PORTER BREAKS THROUGH TO WIN AT JENNERSTOWN by Mike Twist
Hotshoe Makes Tires Last 250 Laps to Score First ASA Victory
Usually it’s bad news when a caution or red flag comes out late in a race when you are on old tires. This is especially true when you have a healthy lead over hungry guys with fresher rubber.
So Toby Porter could not have been very happy to see a red
flag come out with only 26 laps to go in the ASA National
Series event at the Jennerstown. He had not changed tires
the entire race and a hard-charging group, that
included Bryan Reffner, Mike Garvey and Reed Sorenson, on his tail.
On top of all of that, Porter was searching for his first career ASA win. Porter had spent several years of part-time driving making it in ASA before landing a full-time ride in 2004.
Now that is pressure.
“As a driver all kinds of things go through your mind at a time like that,” said Porter. “I was sitting in the car during the red flag and thought that the tires were cooling and the air pressures were settling down and I worried about going back to green. I didn’t know if my old tires would come back. When I through the first corner after we went back green, I knew that the car was just as good as before.”
“Toby took a gamble not getting tires and it paid off for him,” said Reffner. “We got tires and we got tight when we did. That slowed us up and worked in his favor.”
The decision not to take on new tires was actually one that Porter and his team made on Friday afternoon during their first practice session at Jennerstown.
Reed Sorenson (L) talks to Mike Garvey (R) before the start of the race. Garvey would eventually hold off the youngster for third.
Toby Porter notched his first ASA victory at Jennerstown. (Milner Photo)
“I watched Cywinski and a few other guys run well on old
tires through some of the races this year like Lake Erie,”
said Porter. “There was new pavement here and on Friday we ran 100 laps without hardly any tire wear. We decided on Friday to get out pit stops out of the way early and not
change tires. It worked out pretty well.”
So the gambled paid off and Porter found ASA's Victory Lane for the first time after coming close many times.
"I’ve won in just about every series that I have raced in,”
said Porter. “This was only my 23rd start in ASA and to win that quickly is pretty special.”
Bryan Reffner (#80) chases the #11 of Toby Porter. (Milner Photo)
The race was memorable, but not quite as special, for a few other drivers as well.
The late race red flag came as a result of an ugly looking wreck between Jay Middleton and Mark Mitchell on the backstretch. Mitchell’s #70 car caught the outside retaining wall and rode along the top of it, barely staying inside the racetrack. His car ended up on its roof in turn three. Thankfully, both drivers were uninjured.
When the green came back out, Porter rocketed back to a
strong lead. Reffner kept him within his sights, but that
was the best he could do in an attempt to take the lead away.
“We were hoping with that red flag that maybe Toby’s tires
would harden up a little bit and we could get him on the
jump,” said Reffner. “It didn’t work out. He played the
strategy to his favor. He had the best car and he deserved
The newer tires were actually a disadvantage for Reffner,
who took on new tires just before halfway.
The #74 of Jay Middleton and the inverted #70 of Mark Mitchell brought out the red flag with 26 laps to go. (51 Photo)
Reffner held on to second and Mike Garvey finished third.
The quickest car during the closing laps may have been the
#29 of Reed Sorenson. He ran in the bottom half of the top
10 all night and lined up sixth for the restart. In the last few laps, he made his way up to fourth, but ran out of time to catch the leaders.
“We were real good on restarts,” said Sorenson. “I was really trying to get on top of the wheel those last 50 laps. I was giving it all that I had. I was really trying to get a top-four finish.”
Butch Miller sat on the pole for the race, but faded in the race’s first half and ended up finishing 13th.
Points contenders Wade Day and Robbie Pyle both had bad nights.
Day had trouble before the race was 10 laps old and finished 32nd. Pyle got caught running into a spinning lapped car on the backstretch and finished three laps down in the 20th position. Kevin Cywinski finished sixth and retained the series point lead.
The next event for the ASA National Series will be in two weeks at the Milwaukee Mile (WI).