Phoenix: Andy Houston race notes

PHOENIX, AZ- (October 31, 2003) -Andy Houston fought through a series of spooky problems on Halloween to post a hard fought tenth place finish in the Chevy Silverado 150 at Phoenix International Raceway. The week started off like it was going to...

PHOENIX, AZ- (October 31, 2003) -Andy Houston fought through a series of spooky problems on Halloween to post a hard fought tenth place finish in the Chevy Silverado 150 at Phoenix International Raceway. The week started off like it was going to be quite a treat as Houston qualified his Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge in the third position, scorching Phoenix's one-mile oval in 29.924 seconds (128.921 mph).

"That was a great qualifying run," Houston said. "We were really fast when we unloaded the truck and really good in qualifying trim. The happy hour practice really hurts us. We lost a motor in that last practice and didn't get to make the last set of changes. We were headed in the right direction with the truck and that definitely did not help to lose the last part of practice."

Houston's team made an engine change prior to the start of the event due to the problem that occurred during practice. As a result, the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge started from the rear of the field. Houston made a mad charge through the field when the green flag fell, gaining 12 positions in the first three laps. His Ultra Motorsports team did their job garnering him four spots during the first pit stop on lap 36 with a 15.9 second effort. When Houston came in again on lap 72, his crew moved him from 12th to 10th with another stellar effort.

"It wasn't easy fighting from the back of the back," Houston stated. "We had a lot of problems. Our radios went out early. I could hear them but they couldn't hear me. It really hurt us especially on that second stop because I couldn't give any feedback to my crew chief Dennis Connor. He really did a good job guessing. I was patting the roof to tell him the truck was tight and he made some adjustment that really helped it, but it was too little too late and really at the end we were just hanging on and I couldn't get it to turn in the center of the corner. That really shows you how important communication is in this sport. When I can't tell them what the truck needs then they are basically guessing. These guys did a great job and I am really proud of how they hung in there today."

Houston is looking forward to the next stop on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series circuit. The season finale is scheduled for Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, FL on Friday November 14th at 3:00 pm ET. The event will be broadcast live on the Speed Channel and MRN Radio.

"Having won at Homestead in the past it gives you a lot of confidence," Houston said. "Although they have reconfigured the track you still have a good feeling about going down there. You like everything about it because you have had success there. From every indication I have had the banking is somewhat similar to Chicago or Kansas. Those type racetracks in the past have been pretty good for me so I am really excited about Homestead. I think we will be really strong."

NASCAR Winston Cup regular Kevin Harvick captured the checkered flag in the Chevy Silverado 150. He beat Houston's Ultra Motorsports teammate Ted Musgrave to the line by 0.212 seconds. Musgrave now trails Brendan Gaughan by only 26 points in the chase for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series crown.

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Andy Houston