Phoenix: Jason Leffler Copper Classic preview

Leffler Searching for Second Copper World Win AVONDALE, AZ (March 12, 2002) - In the world of USAC Silver Crown racing, there is nothing more prestigious then a win in the Copper World Classic held annually at Phoenix International ...

Leffler Searching for Second Copper World Win

AVONDALE, AZ (March 12, 2002) - In the world of USAC Silver Crown racing, there is nothing more prestigious then a win in the Copper World Classic held annually at Phoenix International Raceway.

About the only thing better than one win would be a second victory and that's just what Jason Leffler will be shooting for when he takes to the one-mile PIR oval in George Snider's factory-backed Mopar/Team ASE/Ultra Wheels Silver Crown entry this weekend.

"The Copper Classic is the one race everyone in the Silver Crown division wants to win and I'd like nothing better than to do it twice," stated Leffler. "We set the track record in qualifying (140.806 mph) when I won the race while driving for Bob East back in 2000. We were pretty dominant leading 44 of 50 laps. We really only had to battle Kenny Irwin Jr. He got around me on one of the restarts, but I passed him a couple of laps later. I was able to set the pace for most of the day. That was a pretty cool way to win such a big race."

Leffler sat out last year's Copper World Classic due to obligations in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. The sabbatical has the Long Beach, CA native eager to get back to PIR for the 25th-annual Copper World event.

"Phoenix is one of my favorite tracks," said Leffler. "It's difficult to get around because it's oddly shaped. The Silver Crown race has been expanded to 100 laps and we're not going to pit, so you have to take care of your tires early in the race. You could say it's going to be a sprint endurance race because you're going hard but you have take care of your stuff in order to be there at the end.

"We'll start the race with 65 gallons of fuel, so the balance of the car will change quite a bit as the fuel load burns off," Leffler continued. "The Silver Crown car is so light that I'll be searching the racetrack throughout the whole race looking for a faster lane to get good forward bite coming off the corner."

Leffler has been the model of consistency in three previous Copper World starts. In addition to his victory in the 2000 Classic, Leffler posted a fourth-place finish in 1998 and a third-place effort in 1999. Add it all up and it translates to a stellar 2.66 Copper World Classic finishing average.

This time around, Leffler, the 1998 USAC Silver Crown season champion, will campaign Snider's potent Mopar/Team ASE/Ultra Wheel Beast Chassis.

"This is a brand new car," explained Leffler. "We tested some last week to shake the car down a little bit, so we should be fine. The racetrack is going to be different when we go back because there's going to be a lot of rubber on the track, but we should have a good baseline setup for the race. I've known George for a long time. He's got a lot of experience and a lot of wins as an owner. For that matter, he has a lot of wins as a driver. I'm really lucky to be driving for him. George always puts good equipment on the racetrack and he prepares a great car. I wouldn't be going if I didn't feel like I was in equipment that could win the race."

The Copper World event will cap a busy weekend of racing for Leffler, who will try to steer his No. 2 TEAM ASE/CARQUEST Dodge Ram into Victory Lane in the Craftsman Anniversary 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Darlington (SC) Raceway Friday, March 15. Immediately after the conclusion of the NCTS event, Leffler will board an airplane and head for Phoenix where he'll try to make it two wins in a weekend and two victories in the Copper Classic.

"You couldn't ask for two tracks more different than Darlington and Phoenix and you couldn't drive two race vehicles that are more different than a Silver Crown Car and a Craftsman Truck," stated Leffler. "It's going to be a great weekend."

Leffler will take the green flag in the Copper World Classic Little Trees 100 Sunday, March 17 at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The event will be telecast on a taped-delayed basis Saturday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on espn2.

ABOUT ASE:
ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) also has a long involvement in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. As the primary sponsor on the No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST entry, the non-profit organization has been able to highlight its efforts to provide the highest quality professional technician certification and assessment services at all levels of vehicle maintenance and repair. In addition to ASE's racing involvement, the organization is active in numerous civic, charitable, educational and humanitarian activities.

-mopar/ase/uw-

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Series USAC
Drivers Jason Leffler