GARVEY & TEAM OUTSMARTS THE REST OF THE ASA FIELD by Jeremy Troiano
Caution After Caution Leaves Plenty Of Cars Banged Up
There was no doubt that by watching the ASA race on Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway you learned three things. Number one: Mike Garvey and Bryan Reffner were in a class by themselves. Number two: there are still plenty of people who question if the ASA cars should be on the fast, 1.5-mile speed plants like Kentucky. Number three: fresh BFGoodrich tires really did make a difference.
Garvey used all the facts stated above to dominate and win Saturday night's running of the BFGoodrich Tires 225 following 150 laps of wild action.
The key portion of the race came when Garvey was trailing Reffner, both of whom had spent most of the night running one-two in varying orders, and the caution came out for Kris Stump's accident. Garvey dove into the pits with about 25 laps to go for four fresh tires while Reffner and then-third place Todd Kluever stayed out on the track.
Garvey then came back out, stormed through the field and had made it back up to 10th when the caution waved again following Wade Day's accident with just 15 to go.
While things looked bleak and Garvey thought time might be running out, his Jani-King Chevrolet and BFGs hooked up and Garvey tore through the remaining competitors. He made it to Reffner's bumper with 10 laps to go and then stormed around his fellow veteran with just three to go and cruised to the checkers.
Surprising was the pass on Reffner however. Once Garvey caught Reffner, he looked like he had nothing for him. But coming off of turn two, Reffner appeared to just pull over and let Garvey pass on the outside easily.
“This (car) has been that good since we got here,” said Garvey of his dominating ride. “We had to be that good because Bryan (Reffner) was that good too. I don’t know if anyone else was as good as us though. (Wade) Day was pretty good. We were just a step ahead of the rest of them I guess.”
“We made that first pit stop and the car got real tight and I told the guys that I don’t think we can beat (Bryan) like this. So that late caution came out and I said lets put some tires on it. We didn't plan on pitting late like that. It was a call on the fly. I didn’t think we could win without trying it though. I thought we could only get second and we didn’t come here for second. We came to win.
“Then we had that big wreck (Day's) and I thought our chances was gone. I didn’t think we’d have time to catch them.”
It was about that time that Garvey caught Reffner and the real race was one.
“I thought we could pass him, but I knew it would be hard. We ran up on him fast. But that was easy to do with this aero package. I was faster than he was, but when I got to him I got aero tight. I was trying to figure out a good way to go, then he just pulled down. I heard his motor pop. I hate to see him have problems, but I guess that is racing.”
Over the last three laps, Reffner quickly faded from the lead to an eventual seventh place finish as the result of overheating. It was another bitter disappointment for Reffner at a track that he says “owes him.”
“The car started overheating and was shutting off,” said Reffner of his late race fade. “There was just too much debris out there. We picked up a huge piece of racer’s tape on the grill of all things. It covered the entire grill.
“Mike had new tires and caught us but he wasn’t going to pass me. He was too tight behind me.
“It's a heartbreaker because we really wanted to win here. I ran that first (NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series) race here and led most of that race, came in for the last stop and had a bad pit stop. So this place owes me two now. It is getting hard to come back here.”
Garvey (center) made the right call on the last pit stop, as did Butch Miller (left) and Reed Sorenson (right). (Milner Photo)
Kluever, who impressed many with his strong run during the evening, unfortunately befell the same fate as Reffner late in the race. While running third, his car too started to overheat and he dropped out of contention and was forced to try and hold on during the remaining laps.
He ended up a very frustrating 14th.
“It was the same thing that happened to Bryan,” said Kluever of his late race overheating problems. “All I can think is that we had to drive through that stuff first since we were running one-two at the time. The car was getting warm, but it cooled back down under yellow.
The racing at Kentucky was wild and unpredictable. (Milner Photo)
“I knew the car was going to be good. I knew we didn’t’ have anything for 17 or 80. I knew I could run with those guys. I knew I could catch up with them but I didn’t know if I would have anything to pass them. I didn’t seem to have enough to pull out and pass like they did.
“This just sucks because even when we do get things right, you still get a kick in the pants. We struggled and struggled and this year we have flat out been getting our ass kicked. Tonight, we didn't get our ass kicked. We came here and we raced and everyone knew we were running good.”
Butch Miller and Reed Sorenson finished second and third respectively and both also pitted for four tires late in the race.
The night was also full of plenty of incidents and wrecked race cars. A total of eight cautions filled the night's 150 laps.
Mike Garvey was the best of the best on Saturday, but he was after chased by Bryan Reffner (#80). (Bob Milner Photo)
The worst wreck of the night involved Indiana driver Brent Downey. Downey got clipped in the left rear heading into turn three on lap 64, shooting him nearly head-on at full speed into the outside wall. Luckily, Downey's car came to a stop without getting hit by any other cars bearing down on him. He had to be extricated from the car and was taken to the infield care center and eventually transported to a local hospital for further observation. He was awake and alert and moving around when he was being taken from the car.
Travis Kittleson, Joey Miller, John Dalziel, Greg Stewart and Kyle Krisiloff were all victims of accidents in addition to Day and Stump.
Fortunately, all of the drivers walked away, but the same could not be said for their cars.
Brent Downey (far left on backboard) was invovled in a very scary accident, but was awake and alert, but transported to the hospital for precautionary reasons. 51 sends our best wishes for a speedy recovery out and hopes to see Brent back soon. (51 Photo)
51 will have more recap from Kentucky this coming week, including leftovers and the driver's thoughts on the new aero package that was incorporated for the Kentucky event.