ASA LATE MODEL LEFTOVERS: NASHVILLE   By Matt Kentfield & Jeremy Troiano
Miller and Ryan Tangle Clearing Smooth Path for Winner

When it isn't your day, it just isn't your day. 

Matt Hawkins had high hopes going into his first ever ASA Late Model Challenge Series race on Saturday night.  The 2005 Southern All-Stars Champion had been preparing all winter for the ASA LM season-opener but mechanical problems in racecars are often unavoidable no matter how much preparation goes into them.
After leaving Nashville, the Hawkins team immediately checked over the #22 at the shop and found their problem to be a faulty ignition box.  Hawkins tested a new ignition system at Peach State Speedway on Monday after the race


One driver pulling double duty in Nashville was the young Iowa-native Landon Cassill.  Fresh off a runner-up points finish during Speedweeks in New Smyrna, FL, Cassill had high hopes for both his CRA SS and ASA LM entries. 
Matt Hawkins' #22  (51 Photo)
Neither race turned out the way he had planned, however. He was involved in a mid-race crash in the CRA race, but it was his performance in the ASA race that has Cassill amazed that he even lasted until the checkers.

“I don’t even know what happened in the CRA race tonight but I know I should be in the hospital sucking food through a straw right now after that ASA race,” said a frustrated Cassill.  “The right front brake rotor came off the hub.  I don’t know how the heck we finished that race without ending up in the wall with a torn up racecar.”

Cassill qualified second for the ASA race, just .04-seconds off the pole speed.  He started fifth after the inversion and hung around the top-five for the first 3/4 of the race, but with about 50 to go his car began to give
Landon Cassill has an interesting way of putting things.
Hawkins, who was debuting a brand-new paint scheme for the 2006 ASA Late Model Challenge Series in Nashville, struggled all weekend long with mechanical issues that cost him a starting spot in the 200-lap season-opening race Saturday night. 

"We're disappointed that we weren't able to start tonight's race," said the 18-year-old.  "We tried a couple different routes to get the car figured out but nothing really fixed it. 

"Rather than risk doing even more damage to the car, we're better off taking it back to the shop and finding out the problem with the motor.  We're not hanging our heads.  We will bounce back from this and be even stronger than before next time out"
him fits.  He had to wrestle the car home but still managed a ninth place finish.

“I’m shocked that we had as good of a run as we had.”


Before the start of the 2006 ASA Late Model Challenge Series, Crane Cams and the ASA organization struck a deal for Crane Cams ignition systems to be on board every entry in the three ASA Late Model divisions this season. 
Several teams suffered through problems with the Crane Cams systems throughout the Nashville weekend, prompting Crane Cams and series officials to step back and work out the problems before the next Challenge Series race at San Antonio Speedway (TX) on April 1.

ASA management and technical staff informed teams in the days after Nashville that they, along with Crane Cams brass, are committed to solving the issues that the teams faced in the series’ opener and are focused on making every competitor happy.

To ensure that the ignition system works without issue for the rest of the year, all the ignition systems that
Some teams experienced ignition problems on Saturday and the series took notice.
teams returned to ASA officials in Nashville have been returned to Crane Cams for further testing to make sure the systems conform to their specifications. 

Crane Cams will be bringing the re-tested and verified boxes to San Antonio where they hope to have the systems completely working up to snuff.


A top-five in the season-opening ASA Late Model Challenge Series race should’ve gotten Bo Miller’s season off to a strong start, but his fifth place run only lasted for a few minutes after the checkered flag.

Miller’s result was thrown out after ASA officials deemed his carburetor to be in violation of the rulebook.  Miller was forced to forfeit all money and points earned for the event.


The halfway break in the ASA Late Model race allowed each team 10 minutes to work on their cars, but it gave Jason Dietsch’s crew time to let out their frustrations on Michael Driskell’s #86.  The two got together on the track and Dietsch’s crew confronted Driskell’s on pit road during the break. 
After the race, Dietsch was still miffed at the Driskell incident.

“I don’t know what happened,” said Dietsch.  “They have too many kids out here.  They need to have to buy their own stuff instead of mommy and daddy bailing them out.  The kid (Driskell) tells me before the race that he will give me plenty of room.  He said he’d give me plenty of room.  We don’t get down into the first corner and he has me turned sideways.  (Charlie) Menard said he saw him do it. 

“He is just some local kid that is going to be the next Jeff Gordon.  There are too many of them out here.  We had a great car.  It was fast.  We were going to have a good
Jason Dietch's crew works on his wrecked car.
car in the race.  I guess we just have to move the chicanes.”


Former ASA National Tour driver Chad Wood is still running the ASA world, but now, he’s found a home in the ASA Late Model Series. 

And he got his 2006 season started a good way, by leading the first 10 laps and finishing third.

Wood wasn’t completely satisfied with the finish though.
“The motor wouldn’t’ run through the whole race,” said Wood.  “We changed the motor this morning and I thought we had it cured.  That is why we timed it at the halfway break.  I thought we had it cured, but I guess not.  That was the main thing was that I couldn’t get off the corner.  I just didn’t have the power to get off the corner.  If we could have gotten that fixed, we might have been better tonight. The car was actually handling really well.  It would roll through the corner, we just couldn’t’ get off the corner.”

What does that mean?

“These things have a chip in them and it felt like it was
Chad Wood's #2 (Bob Milner Photo)
hitting the chip off of the corner.  I don’t know if we have something messed up on our part or what.  We just got our motor refreshened, so you never know.   Hopefully, we’ll get it fixed before we got to San Antonio, because I don’t want to do that again.  That was a lot of work for a third-place finish.”


Saturday night’s 200-lapper was a solid rebound for Kris Stump.

On Friday, Stump wrecked his primary #35 car hard.   The car was too badly damaged to be fixed for Saturday’s feature, so Stump used the backup car for his teammate, Brent Downey.

He was able to finish 11th, one lap down. 

“It was bitter sweet,” said Stump.  “We had a really good car.  The series decided to go with the new ignition box and we had ignition problems all night. The chassis was a rocket.  I think we had a top-five car.  We swapped boxes out during the break and it decided to run for a while, then it would fall flat on its face.  It was frustrating.”