Atlanta's "Big One," Martin Talks About Retun, Leicht Loses Early

Many drivers attributed the ASA race on Friday night much like a Cup or Busch race at Talladega or Daytona, despite many of them not taking a part in one before.

Along the lines, people spent much of the day talking about the chances of “the big one,” an accident that takes out several cars because of the close proximity of the racers.
It happened on Friday night… sort of.

On lap 46, contact between Kyle Krisiloff and Gary Sherman, running sixth and seventh at the time, resulted in an accident that took out those two and six others, including Robbie Pyle, Trevor Stewart, Greg Stewart, Jimmy Henderson, Ryan Unzicker, Ken Butler and Alex Yontz.

It appeared that Krisiloff, who was running on the low side heading into turn two, moved up the track and got into Sherman, who was past Krisiloff’s door before the accident happened.
Kyle Krisiloff's #06 sat wrecked in the pit area following Friday night's "big one."  (51 Photos)
“It’s no excuse.  The guys have worked hard this year.  It is a shame what happened.

“I don’t want guys aggravated with me.  All I can say is that I’m sorry.  I go out there every race trying to do well just like the rest of them.  I can’t really say anything else about that.”

There were plenty of guys frustrated with Krisiloff.
“The 06 car (Krisiloff) took someone out again,” said a frustrated Robbie Pyle, who led several laps early in the race.  “They need to think real heavily about getting him out of a race car before he hurts himself or someone else because something happens every race.

“We were just playing it smart out there and racing around.  We were just learning what it takes.  You get out of line here and you get shuffled back big time.  I shuffled myself around out there a couple of times.”

“I hate to blame it on anyone, but I saw the 06 get into the side of the 57 car (Sherman) and he spun around and took out everyone,” said Unzicker.   “We rented this car from the Wood Brothers and got it ready in two days.  After our wreck at Lowe’s, we had to rent a car.  This year has been terrible.  We’ve had cars that could be top-five cars a couple of times this year but we keep getting involved in accidents.

“This is a good series.  There is no reason we should have this many cautions and tear up this many cars.  These guys are too good.”
“I just saw Krisiloff sideways,” said Stewart, who was running in the top-10 at the time.  “I got into Robbie (Pyle) and probably turned him around.  I apologize to him for that.  It was pretty wild for that point in the race.

“It was going to be one of our best finishes of the year for sure.”

But it was Sherman who was really livid win Krisiloff.  He decided that he’d better not go and have a talk with the youngster following the accident. 

“I better cool off first or I’ll end up behind bars.”

Robbie Pyle's (top) and Ryan Unzicker's (bottom) cars have seen better days.  (51 Photos)
Reed Sorenson and Mike Garvey were homestate competitors and got quite a few cheers during pre-race introductions.  Marc Mitchell, driving his Auburn University-sponsored car got a few boos from the Georgia faithful fans.

But the biggest cheers came for NASCAR Nextel Cup star and former ASA Champion Mark Martin.

Martin was making his return to the series for the first time since 1996.  The three-time champion, driving a Logano Motorsports car, had to start in the back of the field, but quickly moved to the front.  Martin used is drafting experience to work his way to the front with the draft-dependent ASA cars.
Mark Martin shares a laugh with young Joey Logano at Atlanta.  (51 Photo)
“This was not the ASA of old, that is for sure,” said Martin at the end of the night, following his fifth-place finish.   “This is quite different from the ASA I grew up on. 

“I’d like to do this sometime on a short track somewhere.  Maybe that would feel like the ASA of old.  This wasn’t the ASA I grew up with.  This felt a lot like a Cup race at a restrictor-plate track.  It felt a lot like Talladega.”

“The 06 car (Krisiloff) flat took me out,” said a frustrated Sherman, on his way to his best-career ASA finish.  “He turned me around in the center of the corner.  There was nothing you can do from there.  I am very frustrated right now.  I’d like to have a few words with him or maybe catch him in a dark alley somewhere.”

Krisiloff had to come from the back and was running three-wide and even four-wide at times.

“The three-wide and four-wide stuff is just racing here,” said Sherman.  “But he’s done this too many times to me.  He’s done this about the last five weeks.  It has to stop somewhere.  He is junking a lot of cars along the way.  Some of us have to pay for them.”
Krisiloff took the blame for the accident on his shoulders.

“We had a good car all night,” said Krisiloff.  “We were coming up through the field.  I was working the high line real good.   Butch (Miller) had a little bobble and I went to the inside and no one went with me.  People started to go by on the outside. 

“The whole night, the reason why I was running up top was that because my car was real free and I was running up the track trying to chase it.   My spotter said clear high and I knew I wasn’t clear, but when he said it I just twitched the wheel and hit the guy. 
There was plenty of wrecked equipment sitting in the ASA garage area on Friday night.  (51 Photo)
Butch Miller finished third on Friday night.    But after the race, you would have thought he crashed out early.  He wasn’t happy.

“I’m still not a fond speedway racer,” said Miller, a three-time ASA National Champion.  “I would be much happier is they just took the roof spoiler off, took the restrictor plate out and gave us the five inch spoiler on the back and let us going racing.  I’m not much of a restrictor plate racer. 

“These cars out there tonight were very draft dependent.  It was much like racing at Daytona and Talladega. 
We finished better than I expected.  It was a matter of learning more to run these speedways.”

Something that we’ve always heard when it comes to racing at Talladega and Daytona is deal making between drivers.  The same went on Friday night amongst the ASA competitors.

“We made deals with two people and they immediately screwed us.”

It didn't take but one lap for one of the drivers battling for the Rookie of the Year title to have his hopes dashed at Atlanta.

Stephen Leicht, WalTom Racing's young phenom, cut a tire and brushed the wall on lap one, resulting in a green-flag pit stop that but him two laps down and subsequently out of the running for rookie honors.
Butch Miller was not happy how the race played out despite his third-place finish.  (51 Photo)
“I don’t know what happened early,” said Leicht.  “On the pace laps, it looked like I was the only one that was scuffing my tires. The track seemed to be a little dirty.  Maybe with these tires being as hard as they are.  You wouldn’t think that they pick up too much stuff.

But I came off of four on lap one and I felt (the tire) go down quick.  I got in the wall a little bit going into one.  I thought they would throw a caution with all of the stuff flying off the car but they never did until after I got in the pits (the caution was thrown for the accident of Tim Russell a few laps later).

“I lost two laps and got one of them back.  We got back up there to about 10th or 11th in line in the pack there.  .
Stephen Leicht (#4) was fast following his blown tire, but he was already a few laps down.  (Bob Milner Photo)
“It is a shame because we had a good enough car to win the race.”

Leicht finished 19th

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