CyberSpeed Racing Talladega race report

CyberSpeed Racing Has Very Positive Debut in ARCA RE/MAX Series; Ave Runs as High as Eighth; Cummins Finishes 18th TALLADEGA, Ala., Oct. 6 - CyberSpeed Racing's debut in the ARCA RE/MAX Series was a very positive one. Both of its Chevy Monte ...

CyberSpeed Racing Has Very Positive Debut in ARCA RE/MAX Series; Ave Runs as High as Eighth; Cummins Finishes 18th

TALLADEGA, Ala., Oct. 6 - CyberSpeed Racing's debut in the ARCA RE/MAX Series was a very positive one. Both of its Chevy Monte Carlos made the show; veteran Tony Ave ran as high as eighth; and rookie Skip Cummins set the second-fastest lap of the Food World 250 at Talladega Superspeedway here Friday and finished 18th.

Ave, of Mooresville, N.C., had a top-10 car, but unfortunately his CyberSpeed Racing Chevy Monte Carlo No. 87 was caught up in a multi-car accident at the end of the race when another competitor misjudged the running room available. Luckily no one was hurt but it spoiled Ave's great run due to no fault of his own. In addition to Ave, other drivers who were involved included Pete Shepherd, Blake Bjorklund, Billy Venturini and Brent Sherman. Ave had run in the top-10 or just outside of it the entire race except right after his pit stops, and he was 12th at the time of the crash.

The accident happened on lap 79 of what was supposed to be a 94-lap race. The series officials called the event complete two laps later because darkness was falling quickly and towing in the cars that were involved and cleaning up the oil on the track from the crash would have taken quite a few laps. Unlike Will Farrell's movie "Talladega Nights" would suggest, there is no night racing here because Talladega's 2.66-mile tri-oval isn't surrounded by lights.

Ave ended up with a 29th-place finish in the 41-car field, which is the same position he qualified in. Meanwhile Cummins, of Houston, brought his CyberSpeed Racing Chevy Monte Carlo No. 97 back without a scratch for an 18th place finish after starting 32nd. The native of Grove City, Pa. got a lap down when he had a problem with his gearbox on his first pit stop, but like Ave he had a very good race car. Timing and scoring reports had Cummins setting the second-fastest lap of the race, and he ran faster than all of the top-three finishers: winner Frank Kimmel, runner-up Steve Wallace and third-place finisher and fellow rookie Juan Pablo Montoya of Formula 1 and Indy 500 fame.

Ave was spectacular at the start. Although the Hurley, Wis. native qualified 29th, he had to start at the rear because the team changed his Monte Carlo's transmission before the race. When the green flag dropped he flew through the field, breaking into the top 10 for the first time on lap 17. Eight laps later he was in eighth place, running between Montoya and Justin Allgaier.

Both CyberSpeed cars made their first pit stops under yellow on lap 36 for Bryan Silas and Doug Reid's accident, receiving fuel and right-side Hoosier tires. The fueler for Ave's car, John Mickel, got fuel splashed into his eyes during the stop, but he was able to flush them with water and remain in the pits. Mickel, who is slated to drive in some NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races starting with the one in Martinsville, Va., on Oct. 21, will think driving is safer than being a pit crew member after his experience on Friday.

Since Cummins was making his very first stock car start, he did his best to be especially careful, and he dropped back initially until he got the feel of things. He was soon feeling comfortable and he did a great job too, although his run was hampered by the gearbox problem and poor visibility due to oil on his windshield. His highest running position was 15th.

Ave had a few other challenges too. Running three-abreast as often as he did took its toll and his car start to overheat. That was a big concern, although he was still in the top 10 on lap 60. The overheating situation got worse on lap 65 when Matt Hagans' Dodge blew a tire right in front of him on the frontstretch, and a big piece of rubber flew up into the front of Ave's car and caused a dent near the radiator.

Both of the CyberSpeed cars pitted for fuel on lap 66 so they'd have enough fuel until the finish. Ave's Pro-Motor-prepped engine continued to hold up and he was 12th when his accident occurred, while Cummins took the checkered in his first stock car race ever in 18th place, sandwiched between Timothy Peters and A.J. Henriksen.

Friday's race was televised later that night on SPEED.

Ave and Cummins will now focus on obtaining marketing partners and preparing their mounts for the 2007 season opener at Daytona, Fla., in February.

The Maiden, N.C.-based team's Web site is located at cyberspeedracing.us. Other information can be found at arcaracing.com and talladegasuperspeedway.com.

Driver quotes follow:

Tony Ave: "I knew if I could get this car into the show it would be a good race car, because this car has always raced good. The motor started to overheat, and then Matt Hagans blew a tire on the frontstretch and it hit the front of my car. That made it get really hot, and I had to do my best to try to cool it off the rest of the way.

"In the accident, I was in the right line but the No. 39, Pete Shepherd, thought there was room and there wasn't. He got into the No. 32, and then he got into me. It happened in Turn Four. I couldn't avoid it.

"But the car raced really good. Skip's car has a better radiator set-up that I'll use in my car too next time. The motor ran well and the car was really good. I have to thank Doug and the whole CyberSpeed team for all their hard work. We just fell a couple of laps short there at the end."

Skip Cummins: "First, a guy in front of me got sideways at the start, so I fell back until I got comfortable. I had a really fast car. The spotters were great and they taught me a lot, and I was reeling guys in.

"Somebody sprayed fluid that got on my windshield, and there were 2 seconds every lap when I had to slow down in Turn Four because I couldn't see anything because of the glare and the oil on the windshield.

"Then on the first pit stop, it got stuck between two gears. From that point on for every restart and leaving the pits, I had to go in third. From then on it took me about three laps to really get going again.

"But an 18th-place finish is way beyond my wildest expectations. The spotters were really great, and it was great to run a faster race lap than even Juan Pablo Montoya. I want to give a big thank you to the whole CyberSpeed Racing team for giving us great race cars and a safe race. I can't wait until Daytona!"

-credit: csr

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Series ARCA