Lake Erie: Race report

Erie, Pa. (August 24, 2003) - Ohio driver Robbie Pyle finally shed his "bridesmaid" moniker by leading the final 101 laps to win the Erie 250 at Lake Erie Speedway on Sunday. Pyle in the Citgo Chevrolet had ...

Erie, Pa. (August 24, 2003) - Ohio driver Robbie Pyle finally shed his "bridesmaid" moniker by leading the final 101 laps to win the Erie 250 at Lake Erie Speedway on Sunday.

Pyle in the Citgo Chevrolet had finished in the runner-up position three times during the current American Speed Association title and was leading at Madison International Speedway with 14 laps remaining when bad luck cost him a victory when the team lost an engine.

But Pyle was not to be denied during ASA's first visit to Lake Erie Speedway to the delight of a near capacity crowd by holding off Butch Miller in the Timber Wolf Chevrolet by 0.464 seconds to record his second career win.

Pole sitter Toby Porter in the Meijer Chevrolet, Rick Beebe in the Structural Transport Ford and Mike Garvey in the Jani-King Chevrolet rounded out the top five.

Pyle made the two mandatory pit stops before mid-point of the race and took over the lead on lap 149 when Davin Scites in the John Michael Montgomery Chevrolet pitted for a second time.

Miller moved into second place on lap 156 when he got inside of Rich Bickle and stayed on Pyle's rear bumper to the finish. Porter climbed into third on lap 202 when Bickle lost the hood while six cars were battling for third.

"It's been a long time coming," said Pyle of his second win. "We decided to get the pit stops out of the way early because the car was so good and crew chief Bill McGowan made the right calls."

Pyle said he was a little nervous on the restarts because Miller was on his rear bumper and it would take a few laps for his car to come up to speed.

"I didn't want to make any mistakes," he said. "I knew that Butch (Miller) would race me clean and I knew I wouldn't get punted by him."

Pyle said that chassis builder Ed Howe and seven-time ASA champion Mike Eddy helped the team with a new race set-up during testing at Illiana Motor Speedway.

"We had a completely different set-up," said Pyle. "The car was good all day."

Miller gained 17 points on Kevin Cywinski and now trails by 102 markers with four races remaining.

"We hit on the right combination late in practice," he said. "We still had too much left side air pressure and couldn't run the top or the bottom. We pitted when we should have and couldn't have done any better."

Porter said the team was fighting a tight race car for the past few races but the team is getting a handle on the problem.

"This is an awesome race track," he said. "We could run two wide and side by side."

Rookie points leader Reed Sorenson took the lead at the start in the ACDelco Chevrolet, but was passed by fellow rookie of the year contender Travis Kittleson in the Bob Steele Chevrolet on lap four coming off of Turn four.

Kittleson led until lap 80 when he pitted and turned the point over to another rookie, Davin Scites in the John Michael Montgomery Chevrolet . Scites led until lap 86 when Bryan Reffner in the Morton Salt Chevrolet made an inside move coming off of Turn four.

Scites retook the lead on lap 146 when Reffner pitted and when the West Virginia driver stopped for a second time that turned the race lead over to Pyle.

Points leader Kevin Cywinski in the SK Hand Tools Chevrolet was involved in a three-car tangle on lap 76 in Turn three that also involved Andrew Morrissey and Greg Williams. Cywinski recovered to finish eighth.

The race was slowed by 10 cautions for 61 laps and featured five lead changes among five different drivers.

For additional information on the ASA Racing Series visit asaracing.com.

-asa-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Rich Bickle , Greg William , Bryan Reffner , Butch Miller , Mike Garvey , Travis Kittleson
Teams Williams