Team ASE/Carquest Dodge gets 2nd Straight Top-Ten FORT WORTH, TX- (June 11, 2004) -Andy Houston left Texas Motor Speedway with mixed feelings on Friday night. He was happy to get his second straight top-ten finish in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck ...
Team ASE/Carquest Dodge gets 2nd Straight Top-Ten
FORT WORTH, TX- (June 11, 2004) -Andy Houston left Texas Motor Speedway with mixed feelings on Friday night. He was happy to get his second straight top-ten finish in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race but he was left with the feeling that he and his Ultra Motorsports team are capable of much more than their 9th place finish indicates.
"I know that this team is a really good race team and I really feel like we have turned a corner," Houston said following the race. "I really feel like this Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge is ready to contend for a win now. It wasn't a bad night all in all. We pitted early and put tires on about twenty laps in, that might have been a mistake, I don't know. A lot of other teams did it too. A lot of teams in front of us pitted early as well so you really can't go against that but it hurt us late in the race because we had to put those tires back on the truck. That contributed to us being really, really loose late in the race and that cost us some positions in the last 15 laps. We just got completely sideways on the racetrack, and I was just surviving at that point."
Houston qualified his Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge 11th on the grid and steadily moved through the field following the team's first stop after a caution on lap 20. After another quick caution on lap 28 the race fell under green flag conditions for nearly 50 laps. During the extended green flag run Houston's Dodge charged to the front of the pack. When caution finally fell on lap 74, Houston was running 6th and crew chief Dennis Connor asked Houston what his truck needed. The answer was simple - don't touch a thing.
"I think that was the first time all year that we made a pit stop and didn't adjust the truck at all because it was just about perfect," Houston claimed. "It was really hooked up in the corners. I was a still a little bit loose at that time but if you got up behind somebody you got such an aero push that you had to be a little bit loose. I was really using that to my advantage. If I got up on somebody it would tighten me up just enough to turn under them and not get too loose, so at that point we were just about perfect."
Houston's Team ASE/CARQUEST crew made a flawless stop and he restarted the event in the fourth position. He moved into the third spot by lap 100 and appeared poised to claim his first top-five finish of the season. Unfortunately for Houston and his team he had to make one more trip down pit road.
"On the last pit stop I told Dennis that I didn't want to adjust anything on the truck too much," Houston said. "In hindsight we should have tightened it up some but we didn't. We got looser yet to the point of being too loose. We put our first set back on and they were just too loose because of the laps we had on them. This was our second top ten in a row however and this one wasn't luck - we raced for it and I think we are back on track. We are back to the point of being competitive again. Last week it looked like the No. 1 truck was back and this week he contended for the win so maybe we were just a week behind them. Next week hopefully we will go to Memphis and we can contend for the win. I am excited about where this team is headed and I think were back where we need to be."