It was a dream that father and son have always shared together and now their dream has become a reality as Tommy Cloce, the 2009 track champion from Adirondack Speedway in New Bremen, NY, was named the 2009 Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil ASA Member Track National Champion. Cloce recently got the news in a phone call from ASA President Dennis Huth.
“Well, this is great!!! I really appreciate it,” Cloce said after Huth told him. “This is the biggest honor I have ever had in my racing career and to win the ASA Member Track National Championship, this is some great news.”
Cloce won the championship with a point average of 5.0893 with Clint LaFont of Thunderhill Raceway in Kyle, TX a close second with a 5.0300. Jeremy Miller of Madison International Speedway in Oregon, WI was third with a 4.8738 with Jeff Mathews of East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa, FL fourth with a 4.8568. Ralph Adams of Havasu 95 Speedway in Lake Havasu City, AZ rounded out the top-five with a 4.4260.
As part of the championship, the Canton, NY driver will get a tryout with Joe Gibbs Racing later this year. It’s an opportunity that he is looking forward to because his father, Ed Cloce owns a Toyota dealership in Potsdam, NY where Tommy also serves as the General Manager.
“That is really huge, they are a world class organization with world class drivers and to go and shake down one of their cars and make a few laps is quite an honor and to do it through ASA,” Cloce said. But he is also looking forward to more than just driving one of their cars, “Just to see their operation is probably bigger to me than just the test session. To see their work ethic, getting an opportunity to meet JD Gibbs and hopefully Joe Gibbs, who is one person on my top-ten list of people I would like to meet, would mean more to me. I am looking forward to this experience.”
The dream of winning any National Championship has been in the Cloce family for a long time as his father Ed was a competitor and is Tommy’s car owner. He has been involved in racing since the 1950’s and was one of the original owners when the NASCAR Modified Series was formed.
Prior to the announcement, Ed Cloce felt very confident that his son won the 2009 Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil ASA Member Track Championship, “Whoever wins this championship has earned it,” Ed Cloce said. “If anyone has a better record than what Tommy had this season, then God bless them because they earned the title.”
He has been keeping a close eye on the points all season long and he felt that Tommy had a season that many other drivers would dream to have, “We competed in 18 races this season and we won 12 of those, finished second three times, finished third twice and one time we were involved in a wreck, fixed the car and he still finished fourth,” Ed Cloce exclaimed. “And in just about every event, we started last except for the Renegade 100 where he was the fast qualifier, started on the pole and led all 100 laps.”
“I really want to thank my dad for all of his support,” Tommy said. “Throughout his racing career, a National Championship has eluded him and now he we have accomplished that goal.”
Tommy said that winning this championship could not have been accomplished without the help of his crew, especially his crew chief Doug Levine, “He has done an awesome job by giving me a great car every week and had no mechanical breakdowns,” Tommy said. “On the night we finished fourth, at the start of the 50-lap feature, two guys tangled in front of me and took out my front end. My guys did a wonderful job to get us back out. At the end of the night, we all looked at each other and thought that maybe it was meant to be and this could be our year to win the ASA Member Track National Championship.”
Cloce, who finished third overall last year and won the East Region last year, really didn’t plan on coming into the 2009 season with the National Championship on his mind, “About mid-season we realized that we had a shot at it, we weren’t planning on going for the championship, it all just kind of happened.”
“We are very excited to have Tommy Cloce as our second Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil ASA Member Track Champion,” Dennis Huth, ASA President said. “I have known his father for a long time and I know how much this championship means to Tommy and him. Tommy will be a great representative of the American Speed Association Member Tracks for the next year. We congratulate him on his dream season.”
Cloce now joins Cary Stapp, the 2008 National Champion from Thunderhill Raceway in Kyle, TX as the only two Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil ASA Member Track National Champions.
You can see the full standings and see where your favorite ASA Member Track driver is in the current standings by visiting www.speednetdirect.com.
Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil, sponsor of the American Speed Association National Short Track National Championship, is the same oil developed and used by Joe Gibbs Racing. The team sells the oil so racers across the country can have access to the latest technology in racing lubricants.
Joe Gibbs Racing is one of the premier organizations in NASCAR, currently fielding three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams, two NASCAR Nationwide Series teams and a driver development program. Based in Huntersville, N.C., and owned by Joe Gibbs - a three-time Super Bowl winner as head coach of the Washington Redskins and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame - JGR has competed in NASCAR since 1992, winning three Cup Series championships and more than 80 NASCAR races, including three Brickyard 400s and the 1993 Daytona 500.
The American Speed Association Short Track National Championship is another step by the industry leader in creating new and innovative programs. This follows the recent announcement about extending the insurance coverage for ASA members traveling to, from, and during an ASA-sanctioned event. For updated ASA National Points, just click on the "Points" link at www.asa-racing.com.
ASA members in good standing are eligible for a $500,000 Excess Medical Benefit as well as a $20,000 Accidental Death and Dismemberment Benefit. Coverage for the member begins while traveling to a location promoting an ASA-sanctioned event and continues until arrival home again. The American Speed Association, in conjunction with WSIB Motorsports Insurance, is the only sanctioning body to offer insurance coverage which extends beyond the boundary of the racetrack itself (complete details are available online at www.ASA-Racing.com).
The ASA Member Track program is comprised of more than 35 short tracks around the United States, as well as a variety of regional and national touring series. For more information, call (386) 258-2221 or send an e-mail to email@example.com. For news and information from all the racetracks and tours involved in the ASA, visit www.ASA-Racing.com.
ASA™, ASA Racing™ and American Speed Association® are trademarks of Racing Speed Associates, LLC. Racing Speed Associates, LLC is not related to or affiliated with ASA Late Model Series, LLC.