Houston Ready to Tango With Texas Team ASE/Carquest Dodge Driver Looks for First Longhorn State Win MOORESVILLE, NC- (June 7, 2004) -Hoping to build momentum coming off a seventh place finish at Dover, Andy Houston and his Team...
Houston Ready to Tango With Texas
Team ASE/Carquest Dodge Driver Looks for First Longhorn State Win
MOORESVILLE, NC- (June 7, 2004) -Hoping to build momentum coming off a seventh place finish at Dover, Andy Houston and his Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge crew cast a welcoming eye toward this weekend's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Texas Motor Speedway. The 1.5-mile quad-oval has been kind to the 33 year-old Hickory, NC native. Houston won the pole for last fall's race and finished fifth, and he sees no reason for that trend not to continue.
"In the past Texas has been very, very good to me," Houston said. "I have never finished out of the top ten there in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. We want to keep that streak alive definitely. We went there last fall and sat on the pole and ran good during the race so all of that is encouraging. Plus we had a great test at Texas a couple of weeks ago, so I am really looking forward to getting back down there and seeing what this team can do. We want to defend our pole and we are excited about getting the chance to do that. One of the big reasons that you get excited about Texas is because of the crowd. They always have big crowds with lots of enthusiastic fans and that makes it fun to race there."
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has already made stops at Texas Motor Speedway's two sister venues, Atlanta and Charlotte, during the course of the 2004 season. While somewhat similar to those two quad-oval layouts, Texas has subtle differences that Houston hopes will yield a better finish this weekend.
"Texas has more grip than Atlanta and Charlotte," Houston claimed. "It is a lot smoother than those two tracks. The groove usually stays on the bottom. Some drivers like Brendan Gaughan have had some success running the high line over the past few races. It does seem like the groove has started to widen out a little bit but I think the fast way is going to be right at the bottom of the racetrack. There are two separate grooves so you can run with somebody side by side if you need to. I like Texas - it's fast, really fast and smooth, and it is laid out very well and for some reason I have just always been really really comfortable there. The racetrack tends to tighten up especially off of turn four. You need to have a truck that turns good up off the corner. Turns one and two are a lot different. It has quite a bit of banking and there is a lot of room to run off of turn two because the turn tends to sweep out. Turns three and four are real tight and if you can get your truck to turn there, you can make up a lot of time on that part of the track. That makes the front straight real long and you can set people up to pass getting into one and two."
Houston and his Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge crew learned several important key elements for success at Texas during their most recent test session at the Longhorn state track. Even though things constantly change with body template adjustments and varying tire compounds, Houston has learned things can still remain the same.
"I learned that the things we have done there in the past still seem to work pretty good there," Houston said. "We were pretty close set-up wise to what we ran when we won the pole there last fall. The track hasn't changed that much, the new body styles haven't changed how you drive it that much and the tires haven't changed it that much, so it is still the same old Texas Motor Speedway. I have a lot of confidence in my ability to run well there and in this Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge crew's ability to run good there."
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway is slated for Friday June 11th. The event will be broadcast live by the Speed Channel, MRN Radio and XM Satellite Radio at 8:00pm ET.