LEBANON, Tenessee -- Jason Small drove the Sunbelt Rentals/Lucas Oil Products Chevrolet to a solid 15th-place finish in the Federated Auto Parts 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at the Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday. It marked Small's best series finish since he took the checkered 13th and Martinsville, and his second top-20 finish in three races.
"We had a good truck tonight," Small said. "We knew coming down here we would have a good truck, and we showed that in practice before qualifying. But when we went to qualify, we were just terrible. When we got back to the garage, we noticed the left front spring had popped out of the bucket and had bound up. We got that fixed and the truck was just as solid as it was before."
Small and Green Light Racing teammate Bobby Dotter raced each other hard for the 14th position on the last restart. Dotter edged Small in a side-by-side finish by just 0.005 of a second.
"That was fun racing with Bobby," he said. "Next time, we have his number and we are going to beat him by a nose. Like one of the guys said, just like one of those Lemans finishes with both teams running side by side at the checkered flag. The only thing we would have liked to see was the 07 in front of the 08. We'll get him next time."
Small sees the Nashville race as continued proof his Sunbelt Rentals race team has turned the corner on what had been a frustrating season.
"We started off with a great run at Daytona and followed that up with a good race at Martinsville," he said. "Not that we thought this was easy, because this is very, very hard. But it looked like we were going to have a good season. Then we just got hammered with the worst luck you can ever imagine. Any kind of problem you can imagine, we have had it. Crashes, blown engines, parts you would never think of breaking have broken.
"But something good has come out of all of this. We never gave up, and now we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. For a while, we couldn't finish a race. Now, we are finishing. We have been in the top-20, now we need to get to the top-15, then get back to the top-10. We are to that point where we know how to get to the finish, now we need to get the best possible finish we can."
Small and the Sunbelt Rentals/Lucas Oil Products Chevrolet will take to the Richmond International Raceway for a 200-lap event on September 5. The race will be televised live at 8 pm ET on "The Deuce", ESPN2. It can be heard live on XM Satellite Radio and MRN Radio affiliates nationwide.