While Tuttle neither confirms nor denies anything, it looks that the ASA veteran is possibly getting his team involved with NBA star Reggie Miller, who is also a client of Tuttle's personal security agency. Miller wears the #31 and plays for the Indiana Pacers, whose colors are blue and gold.
Rumors are also swirling that Tuttle is close to hiring a veteran crew chief who has won ASA championships. Tuttle could confirm that he is still looking for both sponsors and crew members. A few members of Joey Clanton's 2002 Championship team were in Lakeland helping Tuttle on Friday. Anyone interested in information on sponsorships or becoming a member of the crew can visit RussTuttle.com
PYLE FASTEST IN PRACTICE
Robbie Pyle, working with new crew chief Bill McGowan, was the fastest in practice, turning a lap of 21.789 seconds around the .75-mile oval.
TUTTLE'S TALL PARTNER?
Looks on Russ Tuttle's 2003 car are rather interesting. Tuttle switched from the #16 of last year, running the #31 this season. The car is white and has blank quarter panels with blue and gold trim along the bottom.
DRAWDY'S FIRST TRY NOT SO GOOD
Rookie Justin Drawdy didn't have the kind of start he would have liked to his ASA career. Just after the Florida driver pulled out for his first practice of the day, he experienced problems with his oil filter, leaking oil all over his car and all over the track. Drawdy was 17th quick in practice.
Russ Tuttle's new number and color scheme offers interesting insight.
WIMMER'S ENGINE BLOWS
Chris Wimmer's 2003 season started about as well as his 2002 season ended. After just a few laps of practice, Wimmer's #05 blew a hole in the side of the engine block, forcing the team to have to go to a back up engine, missing the rest of Friday's practice sessions.
This is Wimmer's first race since moving his operation to North Carolina and working with new crew chief David Adams
ENGINES A PROBLEM
Wimmer's engine wasn't the only to expire on Friday. Both Country Joe Racing driver Kevin Cywinski and Kris Stump, driving for Noah Yoder, lost engines at various points during practice. Cywinski's team went to the back up car and practiced consistently in the top-five. Stump's misfortune happened late in the last practice session and the team was still working on fixing the car.
CONGRATS TO ST. AMANT
Gary St. Amant and his wife Traci are expecting their second child in September.
Reed Sorenson and Travis Kittleson were the fastest rookies all day long at Lakeland on Friday. Sorenson, driving for Automotive Promotions Inc and Bud Gebben, finised second on the speed chart, while Kittleson was fourth in his own equipment.
CARLSON A FULL TIME DRIVER?
Steve Carlson in entered in Saturday's race driving for Don Fanetti. Carlson's team indicates that they would like to run the entire season and hopes that sponsorship falls into place to allow them to do so.
GOOD FOR GARVEY
Things were going so well for Mike Garvey on Friday that he packed up and quit practice halfway through the second session. His teammate and owner, Bill Plemons, quit just after the start of the third session in his Hooters-sponsored car.
Chris Wimmer's engine blew a hole out of the bottom of the block on Friday.
"LITTLE" GLENN RETURNS IN STYLE
The biggest surprise during practice may have been Glenn Allen Jr, who was fifth quick. Allen spent last year crew chiefing for Russ Tuttle and tried his hand in a couple of races. Allen indicates that his plan is to run the first five ASA races this year and see where things are. He also said he is planning to run in five ARCA races.
BUGGAY TO BACKUP
Dwayne Buggay, the rookie who is under the watchful and helpful eye of Mike Garvey, turned only a few laps before stuffing his #45 into the turn two wall. The car was junked and the team had to pull out the back up.
RAIN PUSHES THINGS BACK
Heavy rains slowed all of the action at the track on Friday, pushing all three practice sessions back several hours. The last session actually ended under the lights, just as they will be running tomorrow evening.
YOUNGER MILLER MAKING ONE OF EIGHT
Joey Miller is in Lakeland looking to make one of his eight ASA starts in 2003. Miller is working with Bond Suss and will drive in a variety of different series in 2003, including ASA, Sunoco Super Series and the NASCAR Midwest Series.
Glenn Allen Jr. is back behind the seat.
FAMOUS RACING SON IN LAKELAND
After making one ASA start more than two years ago, Scott Lagasse Jr. was back on track Friday. Lagasse, under the guidance of his famous racing father, Scott Lagasse Sr., hopes to make at least five and up to eight starts in 2003 in hopes of running full-time in 2004. Lagasse made the first start of 2001 at St. Augustine Speedway.
MONO, NOT RAIN, PUTS HEMPHILL UNDER THE WEATHER
Rookie Ryan Hemphill is racing this weekend with Mono. Hemphill says that he has been sick ever since moving to Wisconsin to take over the wheel of the #11 Meijer Pontiac from David Stremme. Despite the sickness, Hemphill finished the day seventh fastest.
LARGE CAR COUNT
47 cars were on the grounds and will take qualifying attempts on Saturday.
Robbie Pyle was the fastest in practice, followed by Reed Sorenson. Butch Miller was third, Travis Kittleson fourth and Glenn Allen Jr. fifth. Doug Stevens, Ryan Hemphill, Kevin Cywinski, Mike Cope and David Hole rounded out the top-10. 11-20: Rick Beebe, Brett Sontag, Gary St. Amant, J.C. Beattie, Casey Smith, Greg Edwards, Justin Drawdy, Scott Lagasse, Bryan Reffner and Stephen Leight.
Ryan Hemphill is under the weather in the Sunshine State.