ASA's revolutionary engine program extended through 2004. Pendleton, IN (March 28, 2003) -- When the concept of using a sealed, crate engine in a nationally touring stock car series was introduced in 1998, it was met with skepticism from many ...
ASA's revolutionary engine program extended through 2004.
Pendleton, IN (March 28, 2003) -- When the concept of using a sealed, crate engine in a nationally touring stock car series was introduced in 1998, it was met with skepticism from many fronts. But Herb Fishel's vision of taking a factory produced, fuel-injected, V8 engine, modifying it slightly for racing and planting it in a racecar was just the type of idea ASA was hoping to find.
The long relationship between ASA and General Motors took a huge step in that time frame as Fishel and ASA Founder Rex Robbins took a concept and developed a viable program. Not only has the sealed engine been a success, but it has exceeded expectations. Now in its fourth season, the program continues to excel and has the opportunity to continue to thrive through the 2004 season. When the concept of the program was initially introduced, many thought it was risky and that ASA was on the edge of throwing away a series that had a considerable history and reputation for producing competitive racing. That reputation is very much alive with the engine program.
In 2000, the ASA Racing Series saw a huge transition. Not only was the introduction of the fuel-injected, sealed V8 engine made for the 2000 season, but so also was a transition from bias-ply tires to radial tires, the BFGoodrich Traction T/A Radial Tires, which the company designed specifically for use with the ASA car. Both programs have exceeded expectations and have opened new avenues for the series to pursue.
"Herb Fishel had a dream and came to ASA with that dream," ASA President and CEO Steve Dale said. "Through the efforts of many individuals at General Motors, Herb Fishel, Don Taylor, Mark McPhail and Dan Engle chief among them, this engine program was pursued, developed and introduced. If you look at the significance of this program, it is really pretty amazing. Our relationship with General Motors is strong and the future is limitless with opportunities before us.
"Herb Fishel had a vision and ASA provided a pallet on which that vision could be developed. Now we want to continue that concept and expand upon it."
In 1998, ASA saw eight different race winners and 21 lap leaders in 20 races under the former engine and tire rules. In 1999, seven different drivers found Winner's Circle and 24 drivers made their way to the front of the field. Since that time, the numbers have remained steady, as nine drivers won races and 39 drivers led laps in 2000, seven drivers won and 30 drivers led laps in 2001 and six different drivers won races and 23 drivers led laps in 2002.
"There have been things ASA has done through the years and I have known that they weren't going to work," three-time ASA National Champion Butch Miller said. "They were talking about this engine and tire program and old Butch just knew this deal wasn't going to work. But look at it now and you'll see old Butch was wrong. The engine is great and the series is strong and growing again."
There were open skeptics of the engine program when it was introduced, but most of those skeptics have changed their minds and have seen what opportunities this revolutionary concept opened for ASA and for them. With the horsepower generated in the relationship between ASA and General Motors, the future is indeed promising.
The second event of the 2003 ASA Racing Series is set for Saturday, April 12 at Houston Motor Speedway in Houston (TX). The Texas 250 takes the green flag at 8 p.m. (Central) and will be telecast live on the SPEED CHANNEL.