Leffler's last lap bid falls 0.2 seconds short at Gateway Team Ase/Carquest Dodge continues hot streak with 2nd place finish MADISON, IL- (July 19, 2003) - Jason Leffler made a desperate last lap bid to pass leader Brendan Gaughan but came up...
Leffler's last lap bid falls 0.2 seconds short at Gateway
Team Ase/Carquest Dodge continues hot streak with 2nd place finish
MADISON, IL- (July 19, 2003) - Jason Leffler made a desperate last lap bid to pass leader Brendan Gaughan but came up just a meager 0.22 seconds shy in the Ram Tough 200 at Gateway International Raceway on Saturday night. The two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitors waged a spirited battle over the final 70 laps, but in the end Leffler could not will his Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge past Gaughan's machine.
"On the last lap I think Brendan got a little conservative going down into turn three," Leffler said. "He pulled down right in front of me. I was going to get to his bumper because he had been running the high line through there all night, and he left me a shot to get him when he pulled down in my lane. When I got to him my truck just got tight behind him and pushed up, and so we ended up second."
Leffler started the race in the eighth position after Friday's monsoon-like St. Louis weather canceled qualifying. He deftly maneuvered his Dodge swiftly through the pack. When caution came out on lap 28, Leffler brought his truck in for some minor adjustments but no tires. He restarted the race in the second spot and ran in the top three for an extended green flag run that lasted until the yellow flag finally came out on lap 93 for a crash in turn three. Leffler pulled down the pit lane on lap 94, and his Ultra Motorsports pit crew ripped off an outstanding pit stop, changing four tires, going down 2 rounds on the track bar and adding 22 gallons of fuel. Leffler roared off pit road in the second position, trailing only Gaughan. On several occasions in the remaining laps Leffler made every effort to squeak by Gaughan's Dodge but could not muster the necessary momentum to make the pass.
"The adjustments on that last pit stop really helped," Leffler said after the event. "The guys gave me a super stop and the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge was really good. Track position is critical here and Brendan was out in front. We could hang with him but it was hard to pass. I think if the roles were reversed and we had been out front, then it would have been hard for him to pass. Aerodynamics are very important here. I am disappointed but not disappointed. I like to win but you really can't complain about running second."
Leffler's team continued its recent hot streak. Saturday's finish was the team's 6th top-ten finish in its last seven races and its fourth top-five finish in the same time frame. Leffler remains eighth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points race, 162 points back from series leader Travis Kvapil and only 76 markers out of fifth place. Leffler pocketed $35,325 for the race, bringing his season's earnings to $227,580.
The next tour stop for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams and drivers is the Sears 200 at Michigan International Speedway. The race is slated for Saturday July 26 at 1:00 ET and will be broadcast live by the Speed Channel and MRN Radio.