GRUMBLINS OVER ASA $$$ HITS LMS ROOF by Bob Dillner
Teams Shun Boycotting Event at Last Minute
Drivers and teams are ticked off with ASA… again! Here’s the short story (we’ll get into the long one at some other time). For the third time this year, the series is not paying its race purses. The drama came to a head Wednesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC, when many teams banded together to research a “boycott” of the inaugural event at the superspeedway.
What happened instead was that teams rethought their approach for several different reasons. Kevin Cywinski was one of the ring-leaders of this well thought out potential boycott.
“There are a lot of frustrated drivers. Several of them talked to me, and there’s some that want to, but there’s
a lot that can’t (boycott),” said the two-time series champion.
“The reason why it didn’t happen is because too many of the big teams with big sponsors, like the Timber Wolf team, the Menards car, the Jani-King team, and the 29-car which has a lot of Cup affiliations, said they couldn’t.”
Kevin Cywinski is not happy under the current state of ASA. Can you blame him?
“We have no sense of direction,” explained Cywinski. “We have no word from ASA as to what is going on next year; if there is going to be a next year and what’s happening for the rest of this year. We had to lay people off this week as a company because of the insecurity of what the future holds.
“We’re just looking for answers. A lot of the little teams are maxing out everything they can, but they aren’t getting any answers from the series.”
And they are not getting them, especially since series owner Steve Dale is nowhere to be found at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
“These drivers have not been paid and they want answers,” said 7-year ASA team owner Wade Stewart (Greg Stewart #33). “But it’s more than just the bucks. In any business there is give and take. We have given, given, given, but all ASA is doing is taking, taking, taking. We want Steve Dale to just sit down and communicate with us. I don’t have the answers, but my suggestion is for Steve Dale to come to this track and look everybody eyeball to eyeball and say, ‘This is what I can do.”
“We haven’t been paid for the last race; that’s not good,” added Garvey. “And you hear so much speculation as to why and Steve is not here and that doesn’t help anything. Steve should be here; he should be the one addressing the issues.”
“The fact that he is not showing up is pretty bad,” Kittleson said. “They say he is in meetings, but you know the schedule and you could plan your meetings around that. I think it’s wrong. These people are taking a beating and it’s wrong.”
This is not the first time this has happened either. Dale did not immediately show for the major mid-season ASA restructuring meeting after the first of three money mishaps on the season.
“He did this once before; he laid out a schedule and he stubbed his toe,” continued Wade Stewart. “Now he’s not delivering again. When we get, ‘We don’t know’s’ and ‘We’ll check into that’ from his Lieutenants and the ‘We really can’t say for sure,’ it’s not good. We know the series is in financial trouble. Right now rumors are running amuck. So I would like to ask Steve, and I will when I see him, ‘Which is better… the truth or a thousand rumors?’ I’ll take the truth every time.
“This is a matter of principal. Business is business and none of us back home could get away with running our businesses this way. He needs to step up to the plate. He needs to come to the track and say, ‘Hey boys, here I am. I know you probably want to throw tomatoes at me, but I’m going to lay it on the table for you.”
Mike Garvey speaks to our Bob Dillner.
As of late Wednesday night, ASA’s Macik did not know for sure whether or not Dale would be at the track on Thursday for the inaugural series event at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway, but he did say it was in his plans.
The issues arose during Wednesday’s drivers’ meeting when several drivers began to raise the point of not being paid for the Kentucky race. With the financial troubles the series is in, Cywinski even raised a good point by asking whether or not the series had paid the insurance for drivers and crewmembers that are at the track. ASA had assured the teams that it is in place.
Teams were also aggravated when ASA officials seemed unsure if they could guarantee the purse for the LMS race. For a time, the belief was that they may be racing for free, but speedway officials tell 51 that LMS itself has guaranteed the purse for the event.
To say the future of ASA is unstable is an understatement. Stay tuned for more details on this story.
“I knew a lot of people were talking about boycotting the race,” admitted Jani-King driver Mike Garvey. “I told them, ‘Guys I don’t want to spend the money, travel, motel, tires and so on and not race. We are here already so we are going to race.’ They had some valid issues, but this was not the time or place to stage the boycott.”
“I’m mad, but I certainly don’t want to boycott this one,” admitted series sophomore Travis Kittleson. “This race is important for a lot of us who are trying to get noticed.”
Important for the young kids because the track is just a stones-throw away from where most NASCAR Nextel Cup teams are based.
Yet, not being paid for the previous race is aggravating for these teams which do not have the high-dollar budgets that Cup teams do. In fact, teams consider what has happened as a slap in the face; especially after the mid-season restructuring debacle in which teams were told they would be paid the second Monday following each event. It is now four Mondays after the Kentucky race and the checks have not been distributed. ASA’s Senior VP John Macik, who denied the recording of our conversation but was willing to be quoted, simply stated that all efforts are being put forth to correct this matter.