Leicht, Williams Pound Wall... New Aero Package... Missing Drivers & More
RAIN CHANGES SCHEDULE, CANCELS QUALIFYING
The remnants of Hurricane Ivan just briefly brushed Kentucky Speedway on Friday morning and afternoon, but it was enough to throw off the entire day’s schedule.
With three different series competing during the weekend (ASA, NASCAR Southeast Series & DASH), significant changes to the schedule had to be made.
The DASH and ASA cars elected to cancel their qualifying efforts and line their cars up via the owner’s point standings. It is the third race in a row for ASA qualifying to be canceled and the cars to be lined up by the point standings.
The NASCAR Southeast Series cars went ahead and qualified instead of taking a second practice session and it looked as if they went ahead and lined up by points as well. Points leader Jeff Fultz put his car on the pole and was followed by Erik Darnell, just .020 seconds behind. Indianapolis (IN) businessman Ray Skillman put his car third on the grid.
“We found the attitude of the car was the biggest thing here,” said Fultz, who grabbed the pole after just clocking in with the seventh quickest time in qualifying. “The crew really worked hard and they know what this means to me being my hometrack. They guys went to work and built me a new car for here.
“It was a good lap. I had it right on the edge.”
Jeff Fultz was "THE MAN" on Friday during SES qualifying. (51 Photos)
One of those drivers was Jason Hogan.
Hogan has planned to fly to Kentucky, but got to the Atlanta airport late, just to find out that his evening flight had been canceled. Therefore, Hogan and the team had to make the overnight drive to Sparta (KY).
“We got in at 4 am or so and had to get up to get ready to go to the track at 6 or 7, then the rains came at the track and we never even got on the track until around 4:30 pm,” said Hogan. “It has made for one long day all because of this stupid rain.”
LEICHT SLAMS INTO WALL DURING PRACTICE
Stephen Leicht has problems the last time he was at Kentucky Speedway.
He had them yet again on Friday afternoon.
Leicht, after just turning the fastest lap in the first practice session up to that point, lost control of his #4 WalTom Chevrolet and slammed into the outside wall in turn four. The car was totaled and the team had to go to a backup.
“It was the first time on the track and I was trying to get used to the car,” said Leicht. “We got going pretty good, getting the feel of the car and the steering just felt stiff. The car got loose and I had it saved, but the car caught and went around on me again and I just couldn’t keep up with it.
“It’s a shame because these guys worked really had. We just have to go to the back up. I think we’ll be fast in that
car. We just have to work on getting all of the aero stuff off the wrecked car and onto the backup.”
Leicht came back and posted the 17th quickest lap in the final practice session.
WILLIAMS THE ONLY SES CASUALTY
Veteran Dusty Williams was the only casualty to hit the wall in practice for the SES cars on Friday. Williams spun in turns one and two and just caught the wall. He was able to come back and qualify 16th for the race.
NEW AERO PACKAGE
The new aero package will get its first test in “race conditions” on Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway.
The package was tested by Glenn Allen Jr. and Joey Clanton at Kentucky earlier this year and implemented to help slow the ASA cars down. Back in May, Jay Middleton captured the pole speed at 31.530 seconds. In Friday practice sessions, the fastest lap turned was also turned by Middleton at 33.111 seconds.
Stephen Leicht's #4 comes to a rest after hitting the wall in practice as his teammate Robbie Pyle (#63) goes by.
“I’m not quote sure of what to think of the aero package yet,” said Travis Kittleson. “I think it could be a little dangerous actually. I think we are going to be in a tight pack of cars during the race and I don’t know how good that will be.”
Several drivers also indicated that the cars seemed a little more unstable with the new package as compared to the old.
“I don’t know about anyone else’s car, but my car seemed to move around a lot more and was different than it was back here in May,” said Casey Smith. “We’ll see how it races. I could tell that you can suck up on someone a lot easier now with this new aero deal.”
The new aero package could make for some interesting and close racing on Saturday.
“We’re running a restrictor in the intake so drafting comes into play,” said Bryan Reffner. “I had a great tow from Butch Miller. We sucked up on him, just timed it right and put a good lap on the board. We couldn’t run that (time) by ourselves, not to say we don’t have a good car, we have a really good car.
“When you get that restrictor stuff, drafting can play into hand. Drafting will be a huge factor (in the race). Last race we fanned out and I don’t think we’ll see it this time. We had a good car when we raced here in the spring, this is the same car and we’re just happy with it. Hopefully, we keep it going for the race.”
“The car is off a little bit right now. We have a whole different aero package with the rear spoiler and roof spoiler,” Kevin Cywinski said. “We were able to draft a little bit to see what it did in there and I think the car was good in the draft.
NEW LOOK FOR THE ASA CARS
The ASA cars have a different look as compared to the last time they were at Kentucky Speedway back in May.
The cars are running a new “aero” package with “wickerbills” running across the top of the roof and on the front valance. They are also running a “lip” on the rear spoiler.
The changes were made in an effort to try and slow the cars, as well as make a little better racing.
LONG ROAD IN FOR MANY TEAMS
Several teams coming from the south had some tough travel times on their way to Kentucky Speedway thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Ivan, which devastated much of the southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.
This is the new roof "wickerbill" that adorns the tops of all the ASA cars.
SOME DIFFERENT NAMES IN THE SES FIELD
While Jeff Fultz and Erik Darnell line the top of the Southeast Series field, there are a few different names in attendance as well.
Southern All Star Series points leader Gary Helton is at Kentucky and qualified sixth on Saturday’s event. Stanley Smith, a regular in the Southern Super Late Model ranks, is also at Kentucky and will start 12th.
AJ Frank makes a return to the series. Colorado drivers Daniel Mientka and Kevin Clark are at the track and in the starting lineup, as is ROMCO driver Bradley Reithmeyer,
who is driving fellow Texan Robert Richardson’s backup car.
Finally, aspiring racer and part-time model Leilani Munter is in the field and will start 22nd in the 28-car lineup driving a car that eerily resembles David Stremme’s TrimSpa Busch ride.
SOME DIFFERENT NAMES IN THE ASA FIELD
There are a few new and different names in the ASA field at Kentucky as well.
Jason Dietsch makes his return to the Jeff Miller-owned #5 at Kentucky. Part-time rookie Dominic Vara also returns to the series after a long absence.
Stanley Smith is one of the non-SES regulars in the field this weekend.
Perennial underdog Greg Williams is back, driving Ed Brown’s #60 entry. Williams was solid in the first practice session on Friday and sat out the second session.
Ryan Unzicker, Tim Russell, Troy Wangrin and Jayme Bolkovac, who looked really good in the final practice on Friday night, all return as well.
Finally, Jason Setser, the ASA Late Model regular, makes his ASA speedway debut this weekend.
In all, 37 cars will take the green on Saturday evening.
Greg Williams is back in action this weekend.
TWO OF THE TOP THREE FROM MAY NOT IN THE FIELD
Scott Lagasse Jr. and Glenn Allen Jr., who finished first and third in the May ASA race at Kentucky respectively, did not return this time around to defend their spots on the podium.
Word is that since Lagasse recently signed a deal with Chip Ganassi Racing to be a part of their driver development program, the team, which was mostly owned by Scott Nelson, has decided to cut back.
Nelson’s plan was to get Lagasse a shot in the big time and that he did. Lagasse may return at either Lowes and/or Atlanta.
Glenn Allen Jr.’s car was at the top of the final practice session, but “Little Glenn” wasn’t behind the wheel. The car that he finished third in back in May was bought by Jay Middleton, so Allen was working in the garage area with Kris Stump.
“My car’s fast,” Glenn said with a smile in the garage area on Friday night. “Too bad I’m not in it!”
MILLER & CLARK DOING THE DOUBLE
Both Joey Miller and Colorado’s Kevin Clark are pulling a double on Saturday by racing in both the ASA and Southeast Series races.
Miller qualified 10th the SES race and will start 23rd in the ASA race. Clark, who will be making his first start in both series, will start 19th in the SES race and 37th in the ASA event.
CHAPMAN FASTEST IN THE DASH SERIES
Johnny Chapman led the 18 DASH cars in attendance in practice. Kevin Williams was the only car to get into the wall.