After participating in the Goodyear Tire Test at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway just over a month ago, Jason Leffler circled April 15 on his calendar. The veteran driver entered the Inaugural Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 at the historic 1-mile track with high expectations and believed his first trip to Victory Lane driving the No. 18 Dollar General Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) was a realistic goal.
The day got off to a promising start but came to a screeching halt when a catastrophic engine failure ended the day early for Leffler and the Dollar General Racing team. Having completed just 19 of 200 laps, Leffler was relegated to a disappointing 34th-place finish in his third start for KBM.
By the time the field had made its first lap around "The Rock," Leffler had maneuvered his way from his fourth starting spot into the runner-up position. The veteran driver settled behind pole sitter Nelson Piquet Jr. for the first 15 laps, then surrendered one position to Matt Crafton shortly after he notified crew chief Eric Phillips of a loose handling Toyota.
Before Phillips and crew were able to make adjustments to assist Leffler, he announced that the engine had expired and brought the Dollar General Tundra down pit road. The KBM crew raised the hood in order to examine the damage. After quickly determining that the power plant was unfixable, the team pushed the truck to the garage and loaded it on the hauler.
"The Dollar General Toyota was really good all weekend," proclaimed a deflated Leffler. "The guys worked hard and we just had a really, really good truck. But 10 laps into it, we're sitting here and going home early. I can't begin to describe how disappointed I am."
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Kasey Kahne led the final 46 laps en route to his fourth victory in five career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts. James Buescher finished runner up, 1.478 seconds behind his teammate. Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter and Timothy Peters rounded out the top-five finishers.
There were four caution periods for 25 laps. Leffler was one of just five drivers who failed to finish the 200-lap race at the challenging track.
Leffler and the No. 18 Tundra team will be back in action this Saturday, April 21, when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Kansas Speedway for the SFP 250. The race begins at 2 p.m. ET with live coverage provided by SPEED beginning with the NCWTS Setup Show at 1:30 p.m. ET.