Pyle Checks Out In Dominating ASA LMs At Milwaukee by Dean Strom
Real Race Is Watching Second And Third Battle Back Through Pack
In what is the biggest venue and longest race on the ASA Late Model Series Challenge Division, Ohio short track veteran Robbie Pyle tamed The Milwaukee Mile Saturday afternoon, as he led a whopping 138 laps en route to a dominating victory in the Jani-King 150, headlining day two of the Governors Cup weekend.
Robbie Pyle continued to roll in ASA Late Model competition, dominating the race at Milwaukee. (Steve Benesh photo)
Pyle started sixth and sliced his way through the field to take the lead on lap 12 and then turned back challenges from Sean Murphy and Challenge Division point leader Travis Dassow to take the checkered flag for a nearly half-straightaway margin of victory.
“The car was awesome,” said Pyle. “This Howe chassis was so easy to drive today. I was moving around the track and we hit on a line and a set up. I was pretty lucky to drive something like that.”
But controversy ensued at the half-way hiatus. Did it change the out come of the race? We’ll never know.
Make no bones about it, Pyle was dominate in the first half and led Dassow, Murphy, Eddie Hoffman, Brian Campbell and the rest of the field down pit road for the mandatory 10-minute break.
At the break teams were allowed to bolt on two new tires, add fuel and make minor chassis adjustments.
When Murphy arrived to the attention of his crew, under the direction of Michigan short track hall of famer Butch Miller, they noticed that the left rear tire had blistered.
That’s when things got interesting.
“We changed the left rear because it was corded,” said Murphy. “So it was junk a race car or change tires. They (pit road officials) said we could change tires and keep our same position.”
Dassow had a similar story.
“When we talked to the official she said we could change the blistered tire and there would be no penalty,” said Dassow. “And then we went back out on the track and the penalty went into effect and we had to drop back to the rear. It just made for a whole lot of work for us.”
And work is what Dassow and Murphy did in the second 75-lap segment as the pair was relegated to 14th and 15th, respectfully after their penalties.
Pyle (#21) was able to hold off Travis Dassow (#89) as Dassow climbed back through the field. (Benesh photo)
Dassow made a daring three-wide move on the front straight, just prior to lap 100, using it to move into the sixth spot. Just 10 laps later, he got past Campbell for the runner-up spot, a full three-seconds behind Pyle.
Murphy’s move to the front was a more patient one, not re-cracking the top five until lap 125.
Murphy eventually worked past Campbell as well as two-time ASALMS Challenge Division race winner Jacob Goede and claimed the third position. In the final 10 laps Murphy was able to get by Dassow for the runner-up spot, but had nothing left in the car for the long gone Pyle.
“Once we got to second, the left front spring went bad and I was pretty much riding
around on the frame rail,” said Dassow. “It was less than comfortable. The thing was vibrating so bad, I couldn’t see. My hands are still vibrating.”
Goede slipped around Campbell on the final circuit to finish fourth, with Derek Thorn ahead of Hoffman at the line for fifth.
Neither Dassow or Murphy may not have had anything for Pyle, had they not been penalized, but they’ll never know. All Murphy is asking for is consistency.
“I hate to whine, they just made an inconsistent call. At Canada, the guy who won the race ended up getting four tires and was allowed to start in his same spot. I just wish they had consistency in their calls.”
Sean Murphy (right) was able to grab second thanks to some Milwaukee testing. (ASA LM photo)
Murphy’s Test Pays Off
A week and a half prior to the Governors Cup weekend, a handful of drivers spent the day testing at the Milwaukee Mile. One of them was ASA Late Model Series Challenge Division top runner Sean Murphy.
Murphy put the practice to good use and qualified tops among the 33 drivers checking in.
“The test was mainly just to shake the car down after we knocked the front end of it off at Bristol,” recalled Murphy. “It came back, but I didn’t expect it to be as fast as this.”
Thorn’s Back Up
ASA Late Model Series Challenge Division drivers were given an hour of practice on Friday afternoon in preparation for Saturday’s qualifying and running of the Jani-King 150.
Rookie point contender Derek Thorn crashed early on in the practice, causing heavy damage to both the front and rear of his potent 5K Motorsports ride.
“The car just got away from me coming out of four,” said Thorn. “I got on the gas, and with these radial tires it just didn’t give and when it went , it went fast. There was nothing I could do.”
The team pulled an all-nighter on Friday to prepare the back-up car. Thorn qualified it eighth and brought it home sixth in the 150-lapper.
Mid-Am race winner Bobby Gutknect gets a water shower from a team member. (Benesh photo)