one-race hiatus Andy Houston resumes his role as the driver of the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge for next Friday's Silverado 150 at Phoenix International Raceway. Houston is replacing full-time Winston Cup...

MOORESVILLE, NC- (October 23, 2003) - After a one-race hiatus Andy Houston resumes his role as the driver of the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge for next Friday's Silverado 150 at Phoenix International Raceway. Houston is replacing full-time Winston Cup driver Jimmy Spencer, who drove the truck to a sixth place finish at Martinsville, and will occupy the seat for the remainder of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season. Houston is returning to a track that has been kind to him in the past. He collected his first NCTS top-five finish there in 1998.

"Phoenix has been a great track for me," Houston said. "My rookie year it was my third race of the season and we went out there and sat on the outside pole and ran fourth. Since that race it seems like every time I go out there I run really well. I always like to look for a top-five finish anytime we go to Phoenix. I have never won there but hopefully next weekend will be the time for that to happen."

Houston has posted four consecutive top-ten finishes in the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge. He rolled off three straight sixth place outings at California, Las Vegas and South Boston before capturing the pole and a fifth place finish at Texas. Houston now prepares for the challenge of a newly reconfigured Phoenix track. He says that past success at a particular track creates confidence for a driver, not necessarily the style of track.

"It is not one certain type of track where I feel comfortable," Houston said. "It is a combination of tracks. I have had some pretty good success on superspeedways and I have had some success on flat tracks. Every driver just has certain tracks that they like and Phoenix seems to be one of those tracks for me. It is flat and it gets slick as the race goes on. The groove moves up the racetrack, especially in turns three and four. I think a driver that can adapt to the changing conditions during the course of the race has an advantage. I don't think the changes to the track will affect us too much. Once you have been to a track like Phoenix you kind of know where you need to be."

Unlike his Ultra Motorsports teammate Ted Musgrave, Houston is not racing for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship. Having recently inherited his ride, Houston can lay it all on the line without regard to driver's points.

"I think in all honesty it puts us at an advantage," Houston claims. "Those guys have to worry about every position and have to go into a little bit of a conservative mode. We are just out there to win the race and that is our whole goal every time we show up at the racetrack. Not that it isn't your goal when your running for the championship, but it is just a different outlook and I really think that is to our advantage. I think you can go out and be on your game and perhaps beat guys when they are being a little bit conservative and they know you have nothing to lose. It is a fun situation to be in. Obviously you would love to be racing for the championship but that is not our situation right now. We are going through a transition and we have the luxury of racing as hard as we can for the win."

The Silverado 150 is set for October 31st at Phoenix International Raceway. The event will be broadcast live nationally on the Speed Channel and MRN Radio at 5:30 p.m. ET.

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Jimmy Spencer , Andy Houston , Ted Musgrave