CYWINSKI USES TRACK POSITION TO HIS ADVANTAGE by Jeremy Troiano
Pyle Mounts Late Charge, Refuses To Bump Cywinski
Appearances can be deceiving and they certainly were Saturday in Texas. Predominant "nice guy" of ASA Robbie Pyle didn't bump Kevin Cywinski out of the way and allowed the '87 champ to score his first win of the season and the ASA point lead.
"I knew Robbie would race us cleaner than anyone," said Cywinski. "We all know that he wants to win and he is hungry for it, but we had a better car on restarts than him. I knew if I got a good restart and protected the bottom there was no way he could do anything with us.
"Track position here was everything. You really had to be good to pass. It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, so we just used that track position to our advantage. I know Robbie was a little bit faster, but it takes more than a fast car just to pass someone, especially at Houston."
Pyle's long-standing reputation of being the "good guy" may have hurt him again. Then again, his second propelled him to third in points behind Cywinski and Miller.
"We're pretty hungry here at WalTom Racing," commented Pyle,
After a lot of beating and banging, cars spinning and tempers flaring for 245 laps on Saturday night at Houston Motor Speedway, it appeared the Texas 250 ASA race was going to come down to a five-lap slobberknocker, with more beating and banging on the way.
"But Kevin has done nothing but race me fair since I've been here (in ASA). I know I was quicker than he was, but I just couldn't turn him to win the thing. Hopefully, we'll have more chances."
Yet, on a night where cars were getting turned around at a remarkable rate, it would have been par for the course. In the end, the good guy laid off and Cywinski found himself and the Country Joe Racing team in the Winner's Circle.
Cywinski can thank BFGoodrich and crew chief Mike Chaffee for getting him in the position to win.
Kevin Cywinski celebrates his Texas 250 win. (ASA photo)
"We knew going into the race that it would be one pit stop for gas, any possible adjustments and no tires. We got shuffled back during that pit stop and just had to wait for things to cycle back around. With this new pit stop procedure, you will find yourself in the back a lot, but you just have to be patient and let things work out. We knew the BFGs were good tires and would last as long as we stayed out to trouble."
And staying out of trouble is exactly what Kevin did on an evening that saw 14 caution flags wave. Despite the track's beautiful facility, the lack of rubber made it a one-groove track with everyone fighting for the bottom lane.
"It was really tough to work in a second groove. Early when I was behind Robbie, I tried him low a couple times and there was nothing there. You had to be content to just ride
"The facility was beautiful, but they ground the track a few weeks ago and had a ROMCO race on it, then ground it again, so there was no rubber on it. The track was smooth and we just had to work some rubber onto it. We picked up over a second from when we unloaded."
The win was big for Cywinski, which along with his second-place finish in the season-opener, vaulted him 28 points ahead of Miller. The win was equally as big for the team, who has spent less than a year together under new ownership of Joe Miller.
"It really makes the team happy. We've been chasing our tails all winter trying to get this team right and get (teammate) Joey (Miller's) running too. All of these guys have put in a lot of hours. Now, we're able to reward them with taking time off during the week."
Cywinski will try to make it two in a row while trying to keep Pyle and the rest of the ASA boys at bay in North Carolina this week. The ASA heads to Concord Motorsport Park for the BFGoodrich Tires 250 on Saturday at 9 p.m. 51 will be there covering all of the action.