ASA's FUTURE STILL UNCERTAIN - PART TWO
Wheeler, Veterans Talk With Speed51.com About Money Problems
Veteran Bryan Reffner has been around the series for many years.  A former champion, and contender for the 2004 title, Reffner knows that Thursday night's events at LMS can only have one impact; a good one.  And with the future so close, that impact needs to happen now.
“It looks like something real is happening,” said Reffner as he stood and watched the LMS officials move in to take over the equipment.  “I guess maybe it is the best thing to happen as it might shed some light on things and get things in motion for next year.  Everyone is up in the air with what is going to happen next year and we are not getting any answers from Steve and ASA.

“You give someone your trust, you try to believe them and that is all you can do.  Once they lie to you and things don't come true, what do you do from there?  There is no trust.  What do you do?  We are racers.  Racers want to race and have the ability to trust the people we want to race for.
Bryan Reffner talks with Speed51's Matt Dillner at Lowe's Motor Speedway.  (51 Photos)
Another veteran, and the long-time “good guy” of ASA, has been very quiet on the situation all year long.  But following the Lowe's debacle, Butch Miller says that not enough credit is going to the drivers.

“I tell you what, we have a wonderful group of racers here,” said Miller.  “You know these guys have come out under almost the worst conditions.  I mean all of the competitors came out and they are here racing.  What more could you ask for?  What a great series.  I don’t like what is going on back at (ASA) headquarters, but I can't say that management is good at all.  I think the management is extremely poor at this point. 

“For the racers, this is a great series, we have a big group of cars and I am looking forward to next year, because someone along the line will look at this series and say 'yea, this is the one.'”

Rookies who hoped to make ASA either a proving ground or a possible place to make a living in the future has also had to deal with the hardships.    Wade Day is one of those guys.

“I'm frustrated,” said Day.  “I think ASA is the best bang for the buck.  I'd like to be running this again next year, but right now, my future is uncertain for sure.  All this definitely tarnishes what happens next year.  My car owner (Bob Harshbarger) called and said we ain't going to Atlanta, so I tried to convince him otherwise.  But then again, if there is no purse money and no points’ fund, then what is the point?”
Another series veteran, Mike Garvey, has also been quite adamant about what is going on in ASA.  He's been much more laid back in his conversations, but deep down, he's been feeling the pressure too.  Garvey, another well sponsored car with a high-profile sponsor in Jani-King, couldn't boycott the Lowe's race because of sponsorship, but said he is just as frustrated as everyone.

“Unfortunately, we haven't gotten paid for the last race,” said Garvey.  “And you hear so much speculation and Steve isn't here so that doesn't help anything.  He should be here if that stuff is going on.  He should be the one to address us, not sending other people out to do it for him.”
Garvey was another one of the drivers who sat in amazement as the Thursday night events unfolded at Lowe's.  And Garvey, usually one with quite an opinion and one not afraid to share it, sat in awe.

“I don't know what to say about what we are looking at,” said Garvey as the LMS officials and cops made their way in.  “It makes me really nervous.  It doesn't look good.  I don't know what to say.  I'm sure Steve is trying and working, but there are deadlines you have to work in.   You can’t keep going on and on and on.”

Garvey, even in more of a predicament, has to now look forward to the possible Atlanta race.  Right in the hunt for the championship, Garvey has to walk that line of whether or not to fix his car after it was hurt in an accident at Lowe's.

“How do you put money into something when you don't know if it is going to run again?  We have to put money into this thing to fix it.  Why fix something that you don't know will ever run again. 

“I'll be glad when the year is over.  I'm disgusted with everything.  I've got guys on a payroll.  If I can't pay them, I tell them.  I don't let them work for three weeks and then tell them I can't afford to pay them. Sometimes you need to be a man and step up.”
Mike Garvey was in awe when he saw what was happening after Thursday night's race.
Drivers, though, are not the only ones affected.  Just as much, if not more, are the car owners themselves.  And very few car owners in the entire garage area will speak up as much as Wade Stewart will, who owns his son Greg's cars.

But owners or drivers, their concerns are the same.

“I've talked with enough people and the frustration isn't all over the bucks,” said Stewart.  “The issues are that in any subject, there is give and take.  And we feel like we racers have given, and given and given.  And Dale and ASA has taken, taken and taken.  All we want is for Steve and ASA to sit down and start communicating with us. 

“My suggestion would be for Steve to come to the track, sit with the owners and drivers, look everyone eyeball to
Car owner Wade Stewart talks with Speed51's Bob Dillner at Lowe's.
eyeball and say here is where I am.   He did that before.  He laid out a schedule and he couldn't deliver.  He needs to now come back and communicate with us again.

“As long as we get 'we don't knows' or 'we can't answer that' or 'we'll check into that' from his lieutenants, it won't work.  We just want him to be forthcoming with us.  We know the association is in trouble.  All you get in return is rumor, rumor, rumor.

“I'd like to ask Steve personally which is better; the truth or a thousand rumors?  I'll take the truth every time.”

So the future remains up in the air.  The questions are still running rampant.  

Will everyone get paid for Kentucky?  Will there be a points’ fund?  Will there be an Atlanta race?  Will there even be a 2005?

And until any of those questions get answered, ASA will continue to sit stagnate... just like their equipment does on the grounds of Lowe's Motor Speedway.



“Hopefully whatever happens from here, it can be restructured from here under someone else.  We weren't headed down a good path before.  We weren't getting answers at all.  We were not told anything.  We had no idea if we were racing again or what.  Are we going to get paid?  Were we ever going to get paid?   Everything we were told before that was going to happen didn't happen. 

“For anyone with sponsorship, things like this needed to all happen a month ago.  We needed to have a plan and know there was going to be TV.  It makes it so hard from this point on.  To say you can go somewhere else is hard to do.  You can't run any other series for the money you can with this one, especially competitive-wise. 

Another highly-sponsored car and team is that of Toby Porter.  And he is in the same boat.  It seems like the biggest question now, is where do you go, not what happens with ASA.

“As far as my sponsors, it is pretty bad,” said Porter.  “I sold my sponsor a package that had TV and so many races.  Next thing I know they cut off two races and half the TV.  That leaves me standing there having to answer to my sponsor.  Here I am again, trying to get ready for next year, and here it is almost November and I have nothing to sell the sponsors on.   I've gone passed my cut off point.  Whether I go to another series or what is just what I have to look at.  And that is about the only choice I'll have; to go somewhere else.”

Porter said that if the Atlanta race happens, he'll go only because of his sponsor, but his pride as a race car driver would likely keep him away if he had the choice.
Tim Sauter, another former champion who practically cheered when everything went down on Thursday night, says he too will be looking for other options and that ASA is not the same. 

“Steve's ego is much bigger than his wallet.  We know that now,” said Sauter.  “All I can say is one to go and it is over.  This is the biggest joke I've ever seen.  I can't believe it.  This isn't the ASA of old. 

“Everyone everywhere who has ever run a business at any time has gone thorough times like this.  It is when you are honest and open, though, when people stick up and pull together.  That is what should have happened.”
Tim Sauter has indicated that he and his sponsor may go elsewhere in 2005.