CITGO ASA LEFTOVERS: LANIER... PART ONE by J. Troiano, B. Dillner & M. Dillner
Dale Reacts... St. Amant Speeds... Lapped Cars Trouble
"The southern swing has been good, but it could always be better," said Dale following Saturday night's Georgia race. "We haven't built the fan base yet and that is going to take time. People have to learn more about our series. Many people down here, outside the hardcore race fan, don't even know who we are. I don't think it will take long with the races that we put on like tonight.
"I always knew we had great competition and this year has just shown why. We got some of the best short track racers from all over the country and we get them together every week and they show us why they are the best.
"It was an exciting night. You take a night like tonight and just build on it. You make it better and better the next year and next year. That is what you do for many of these places. You just pick these tracks out that you want to go to on a year after year basis and make it a regular thing. I think we can build a big fan base by doing that."
STEVE DALE'S SOUTHERN SWING THOUGHTS
When Steve Dale took over ownership of the American Speed Association, people knew they were in for some big changes. While Dale has made several changes, some for the good and some the verdict is still out on, one of his biggest changes was a more of a Southern feel to open the 2003 season. With races in Florida, Texas, North Carolina and Georgia already completed, the series now moves back to the familiar grounds of the Midwest for its other 14 races. According to Dale, the start to the season has been a success.
ST. AMANT GETS A SPEEDING TICKET
For a long time in the Georgia race, it appeared that Gary St. Amant was back to his old self. St. Amant was running up front, leading laps and looking like the two-time series champion that he is.
But late in the race, St. Amant was penalized twice for speeding down pit road, once as the green flag fell on a restart and a second time just laps later while serving his first penalty.
Steve Dale congratulates Lakeland race winner Butch Miller in Victory Lane.
"I am a little upset with the ruling on pit road," said St. Amant after the race. "We have never had a pit road speed on the green. Two stop and go penalties on the green: I didn't think that was right. You never know; maybe they have changed the rule over the year and I didn't get informed of it."
Despite his good run, St. Amant finished 22nd, two laps down.
"We might have turned the corner a little bit tonight. We led some laps and I finally went to a race with Frankie and Auggie (Grill) where I didn't hit anything. That was a good thing. I think we had a great car and had some great strategy. We probably needed some tires at the end of the race. I feel like things definitely came together more for us here tonight."
PYLE UNHAPPY WITH LAGASSE & SHOWS IT
Robbie Pyle got moved out of the way, to put it politely, late in the race on Saturday night and then got plowed into by a helpless Glenn Allen Jr. Pyle wasn't too happy with the perpetrator, Scott Lagasse, and let him know it when he ran into him on the front stretch under caution.
"I got run into I guess. What do you do? I just got plowed into," said a ticked off Pyle after the event, where he finished two laps down in 20th. "I was going to go up and let him know how I felt and he was actually slowing and swerved down into me and made it look worse than it was going to be. We'll be back and we'll be up there in the future.
"I wasn't good enough to hold Garvey off because I was too loose in the corners. I held him off when I could. I tried to stay up there as much as I could with Garvey. I thought we were going to finish second and it would have been a good points day.
Pyle also had his own version of the Casey Smith / Kevin Cywinski accident that put him into first place.
"Kevin and Casey got together and that snuck us up into the lead," explained Pyle. "You can't count on anything at a small
place like this. Casey had it coming though. He ran into me, he ran into everyone he was behind. If I could have got up there, I would have moved him over. You race people how you get raced. You know who you can race fine and who you have to watch out for."
LAGASSE NOT SORRY FOR PYLE SPIN... #20 FAILS POST RACE
Scott Lagasse was not apologetic after his late race spin of Robbie Pyle in turn three with just a handful of laps remaining of Saturday night's race.
"I got a big run up off of two," said Lagasse. "The last couple laps he started crowding me up off of two. He was doing what he had to do and I was doing what I had to do. I just held my line. We both just drove it in deep and I locked my breaks up. He'll see the tape and see what happened and he will be fine.
Lagasse's car also failed post race inspection, but he will keep his second-place finish. The car was too low according to ASA officials. Lagasse's team was fined 10 percent of his earnings from the event and 50 championship points.
LITTLE GLENN'S GOOD NIGHT GONE BAD
"With five to go, a car got turned in front of us and we ran into him. We were going to finish in the top five again, so it was going to be a good day. A good night turned bad is what it was."
That's how Glenn Allen Jr. described his night at Lanier.
"We will just have to take our licks and go into the next one," added Allen, who ended up 21st. "Things are going well for us. It is just a shame that we don't' have enough
funds to do it. Every penny we get out of the car is going right back into it, plus Ed (Hock, owner) is chipping in money. It is probably a $7,000 swing from the fourth place finish I thought we could have to where we ended up, plus the car is wrecked."
That's not good for this under-funded promising team. Hopefully help will be on the way.
KLUEVER NOT HAPPY WITH HOW THE RACE ENDED
Todd Kluever appeared to be on his way to a second-straight race with a top-10 finish and his #55 Sign 1-1 car home in one piece. That all flew out the window on the last lap when he was involved in an accident that damaged several cars.
"It seems like all season, the last 25 or 50 laps of these races you just dodge spinning cars," said a dejected Kluever standing by his wrecked race car after the event. "Everyone thinks they can win these races. What can you do? We went 200 with like four cautions and then had six or something in the last 25 laps or so. It is ridiculous.
"We went into three and the 44 (Peter Cozzolino) got into the 2 (Chad Wood) and I went to the outside to miss it and there was oil all over the track. There wasn't anything I could do and I slammed into the wall. There was no saving it. We finished, that is alright. I guess it's how you have to look at it, but the car is thrashed. Again, what can you do? So much for being the best Short Track racers in the country."
Robbie Pyle's #63 was heavily damaged in the accident and the post-accident drama that unfolded.
St. Amant's #7 was a little too fast down pit road... twice.
Glenn Allen's #53 had no where to go when Robbie Pyle spun in front of him.
WOOD ANOTHER LAST LAP VICTIM
Chad Wood, who has shown that consistency and patience do pay off, was in contention for a top-10 finish as he was about to come to the white flag lap. But a tap from Peter Cozzolino sent Wood around in turn four.
"This is just crazy," said Wood, who finished 12th. "We were so happy to just ride around and come home in seventh where we were running at the time. Then all hell broke loose and we are out of the top-10. One guy's impatience cost us a lot of money and five or six positions. There are some guys out there that are just crazy."
BEEBE FRUSTRATED WITH LAPPED TRAFFIC AND WRECKED RACECARS
Rick Beebe is having one of his best ASA seasons. His recently purchased car from Roush Racing was working well and keeping him near the front, but all the momentum went down the porcelain toilet on Saturday night when he was involved in an accident with several lapped cars.
"My night went to hell quick," said Beebe, who finished 28th. "We had over heating problems early in the race. We had to pit a couple times early to get that fixed and that put us in the back of the pack. It actually worked out well, because we got our pit stops done and that would have been a big advantage if we wouldn't have got caught up in a wreck.
"The guy in front of me spun the guy in front of him and the guy behind me wasn't watching and pushed me in the middle of it. It tore the front end off of the car. So we just got everything tore off of it that we could and tried to keep the car running. We took a major hit in the points with a bad night like this.
"We are putting on a good show for the fans but it is awful tough for the pocket books. We are starting to look like the Busch series in the fact that if you can't pass someone you just wreck them. It didn't used to be like that in this series,
but I guess that is just racing these days. I just don't like wrecking someone to pass them. It looks like a lot of these younger drivers are just used to doing what they see on TV every week."
COPE ANOTHER FRUSTRATED INDIVIDUAL
"It is frustrating out there," said Cope. "(ASA) needs to do something about some of these guys driving some of these cars. It is terrible out there. I have never seen racing this bad as far as wrecking. I learned a long time ago that if you are laps down, you get your ass out of the way. These guys want to race these people and they cause bigger wrecks. A lot of good cars got wrecked tonight that didn't need to."
The #5 of Rick Beebe sits backwards after being invovled in an accident with several lapped cars.
Chad Wood was another victim of the last lap chaos.