CHICAGO (July 9, 2001) - Mechanical difficulties plagued the No. 22 Herzog Motorsports Chevrolet Monte Carlo during Sunday's American Speed Association (ASA) Chicago 200 forcing the team to leave the Chicago Motor Speedway exhausted and...
CHICAGO (July 9, 2001) - Mechanical difficulties plagued the No. 22 Herzog Motorsports Chevrolet Monte Carlo during Sunday's American Speed Association (ASA) Chicago 200 forcing the team to leave the Chicago Motor Speedway exhausted and disappointed after the 23rd place finish. The team has had a fantastic year despite having an ever-changing driver. Unfortunately, this week didn't prove to be as fruitful as the team just couldn't get the car to react to the Chicago-based track.
Twenty-five-year-old Mike Swaim Jr., a native of High Point, N.C., made his ASA and Herzog Motorsports debut in the event, starting in the 19th position after qualifying on Saturday. Swaim Jr. hoped that he could fall into a rhythm and move up in position quickly during the event. Unfortunately, the first lap of the race proved to be an omen for the Herzog Motorsports team as the outside window net fell. Lettow made the call to bring the No. 22 down pit road during the first caution of the day on lap 22 to fix the window net, make an adjustment and add fuel. Once back on the track, and under green racing conditions, Swaim Jr. hoped to begin his climb to the front of the field.
Unfortunately, Swaim Jr.'s hope would quickly be crushed as the first signs of a failing transmission began at lap 86 during the third caution of the day and the team's second pit stop. The team changed four tires, added fuel, and sent the No. 22 back out onto the track hoping that the car would last for the remaining laps of the event. Just as things seemed to be back to normal racing conditions, Swaim Jr. radioed into crew chief, Howie Lettow, reporting a failure in the power steering. Additionally, the failing transmission emitted a smoky haze into the car causing Swaim Jr. to become dizzy.
The team pitted at lap 123 to allow Swaim Jr. to climb out of the car and relief driver, David Stremme, to step in. Stremme, a South Bend, Indiana-native, drove for Herzog Motorsports in two earlier 2001 ASA races, and was happy to get behind the wheel of the No. 22. Stremme kept the No. 22 running and stayed in the top-25 despite the failing car. On lap 153, Stremme came over the radio announcing that the car was smoking. The team brought the car down pit road during the sixth caution of the day on lap 161. As the team attempted to send the car back out on pit road, the car shut off due to the failing transmission. Stremme, eager to get back to racing, was able to cycle the ignition switch in order to start the car. By the time the No. 22 returned to the track, the team was five laps down.
Stremme managed to keep the Herzog Motorsports-entry in the remainder of the race, running with only the first and fourth gears. When the final lap had been recorded, Herzog Motorsports was listed in the 23rd position, eight laps down.
"Today just wasn't our day," stated Howie Lettow. "We just didn't have the car where it should have been. We have a great crew, and they worked so hard to get the car in better shape. We will have to keep our heads up and head to Berlin."
Herzog Motorsports is a successful, championship-winning race team. Based in Charlotte, N.C., Milwaukee, Wis. and St. Joseph, Mo., Herzog Motorsports fields teams in the American Speed Association and the NASCAR Busch Series.
The American Speed Association will appear in front of a packed house this weekend for the 12th race of the schedule to be held at Berlin Raceway from Marne, Mich. The night race will begin this Saturday, July 14, at 9:00 p.m. EST and will be broadcast live on The National Network (TNN).