Nazareth: Jason Leffler preview

NAZARETH, PA (April 16, 2002) - Fresh off a sixth-place finish in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville, Jason Leffler rolls into Nazareth Speedway looking to transfer that same momentum when he takes to the unique one-mile...

NAZARETH, PA (April 16, 2002) - Fresh off a sixth-place finish in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville, Jason Leffler rolls into Nazareth Speedway looking to transfer that same momentum when he takes to the unique one-mile Nazareth oval in George Snider's Mopar powered Team ASE/Ultra Wheels USAC Silver Crown entry.

"I really like Nazareth a lot," said Leffler. "I've only raced a Silver Crown car there once in 1999, but I qualified third and won the race. The track is so different from what we typically race on, that it presents a whole set of challenges that we don't usually see. You need a lot of motor to get you out of the corner, especially coming out of turn three because it runs up hill. When we set the car up, it's really going to have to be a compromise of where the car is going to need to be the best in order to take advantage of the person in front of you. It's hard to get it perfect all the way around, so you just have to deal with the other corners."

Leffler, who owns five USAC Silver Crown wins, sat out the last two Nazareth Silver Crown events due to obligations in the NASCAR Busch Series in 2000 and a tight NASCAR Winston Cup schedule last year. The two-year hiatus has the Long Beach, CA driver itching to get back in the saddle for the annual Nazareth USAC clash.

Last time out in Snider's Mopar/ASE/Ultra Wheels special, Leffler qualified sixth and came away with an 11th-place in the 25th annual Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway.

"We had some problems at Phoenix that we think we solved, so we should be fine," explained the 1998 Silver Crown champ. "It's going to be a long race. We have to get the car tuned up to run 100 laps without any pit stops. It's going to be very important to get the car working well on the new, harder tires that we'll run at Nazareth. We'll load up the car with about 65 gallons of fuel, but I didn't notice any drastic changes to the car at Phoenix after the fuel load burned off, so that shouldn't play into the equation drastically. I'm just looking forward to that green flag."

In addition to his duties behind the wheel on the No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge in the NCTS, Leffler will compete in eight of the 11 USAC Silver Crown races on the 2002 schedule, along with select Midget events.

"I've got some extra time on my hands this year since the Truck Series only races 22 times," commented Leffler. "I haven't been able to race the open-wheel stuff the last couple of years as much as I would have liked to, so this year provides me with some great opportunities to get back to my roots. The last couple of years have been great experience for me; I just didn't get to race these cars as much. We struggled last month at Phoenix, but I think we'll be a threat for the win when we get to Nazareth."

The USAC Silver Crown feature event at Nazareth Speedway will get under way Sunday, April 21 at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The second of 11 races on the 2002 Silver Crown tour will be telecast on a tape-delayed basis Sunday, May 5 at 3:30 Eastern on espn2.

-gsr-

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Series USAC
Drivers Jason Leffler