GOODBYE ASA, HELLO PROCUP... AGAIN by Jeremy Troiano
Garvey Switches Gears, Ready For New Challenge
With the demise of ASA, there have been lots of questions floating around at where some of the series' biggest stars would end up in 2004. a few details have come out here and there, but for the most part, the news of where some of the best short track drivers in the country are going to be racing this coming season is still a mystery.
“If you have sponsorship, you need television. It is pretty plain and simple. We talked about doing some ARCA stuff, but Bill (Plemmons, Garvey's team owner) is really loyal to the Hooters series. That is the way we want to go and that is what we decided to do.”
Garvey said talks with Jani-King, his sponsor in ASA over the last several years, are close to finalization and he should know something soon.
“Things are looking good. We've got some other sponsors coming on. I'd say it looks 99-percent like we're going to do the whole thing. If we don't do the whole thing, we'll do enough to get in the Championship Series for sure.”
Garvey leads the pack of famed-ASA drivers who are moving in different directions in 2005. Former ASA Champion Tim Sauter is heading back to the Busch Series. Todd Kluever is moving onto the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series full-time. Reed Sorenson is going to be a NASCAR Busch Series rookie. Travis Kittleson is going to race a handful of Busch races along with a bunch of Super Late Model shows. Chad Wood is heading to the ASA Late Model Series full-time. Mike Eddy, who won an ASA race in 2004, is going to run up to 10 CRA Super Series races.
“It's disappointing to look over there and see that,” said Garvey of the ASA cars. “We've got three great ASA cars with nothing to do with them. Hopefully, it isn't a waste of investment.
“It was a weird year, waiting on ASA to see what is going to happen. We were waiting on Steve (Dale, ASA Series owner) to see what he'd do. I was hoping someone would step up in buy it, especially with as good as those last couple races of the year came off (at Kentucky, Charlotte and Atlanta). I was hoping someone would step up and pick up some races. But that didn't happen, so we are forgetting about the ASA cars and focusing everything on the Hooters cars.”
While talks are still underway, Garvey hopes Jani-King will be back with him in 2005.
There is still no word on if anyone might pick up some races using “ASA-style rules,” but that will not change the main focus on Garvey's 2005 season.
“The real sad part is that we could race the ASA cars tomorrow if there was a race. If something happens, they're ready to go, whether we sell them, rent them or whatever.
“I'm just fortunate to be in the situation that I am in because we were able to switch gears pretty quick when we heard nothing was happening with ASA and focus on something else. I really feel sorry for some of these other guys. With all of that equipment sitting there. It is just terrible. Some guys can't do what we have done, and that is where the real travesty lies.”
Should factors work out, Garvey might pair back up with old ASA rival Gary St. Amant in the Championship Series at the end of the year. There is also talk that several other ASA drivers might tackle a few races in the ProCup Series, including Bryan Reffner.
“It is going to be different, that is for sure,” added Garvey. “I thought we were on top of our game in ASA. Now, we are switching to a different car and different motor. I'm not used to running carburetors. I liked the ASA engine program and I liked running fuel injection. So this is going to be different.
“The good thing is I've done the Busch stuff and Cup stuff. These cars are similar to those. I think we'll adapt to it. It might take some time.
“Just like in ASA, we didn't just snap our fingers and have great cars. It took time and effort. It will take time and effort here as well. But I've got the confidence in my guys.”
Garvey and the WJP team have two ProCup cars right now and they are working to prepare them. One is a new Laughlin car and the other is a car they purchased from Mardy Lindley, which he raced just once, at Bristol, last year.
However, the news may start coming out in droves now after one of the series' biggest names has announced that he intends to run the USAR ProCup Series full-time in 2005.
Mike Garvey will make the switch from ASA to ProCup this season, but with the same WJ Plemmons team. Garvey is still working out the details, but says it is almost certain that he'll run the entire Southern schedule and the maximum number of Northern races the series allows in an effort to go after the ProCup Championship.
“It's the best, most affordable series with television out there,” said Garvey, who led the ASA Series with five wins in 2004.
MIke Garvey will be a ProCup racer this year.
“We are trying to get the cars done and get ready for the year. We don't know the ins and outs of these cars just yet, so we are taking our time and making sure we do everything right. We don't know them like we do the ASA cars. We want to get everything done and done right and be ready to do a little testing before the season starts.”
It would be a crowded shop though. Garvey's three ASA cars, all of which won at least one race in 2004, still sit in his shop, on jack stands and with car covers on there.
“On one hand, I'm disappointed. On the other hand, it is exciting because it is a challenge. When you switch gears, it gets the juices flowing.”
Garvey's team will mostly stay the same and everything will be run out of the same shop he ran his ASA operation out of. With the team focusing on the Southern Division of the ProCup Series, which has several races in North Carolina, Florida and Garvey's homebase of Georgia, it will make travel much easier.
“The one thing I'm really looking forward to is all of the races in the south. Most of these tracks are three to four hours from home. The travel is going to be nice. That is a little more time spent at home and with my family.”
Don't expect to see ProCup the only place Garvey is sitting behind the wheel this year. The team still has their new Super Late Model that race in the Snowball Derby in the shop and they might take that out as time permits. There might also still be some Busch or Cup runs for Garvey.
“Our main focus is ProCup though. We are going to go into this just like we went into ASA last year. My goals are to run in the top five and if we do that, we might win a race here or there. Would we like to win? Sure. If we go there, dot our 'i's and cross our 't's, we'll be pretty successful.”
Garvey's team owner and brother-in-law, Bill Plemmons (left), raced in the ProCup Series several years ago.
Garvey won more times in ASA last year than anyone else.