Lanier: Race report

Garvey wins Georgia 250 at Lanier. Braselton, Ga. (April 26, 2003) --Mike Garvey came two turns from getting off unlucky No. 13 last week at Concord (N.C.) Motorsport Park, but a victory in Saturday night's ASA Racing Georgia 250 gave him...

Garvey wins Georgia 250 at Lanier.

Braselton, Ga. (April 26, 2003) --Mike Garvey came two turns from getting off unlucky No. 13 last week at Concord (N.C.) Motorsport Park, but a victory in Saturday night's ASA Racing Georgia 250 gave him all the redemption he needed.

Garvey took the lead from Robbie Pyle on the 245th of 250 laps, using the high groove. Pyle held firm on the inside for second, but entering Turn 3 on the 248th lap, third-place runner Scott Lagasse Jr. tapped the rear of Pyle's CITGO Chevy. Pyle spun and Lagasse had to brake to avoid him, but the Florida kept second place. An irate Pyle roared to the front of the field and sideswiped the rookie's car, causing little damage but communicating his feelings most eloquently.

ASA rules dictate that the last five laps of any race must be run under green, so scoring was held as the field gathered for the green-white-checkered restart. When starter Danny Spence waved the green, Garvey nailed the throttle and raced away from Lagasse, who spun the tires and was unable to catch the fleet Georgian over the final two laps.

"Finally!" yelled Garvey as he sat in his car on the front stretch following a series of donuts that left the crowd covered in smoke. One can hardly blame him for being happy. It was Garvey who wound up against the Turn 1 wall at Concord after he and eventual winner Davin Scites collided on the final lap.

"Fortunately, we didn't get knocked out this week," Garvey said. "We had a good shot at it last week, but we have to quit knocking each other out at the end of the race. Robbie got spun out this week. It's got to stop."

That said, Garvey explained how happy he was to win his first ASA race since March 2001 at USA International Speedway. "I'm so glad to get off 13 victories," he said. "I'd been on 13 for so long, I didn't think we'd ever get off it. I thought we were going to do it last week and we didn't, but we did it this week and now we'll go for No. 15."

Garvey earned $14.145 for the victory and jumped to third place in the season point standings, 89 points out of first.

Lagasse, son and namesake of the long-time endurance racer, earned his best career finish with second--as well as a new paint job on his Chevrolet after Pyle's late swipe.

"We made a great call in the pits, taking tires about 20 laps later than everyone else," Lagasse said. "We thought we could get to Garvey before the end, but we ran out of laps."

Concerning the situation with Pyle, Lagasse was apologetic. "I had a huge run up off Turn 2 and he [Pyle] knew it. The last couple of laps he started coming down on me on the back straightaway," Lagasse related. "I saw that I was in there and tried to get out, locked the front brakes up. Robbie, I'm sorry. He and I are friends--well, I guess he's pretty grumpy right now. We'll look at the tape and see what happened. He's racing for the points and I'm not, and I don't want to mess up his deal. I apologize, and I think he'll see once he looks at the tape that I tried everything I could to get out of there."

Casey Smith made it two rookies in the top three with a third-place run, and like Lagasse, it was the best career finish for the 18-year-old from Austin, Texas. Like Lagasse, however, he had a run-in with an established veteran in point leader Kevin Cywinski.

On the 204th of 250 laps, Smith rubbed Cywinski and took the lead in Turn 1. Cywinski returned the favor in Turn 4, causing Smith to ride up the track. Cywinski spun and Smith had to get the handle back on his car, which allowed Pyle to slip past into the lead.

"I think we had a car that could win it," Smith said. "I got by Cywinski down in Turn 1 and I think he thought I hit him a little harder than I actually did and he knocked me up the track. I just never could get back up there [for the lead] after that. I'm really happy with third."

Pyle led the next 40 laps until Garvey passed him. Three laps later, he was unseated by Lagasse, and the resulting spin plus the post-crash retaliation relegated him to 20th at the finish.

Another rookie, Georgia's own Reed Sorenson, placed fourth in front of his home fans and polesitter Butch Miller was fifth. Miller's finish, combined with Cywinski's 11th-place showing, gave Miller the point lead by six, 725-719, after four races.

Gary St. Amant finally broke out of a three-race slump, leading the most laps Saturday night with 110. But things went sideways for the two-time champion on lap 197, when he was caught speeding on pit road. In serving the penalty, which was a stop-and-go on pit road, he was clocked even faster and black-flagged, losing two laps in the process. He finished 22nd.

There were 12 cautions for 68 laps, and six lead changes among seven drivers.

Last week's winner, Davin Scites, recovered from a late spin to finish sixth, with Peter Cozzolino seventh and 1995 series champ Bryan Reffner eighth. J.C. Beattie earned his best career finish with ninth and front-row starter Chris Wimmer rounded out the top 10.

Georgia drivers who competed in the ASA Racing Georgia 250 Presented by Jani-King at Lanier included event winner Garvey of Atlanta, Sorenson of Peachtree City in fourth, Dwayne Buggay of Marietta in 19th, Shane Sieg of Tucker in 26th and David Hole of Cumming in 33rd.

The ASA Racing Series is off until May 17-18, when the cars and stars invade Toledo (Ohio) Speedway for the Glass City 300. It will be the first Midwestern showing of the season for the series that builds champions.

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 Bryan Reffner , Scott Lagasse Jr. , Shane Sieg , Chris Wimmer , Reed Sorenson , Butch Miller , Mike Garvey