ASA LEFTOVERS: KENTUCKY Presented by CITGO / MDA by Jeremy Troiano
Downey, Spence, Baber, Rookies, Kluever & More
BRENT DOWNEY UPDATE
Brent Downey, who was involved in one of the scariest accidents of the night, was released from the hospital and is now resting comfortably at home.
Downey was involved in a lap 67 accident that saw his #22 slam nearly head on into the turn three wall at full speed. It appeared that Downey might have gotten clipped in the left rear and turned into the wall as the pack of cars he was in was being over taken by the leaders. However, team members seem to indicate that they believe the car may have blown a right front tire.
Brent was transported to the local hospital to be evaluated following the accident after he was assisted out of the car by paramedics and placed on a backboard for precautionary reasons. His injuries included a broken foot, a cut on his arm and hyperextended tendons in the back of his neck.
Mark Downey, owner of the No. 22, posted a note on ASA's website extending a public thank you to the entire team of Joey Miller. As Downey's team was working in the impound area, Miller's crew chief Bond Suss and crew proceeded to move Downey’s pit equipment from the track to the team's hauler.
“We didn’t know they were going to do that, and we didn’t ask them to do that,” Downey said. “They did it on their own and it was an immense help.”
ASA OFFICIALS OK
ASA's Ross Wellman informed the drivers and teams during Saturday's driver's meeting that two ASA officials whose homes were directly in the path of Hurricane Ivan were ok and that their property received minimal damage.
Regular Race Director Dan Spence and his wife Nancy had just minimal damage to their home located just outside Mobile (AL). They didn't have power or phone service as on Saturday and weren't able to make it to the track for the race. Wellman, who acts as a secondary Race Director when Spence is at the track, took over the duties on Saturday.
Official Jack Baber, who also lives in Southern Alabama, survived the storm with just minimal damage to his home. He said shingles and siding had blown off of his house, along with his DISH Network satellite system, but that he had power and phone service. He said the worst damage came from water that leaked inside the home during the storm.
“First, Carol and I want to thank all of you for your concern and prayers over the past week,” said Baber. “We really appreciate your support as we went thru an uncertain time for sure until we could get home. My damage is minimal compared to the devastation just eight miles away in Gulf Shores (AL). The eyewall passed directly over Foley which caused a lot of damage but actually saved our city from what Pensacola (FK) & western Baldwin County received.”
REFFNER OWED ONE
There were few heartbreakers on Saturday night more overwhelming than that of Bryan Reffner.
Reffner looked to have the car to beat in the middle and late stages of the race, but with just a handful of laps to go, and Reffner in the lead, his car swooped up a piece of racer's tape on the grill, which caused the car to overheat and starting cutting on and off. When his car cut off coming off of turn two with just four to go, it made for an easy pass by Mike Garvey for the race lead.
“The car started overheating and was shutting off. There was just too much debris out there,” said a very
disappointed Reffner, who finished seventh after continuing to fall back. “Mike had new tires and caught us, but he wasn’t going to pass us. He was too tight behind me.
“It is a heartbreaker here because we really wanted to win here. I ran that first (NASCAR Craftsman) Truck Series race here and led most of that before we came in for the last pit stop and had a bad stop. This place owes me two now. It is getting hard to come back to this place.
“We thrashed on this car overnight. We didn’t sleep much and worked hard at it. We were fast in the first practice on Friday. The we tried some stuff that we thought would make it better and it was actually worse. Fortunately for us, it was good, because we learned what the car wanted. It was just backwards to normal thinking.”
FROM SECOND TO 14th FOR KLUEVER
When veteran races Todd Kluever found himself running in second place with a handful of laps remaining in Saturday night’s ASA National Tour race at Kentucky Speedway, it looked like things might finally be changing for the better in his frustration-filled season.
To say that Kluever has had a frustrating racing season in 2004 would be an understatement. Any quirky problem that can happen to a racer has seemed to have occurred. He started out the season with his race hauler wrecking in Georgia on the way to a test. He has had a shock break being dropped off the jack during a pit stop and he has been in the wrong place at the wrong time when other cars have started wrecking.
Bryan Reffner (#80) chases down eventual race winner Mike Garvey early. (High Sierra)
However, it was not to be yet again, as an overheating problem dropped him from what possibly could have been his first ASA podium finish to a disappointing 14th place finish at the checkered flag.
“This has been the story of our year,” said Kluever. “Even when you run well you get a kick in the pants. These guys on this team really needed a good run. We've struggled and struggled and this year we have flat out been getting our tails kicked. Tonight, we didn’t. We came here and we raced hard and everyone knew that. We were one of the top cars here by far.
For much of the night, Todd Kluever was in a class of his own compared to most others in the field. (51 photo)
Kluever would have played the last caution period different if he had known how bad the problem would become.
“I wish I had it to do over again. On our last caution, I wish I could have gone back and have come in,” said Kluever. “That is the story of our season though.
“I knew that I didn’t have anything for the #17 (Garvey) or the #80 (Reffner) for most of the night,” said Kluever. “I knew that our car was going to be good though and at the end, I could run with those guys. I was a little surprised about that.
“We’ll just go home and work on it a bit. Next time, I’ll spray more Pam (cooking spray) on my grill,” joked a frustrated Kluever, finally, with a little smile creeping up on his face.
ROOKIE POINTS SHAKEUP
Heading into the Kentucky race, the rookie points battle in ASA was close. Leaving Kentucky, it is even closer.
Casey Smith was the furthest back before Kentucky. He was over 110 points out of the RoY lead. Leaving Kentucky, Smith is still the furthest back, if fourth place, but is now less than 65 points out of the top spot following a solid sixth-place finish. Coupled with accidents and finishes outside the top-15 for Brett Sontag, Stephen Leicht and Wade Day, the rookie race is four-men strong heading into the last two races.
DOUBLE DUTY RESULTS
Brent Downey's accident was a big one, but thankfully, he was ok following the near full-speed accident. (High Sierra Photos)
Caution reared its ugly head again on Lap 117 when Kris Stump spun at the exit of turn four and hit the wall. His car, like many others, was damaged too bad to continue. The incident also involved Jeff Streeter and Tim Sauter, who spun to avoid the mess.
“We’ve had an awful car since we started,” Stump said. “We were fighting free in the middle of the corner. Then, with no changes, the car was pushing like a dump truck off the corner. We put tires on to free it up and, out of nowhere, I lost it off four.”
As we reported here previously on 51, two drivers pulled double duty during Saturday's events, competing in both the NASCAR Southeast Series race and the ASA event.
Joey Miller and Kevin Clark both came away with top-five finishes in the Southeast Series race. Miller came home fourth and Clark fifth.
Clark, a part-time racer the Southwest Series from Colorado, finished 18th in his ASA debut after starting 37th. Miller wrecked out and finished 33rd.
Joey Miller wrecked out of the ASA race, but finished 4th in the SES event. (High Sierra)
Travis Kittleson has had a rough go of it as late. His bad luck continued on at Kentucky.
Kittleson, who likes the big tracks, had the help of veteran NASCAR crew chief Patrick Donahue at Kentucky as a consultant. There was some hope that things would turn around with Donahue's help and the visit to the speedway.
Things were looking good for Kittleson, who's car was one of the fastest on the track and made it up to third before, on lap 85, Kittleson spun and slammed into the turn four wall. Kittleson was battling Todd Kluever at the time.
Kittleson's #30 was destroyed after his accident. (51 photo)
Crew chief Gary Crooks informed Speed51.com while Kittleson was still in the infield care center that the team didn't know what made the car go around but didn't think it was contact from the #55 of Kluever. They were speculating on a blown left rear tire.
Kittleson had the wind knocked out of him but was otherwise ok. He finished 28th.
TRIPLE HEADER ATTENDANCE
Kentucky Speedway officials announced the official attendance for “The Tripleheader Fall Classic” was 26,590. The event, which concluded the 2004 race season at Kentucky Speedway, hosted the IPOWER Dash Series, NASCAR Southeast Series and ASA National Tour.
CLICK HERE To View The Second Part Of ASA Leftovers: Kentucky