Survival key for Leffler, Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge at South Boston. SOUTH BOSTON, VA (September 16, 2002) - Survival will be the order of the day for Jason Leffler and his No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge when the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series...
Survival key for Leffler, Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge at South Boston.
SOUTH BOSTON, VA (September 16, 2002) - Survival will be the order of the day for Jason Leffler and his No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge when the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series returns to South Boston Speedway for the Hardee's 250 this Saturday.
As the shortest track on the 2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule, South Boston measures a mere .40-miles in length. While Leffler knows anything can happen on the slightly banked southern Virginia oval, the three-time USAC National Midget Champion has a wealth of experience on racetracks similar in layout.
"The biggest part of our game plan at South Boston is to be smart with our equipment and just survive," explained Leffler. "The racetrack is so small and so tight that anything can happen. I've spent the majority of my open-wheel career racing on tracks similar to South Boston, so from that perspective it shouldn't too big of a stretch from what I'm used to. What's going to be different is racing a big, heavy truck around a track that's so small. It's the kind of race where no one can make any predictions. You can be leading with 10 laps to go and all hell could break loose in front of you and ruin your day."
With only five races remaining on the 2002 NCTS calendar, Leffler sits seventh in the standings, 154 points out of the lead. As the season draws to a rapid close, Leffler's crew chief, Tim Kohuth, knows a conservative approach to the remaining events won't be the way to make up for lost ground.
"We'll be in survival mode at South Boston, but we're also going to get a little more aggressive based on the points situation," commented the veteran pit boss. "I think we'll be a little more hard-hitting with everything we do. We'll be more aggressive with our set-ups and I think we'll probably let go of the reigns on Jason a little bit too. Before, maybe there would have been some holes that we wouldn't have tried to stick the nose in that we might now. We're still points racing, but we're either going to have to get really aggressive or all the luck is going to have to shift back our way and I'm not counting on that."
Last year, Team ASE driver Scott Riggs started eighth and hung on for third after late race contact with another truck upset the handling on the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge. This season, Leffler has yet to start any worse than eighth, something Kohuth is well aware of heading into this weeks NCTS South Boston classic.
"It's important for us to qualify well and stay up near the front," said Kohuth. "Track position will probably be the single biggest factor in whether or not we're successful this weekend. It's going to be just like what we saw earlier in the year at Martinsville where there were some guys that don't normally run up near the front that finished there because they had good track position at the end. Whatever you do at Martinsville, you're doing this week. It's a good, old fashion Saturday afternoon short track race and we're depending a lot on our driver. I don't think anyone will be saying their truck is handling perfectly, so this weekend the driver will take on a greater role."
The Hardees 250 at South Boston Speedway will take the green flag Saturday, September 21 at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The 18th race of the 2002 NCTS tour will be telecast live on espn2 and broadcast live on MRN Radio nationwide.
ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) also has a long involvement in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. As the primary sponsor on the No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST entry, the non-profit organization has been able to highlight its efforts to provide the highest quality professional technician certification and assessment services at all levels of vehicle maintenance and repair. In addition to ASE's racing involvement, the organization is active in numerous civic, charitable, educational and humanitarian activities.