Texas II: Andy Houston preview

MOORESVILLE, NC- (October 6, 2003) -While the Boston Red Sox are perennially plagued by, "The Curse of the Bambino," Ultra Motorsports NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams have been saddled with the curse of Texas Motor Speedway over the last three...

MOORESVILLE, NC- (October 6, 2003) -While the Boston Red Sox are perennially plagued by, "The Curse of the Bambino," Ultra Motorsports NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams have been saddled with the curse of Texas Motor Speedway over the last three seasons. Despite having dominant trucks capable of blistering the 1.5-mile Fort Worth quad-oval, the Ultra teams have suffered from untimely on-track incidents, blown tires and mysterious engine maladies cruelly snatching victory following spirited runs. In this weekend's Silverado 350 at TMS, Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge pilot Andy Houston hopes to be a catalyst of change and forever vanquish the curse.

"Hopefully I can bring some good luck to the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge," Houston said. "This team has had some really good trucks at Texas but for whatever reason they haven't gotten the finishes reflective of how they've run. Fortunately I've been reasonably successful and pretty lucky at Texas. I know I haven't won at Texas, but I've always run extremely well. I have several Top-5 finishes there and it's a racetrack that I really enjoy. It is big and fast and I can't wait to go down there with this team, especially with the kind of trucks they prepare for speedway races."

Houston's record at Texas Motor Speedway is one reason the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge contingent should be optimistic. The Hickory, NC native has never finished out of the Top-10 at Texas and boasts three Top-5 finishes. Houston finished second the first time he laid eyes on the ultra-fast TMS oval and holds an impressive 4.6 finishing average in just five starts. Houston also has one NASCAR Winston Cup start at Texas to his credit to draw from as well.

"I went there with PPI Motorsports in 2001 and qualified 12th," said the three-time NCTS winner. "I got up as high as sixth, but we didn't gauge our fuel mileage right and we fell a couple of laps down. The Truck Series races have always been good for me. The first time I was there in 1998 we finished second. I really should have won the race but we had a right front tire fall apart with just a couple of laps to go. The worst I've finished is eighth and that is because I was involved in an incident on the racetrack and was forced to the rear of the field. We went from 27th to eighth in just a few laps at the very end. Texas has always been a good track for me."

Built for speed, Texas Motor Speedway's configuration pairs well with Houston's driving style considering his best runs have come on NASCAR's intermediate and superspeedway tracks. Finding the fast way around the Texas palace of speed requires the driver to adapt to several different challenges over the course of the weekend.

"Depending on what type of tire combination we have or what the rule package is determines how you drive the track," Houston explained. "Last time I was there I ran second and I had the accelerator to the floorboard all night long. I just tapped the brake pedal a little getting into the corner but never lifted off the gas. There have been times I've raced there and had to lift off the throttle a whole bunch but we were still very fast. You just never know how it's going to be until you get there. With the tire we run now I should be able to flatfoot it all the way around. Aerodynamics and horsepower play a big part at Texas. Turn Two is really tight and being able to negotiate that turn effectively is the key to success at Texas."

The Silverado 350 at Texas Motor Speedway will take the green flag Saturday October 11th at 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The 22nd of 25 NCTS events will be telecast live on the Speed Channel and broadcast live on MRN Radio nationwide.

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Andy Houston