ASA ENDS SEASON WITH WILD, WILD NIGHT by Jeremy Troiano
Wrecks, Fights, Repeat Winners and Repeat Champions
“Oh what a night”
The ASA season finale (and possibly series finale) pretty much mirrored the ASA season that had just passed, wild, entertaining and entirely unpredictable.
It started on lap one of the 60-lap event when pole sitter and points leader Kevin Cywinski fell from the lead all the way back to the seventh spot before 1.54-miles were even completed, exactly what he didn't need. The single-file restart kept many cars close together.
The first caution came for Tim Russell’s spin down the frontstretch. Then the cars pitted and it really got interesting.
Troy Wangrin led a couple of laps following the rounds of stops, then was followed up front by Reed Sorenson, Bryan Reffner and Tim Sauter.
Then, it got even more interesting.
Following a restart, with rookie Jay Middleton leading, Casey Smith and Reed Sorenson were on the charge. Going down the backstretch on lap 28, Smith had a run on Middleton for the lead when Middleton moved up to block and pinched both cars into the wall. The two cars spun and slammed the wall with Sorenson also getting a major part of the accident
The accident ended Smith’s and Middleton’s night and put Sorenson laps down, ending Smith’s shot at the Rookie of the Year title and Sorneson’s shot at the Championship, something both drivers looked like they were on their way to running second and third and going for the top two spots before the accident.
“I don’t know. I just don’t know,” said Sorenson of the accident. “I guess it was the same thing when he (Middleton) clipped Marc Mitchell at Jennerstown. He is an idiot. He’s been an idiot all year. I was following Casey Smith because this out there tonight was like a Talladega deal. It looked like Casey got on the outside of him and he just came up. I don’t know. (Middleton) is an idiot.
“We worked so hard all year and we got a chance in this last race and he screws it up for everyone. It seems dumb that someone who isn’t even in the points would take out me and Casey. Casey is sitting there going for the rookie deal as well as us going for the championship and our cars were working well together. I think we would have been tough to beat together. It seems selfish for Milddleton to do something like that.”
But the action wasn’t over yet.
On lap 46, after several more drivers took turns at running at the front of the field, the night’s second major accident took place. Kyle Krisiloff, who worked his way from the back of the field, got into the left rear of a surprisingly strong Gary Sherman. The two cars spun up the track, collecting six others in the process, including top-10 cars Robbie Pyle, Greg Stewart and Trevor Stewart.
Then, it got very crazy.
Reed Sorenson (top) was pushing Casey Smith into the lead when they tangled with Jay Middleton, ending their nights.
Mike Garvey was on the charge. Following a pit stop for a flat tire, Garvey flew through the field and trailed leader Bryan Refner Garvey made a move for the lead on lap 56 and never looked back.
Garvey grabbed the win over Reffner and third-place finisher Butch Miller. It was Garvey’s fifth win of the season.
“This is huge for us, especially after such a heartbreaker at Charlotte,” said Garvey. “Today we had some problems too. We had a flat tire when we ran something over in caution. These guys just stuck with it and it paid off. I’ll tell you what; it feels good to win the first ASA race in a long time at Atlanta right here at home.
Mike Garvey's win in Atlanta meant he swept the Georgia events in 2004.
“We wanted to win bad here at home, so we swept all the races in Georgia and that is what we wanted to do.”
While Garvey celebrated, Cywinski, who finished 10th, and Reffner both sat with their teams and cars near victory lane while ASA officials calculated and recalculated the points.
Then, Cywinski was announced as the champion, his second-straight and third overall, by just 10 points (unofficially).
“It wasn’t easy,” said Cywinski of the title. “We got caught a little behind there. Our speedway program wasn’t where it needed to be. But our guys worked on it hard. This car was good when we were being pushed. It was awesome and what we needed to do to get up there in the top-10.
“It means a lot. We won last year and to win back to back was our goal all season.”
But still, that wasn’t all the action. While Garvey and Cywinski celebrated in Victory Lane, the action in the garage area was hot and heavy.
At the end of this wild night, Kevin Cywinski was kissing the champinship trophy. (51 Photos)
Sorenson’s and Middleton’s teams got into a big shouting match which eventually led to several crew members trading blows in front of ASA officials, police and track security guards stepped in to break it up. Marc Mitchell and a couple of members from his team also got involved in the scrum after some words were exchanged between the two crews (Mitchell and MIddlteon were in an accident back at Jennerstown a coupe of months ago)
Wade Day finished fourth in the race, but second in the Rookie of the Year standings. That honor went to Brett Sontag, who came home seventh.
Mark Martin, returning to the series for the first time since 1996, finished fifth after starting near the back of the pack.
51 will have a lot more from the race winner, champion, rookie, and all the post-race wrap up, including more on the post-race fist-fights.