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Suspensions only complicate Jason Leffler's crew chief situation

By Lee Montgomery

SPARTA, Ky. - Braun Racing's Jason Leffler has gotten used to having different NASCAR Nationwide Series crew chiefs, but things are getting a little silly for him. Next weekend, crew chief Trip Bruce begins a two-race suspension, while another Braun crew chief, Stewart Cooper, also has to sit out.

Bruce has been working with Leffler's team on an interim basis anyway, working with a Camping World Truck Series team during the week and then guiding Leffler on Nationwide race weekends. As a bit of a backup, Cooper has helped Leffler.

Now, that changes with the Road America race as Bruce and Cooper start their suspensions as part of the penalty NASCAR handed down for an infraction at Nashville last weekend.

"Obviously it was complicated before all this happened," Leffler said Friday at Kentucky Speedway. "This weekend Trip is going to be here part-time. Next weekend is when they’ll serve their suspension, so Road America and New Hampshire they’ll be gone. When I say they, it’s Trip and Stewart Cooper.

"The tough thing about that is when Trip is not there, I rely a lot on Stewart, so now he’s not there. Our two tire guys are gone, too. I don’t know. We’ll get through it because we have a strong group, and it’s just temporary so I’m pretty confident as a group we can power right through it."

This weekend is odd, too, for Bruce is in Michigan working with Stringer Motorsports and driver Brad Sweet. (Doug Stringer is a co-owner in Braun Racing).

"As a group, luckily the core group of guys that work on my car are really strong and between Trent Owens, his guys and Stewart Cooper and his guys, they all communicate really well amongst each other," Leffler said. "We have a baseline. Stewart is here this weekend and Trent, obviously. If we have any questions during practice we kind of have a good box to start in and we’ll work in that box. If we get lost, we’ll go and talk to one of those two guys to see if they can straighten us out."