Pensacola, Fla. (May 5, 2002) -- When competitive records are broken in a series with a 35-year history like ASA, it usually means the new record is truly unique and impressive. Joey Clanton of Georgia today etched his name in those books by...
Pensacola, Fla. (May 5, 2002) -- When competitive records are broken in a series with a 35-year history like ASA, it usually means the new record is truly unique and impressive. Joey Clanton of Georgia today etched his name in those books by winning the ASA Racing.com 300 at Five Flags Speedway. It was a fourth consecutive checkered flag for the third-year veteran to open the 2002 ASA Racing Series season.
Clanton's win, his eighth in 44 career starts, breaks a record he held with Mike Eddy, who won three straight events to start the 1995 season. The Michigan legend turned the hat trick at Columbus, Toledo and Indianapolis that year.
"It's incredible to break a Mike Eddy record," said Clanton. "To think it hasn't been done in 35 years means a lot to me and winning at Five Flags in ASA is like a Snowball Derby (traditional stock car event held at the track)."
After leading for 745 of 800 laps through the first three events, Clanton found the going a lot tougher on the abrasive racing surface at the .50-mile oval in Florida's Panhandle region. Temperatures in the upper 80s, under mostly sunny skies, forced five drivers to abandon their rides during the event due to fatigue.
Pole sitter Kevin Cywinski went unchallenged through the first 70 laps before sustaining damage in a turn one multi-car accident. He returned later, finishing 21st in the final standings.
There were six lead changes through the opening 193 circuits before Clanton took the lead. He held the prime position until a later caution gave the lead to Florida's Travis Kittleson for five laps. Another in a series of lightening-fast pit stops sent Cla nton back to the track and, on lap 219, he secured the lead for a final time. In all, eight different drivers swapped the lead on eight separate occasions.
"It was brutal out there today," said Clanton, who collapsed next to his car following the race. "All these guys (crew) worked their tails off today changing tires and fixing a broken crush panel."
The 2002 ASA Racing Series returns to action on Sunday, May 19, at Hawkeye Downs Speedway in Cedar Rapids (Iowa). The O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 presented by STP takes the green flag at 1 p.m. (Central) and is scheduled for live telecast on TNN. For informati on, call 1-888-ASA-1020 or go online at www.asaracing.com.