GARVEY THE KING OF IRP THIS SATURDAY NIGHT by Jeremy Troiano
After Coming Close The Last Past Two Years, Mike Seals The Deal
For the past two years, Mike Garvey found himself sitting on the Indianapolis Raceway Park frontstretch after the race, celebrating a good run but watching the winner spray water and get the cheers from all of the fans for a job well done. Both those years Garvey was the perennial “bridesmaid,” coming home second and falling just a bit short of capturing the checkers.
On Saturday, the bridesmaid turned into the bride.
Garvey dominated the Meijer 200 on Saturday night and redeemed himself from a freak problem at Madison (WI) just two weeks ago to get himelf back in the race for the ASA National Championship.
After being the fastest in practice, Garvey qualified third and took just 23 laps to get to the front. It would be that easy for him most of the night.
“The car was that good from the time we unloaded,” said Garvey, who also led both practice sessions despite a very limited time on the track Saturday afternoon. “We didn’t change a thing from when we got here. I thought ‘man, this thing is good.’ I knew we wouldn’t’ qualify really well. So we left it alone after practice and it got even better as the race went on.”
How good was Garvey’s #17 Jani-King car?
“With 10 laps to go (in the race), we ran a lap within a tenth of what we qualified. That shows just how good and stable this car
was. The car has to turn here. You are in the corner so long you have to keep your momentum up. This place is all about what the car feels like in your butt. We were really good on old tires, so I knew we would be strong.”
It wasn’t just all a 100-percent walk in the park for Garvey though. He had to fend off Kentucky winner and the night’s pole sitter Scott Lagasse Jr. and even had to dodge a couple of wrecks right in front of him.
One instance, just a few laps after Garvey had pitted and was coming back through the field, he barley missed the spinning car of Boris Jurkovic.
While the crowd gasped as the accident unfolded, Garvey admitted it wasn’t as bad as it had seemed.
“The only thing here is that if someone spins, you know they are going to go up because the track is so relatively flat. I kept looking and looking for them (Jurkovic and Ryan Unzicker), and as I turned down, I saw them and ducked low. It wasn’t as close as it probably looked from the stands. I was paranoid because I was thinking ‘where is he, where is he.’ It was probably a few feet I had getting around them.
“Scotty (Lagasse) was good. I was a little worried about him, but he seemed like he was just even with me. He could stay with me, but he couldn’t get around me if he was there.
Lagasse, who started off the year hoping to run the full schedule but has since cut it back to a part-time effort, said his car kept him from getting to Garvey, despite a time when he dramatically closed the gap with about 20 laps to go.
Garvey let off one of his trademark burnouts that filled the cool Indiana night with smoke.
“We were just a tick tighter than he was,” said Lagasse, who will return at Milwaukee hopefully. “He’s been the fastest here all day. We were just a tick too tight for him. That was the driver’s fault. That is just something you learn. I’m still in a learning mode.
“We were very fortunate that the car worked well down low. I was catching him running low and the car was just getting tighter and tighter. We were chattering the nose the last couple of laps and after that, I knew I was just gong to be running second.”
After a tough week at Madison where he suffered mechanical problems, it was a good points night for
Scott Lagasse Jr. was fast, but just didn't have enough for Mike Garvey.
Garvey, who was third in the standings heading into the IRP event. Points leader Kevin Cywinski finished third.
We dug ourselves a hole last week,” added Garvey. “We have to climb out. At least we are scratching back a little bit. We keep knocking 10, 15 points off here and there; we’ll be back in it.
“It is nice to finally win here. I really like this track. We ran second the last two races and now we’ve won this one. This place is like Lanier, your car has to really handle.”
And Garvey made it handle. It was evident on Saturday night as he finally celebrated as the bride and left the bridesmaid outfit for Scott Lagasse.
So, this story, much like the night, was about Mike Garvey.
Mike Garvery became the first repeat winner in ASA this year. (51 Photos)