LEFFLER FINISHES 18th IN ...
LEFFLER FINISHES 18th IN #32 BRAUN RACING/WINFUEL CHEVY AT GATEWAY
ST. LOUIS, MO (July 31, 2005) -- On a rare weekend when most NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers enjoyed time off, away from the racetrack, Jason Leffler spent his weekend in St. Louis competing in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Gateway International Raceway. Leffler, who was behind the wheel of the #32 Braun Racing/WINFUEL Chevrolet for the fourth time this season, finished 18th after an up and down night.
"I love to race whenever and wherever I can, especially when I have the opportunity to get in good equipment like Todd Braun's #32 Chevy," Leffler said. "Gateway has been a really good track for me in the past, so I'm glad I could work it out to compete in the race this weekend."
During Saturday afternoon's qualifying session, Leffler, the 35th driver to attempt to qualify for the Wallace Family Tribute 250, paced the track in 33.630 seconds at a speed of 133.809 mph to place the WINFUEL Chevy seventh on the starting grid for the night's race. Leffler would actually end up starting fifth, after Carl Edwards (engine) and Michael Waltrip (driver's meeting) had to drop the rear of the field before taking the green flag.
Leffler kept the #32 Chevy in the top-10 until making his first pit stop of the night under the second caution of the race on lap 31. After reporting tight conditions to crew chief Todd Lohse and the Braun Racing crew, Leffler hit pit road for fresh tires and to pull a spring rubber out of the left rear. Unfortunately, a slow pit stop dropped the #32 deep in the field to 28th position.
Throughout the remainder of the night, Leffler and the Braun team continued to fight tight conditions and the loss of track position, keeping the #32 in the top-15 to 20.
"We had some bad pit stops that really hurt our track position tonight," crew chief Todd Lohse said. "One time we even had to come back in to make an adjustment that we missed on the first stop. Our best stop of the night was the final time we came down pit road for tires, but it was too late by then."
The final stop of the night came under the last caution at lap 191, when driver Jason Leffler made the call to pit one final time for fresh tires. Leffler was running 16th when he came down pit road and he restarted in 21st position with only a few laps remaining.
"I made the decision to come down pit road that last time because we had lost a lot of positions on old tires and we didn't have anything to loose by gambling on stopping for tires," Leffler said. "I thought that fresh tires would give us the best opportunity to pick up as many spots as we could in the final laps, but unfortunately there just weren't enough laps left and I could only get back to 18th position."
This weekend short-track ace Ron Hornaday will be back behind the wheel of the #32 WINFUEL Chevrolet as the Braun Racing team competes in one of the most exciting short track races of the season at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Live coverage of the Kroger 250 begins this Saturday, August 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT.
BUSCH: St. Louis: Paul Menard race notes
BUSCH: St. Louis race results