Leffler, Team ASE/Carquest Dodge fight to ninth-place finish at South Boston. SOUTH BOSTON, VA (September 23, 2002) - Jason Leffler and his No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge survived 10 caution flags to score a hard-fought, ninth-place finish in ...
Leffler, Team ASE/Carquest Dodge fight to ninth-place finish at South Boston.
SOUTH BOSTON, VA (September 23, 2002) - Jason Leffler and his No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge survived 10 caution flags to score a hard-fought, ninth-place finish in Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Hardees 250 at South Boston Speedway.
"We struggled toward end of the race, but we still managed to pull off another Top-10," said Leffler. "The ASE/CARQUEST Dodge wasn't handling quite as well as we needed it to so we could finish closer to the front, but we made some progress in the point standings. I'd been pretty sick all week, so that was another battle we had to fight. I saw some guys just about keel over after the race, so all things considered, it was a pretty solid afternoon." In qualifying, Leffler toured the four-tenths mile South Boston oval in 15.871 seconds (91.041 miles per hour), posting the seventh fastest time in the 36-truck field.
"We had a pretty good lap in qualifying," said Leffler. "The ASE/CARQUEST Dodge was fairly tight during the morning practice and we gained on it quite a bit. Tim Kohuth and the boys made some adjustments that helped a lot during qualifying. Seventh is a good starting spot, especially at South Boston. You have to stay near the front and keep your nose clean."
At the drop of the green flag, Leffler kept his No. 2 mount glued to the bottom of the tricky southern Virginia oval, working his way into sixth by the fifth lap. Following the third caution period of the afternoon, the Long Beach, CA driver peeled off the racing surface to the attention of the "Ultra Bad Boys" for four fresh tires, a full load of fuel along with a chassis adjustment.
Back under green in the 18th position, Leffler made a quick charge toward the front of the field. By lap 93, the three-time USAC National Midget Champion had made his way to third and took over the second spot on Lap 147.
For the next 36 circuits Leffler, enjoyed a spirited battle with leader David Starr, but began to lose the handle on his Ultra Motorsports entry just shy of the 50 to go mark. The 27-year-old driver began to fade late in the race, but held on for ninth, his 12th Top-10 of the season.
The effort earned Leffler $8,825 in prize money and boosted him for seventh to sixth in the NCTS championship chase heading into the next event in Las Vegas.
"We were looking for a little more than ninth, but we'll take it," commented Leffler. "Our truck was pretty good all day and our pit strategy looked like it was going to play out perfectly. We were running second about three-quarters of the way through the race, but it started to go away with about 50 to go. That's ok. We're only 19 points out of fifth and 84 out of third. It would be a stretch for us to win this championship now, but we can certainly put ourselves in position to be in the Top-3 before the year is over. We go to Las Vegas in a few weeks and we've got a great truck ready. I'm really looking forward to the last four races."
The Orleans 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will take the green flag Sunday, October 13 at 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The 19th race of the 2002 NCTS tour will be telecast live on ESPN and broadcast live on MRN Radio nationwide.