Veteran Drivers Step Up and Finish Top 10 in Final Standings Two rookies, one veteran have career years in 2001 ASA ACDelco Series PENDLETON, Ind. (October 8, 2001) -- When Johnny Sauter, Mike Cope or Tim Taylor look back on the 2001 American ...
Veteran Drivers Step Up and Finish Top 10 in Final Standings
Two rookies, one veteran have career years in 2001 ASA ACDelco Series
PENDLETON, Ind. (October 8, 2001) -- When Johnny Sauter, Mike Cope or Tim Taylor look back on the 2001 American Speed Association ACDelco Series, they will remember it as a career year. All three drivers finished in the top-10 in drivers' points for the first time in their respective ASA careers. The rest of the top 10 was once again made up of some of the best of the best in American short track racing.
Sauter accomplished many firsts in 2001, none-bigger than the feat of becoming the first driver in ASA's 34-year history to win both the National Championship and Pat Schauer Memorial Rookie of the Year in the same season. He also became the first driver to ever win 10 events in a single season, and five consecutive. His half-million dollars in earnings is also the highest of any driver in ASA history.
The driver that chased Sauter also had a remarkable season, considering that he was still in the points chase heading into the last event of the year. Defending ASA National Champion Gary St. Amant, despite only two wins, coming at Irwindale Speedway and S alem Speedway, was Sauter's closest competition. St. Amant amassed 13 top fives, 15 top 10s and finished in the top 10 in points for the 13th time in his 16-year ASA career.
Former ASA Rookie of the Year Joey Clanton was the only driver besides Sauter to win three or more races in 2001. Clanton, who was a rookie in 2000, finished the year third in the points, with three victories and 16 top-10 finishes. Clanton was the early s eason points leader following two wins in the series first four races.
Fourth and fifth in the points standings were Butch Miller and Kevin Cywinski, who between the two of them, have collected four ASA Championships. Miller led the series with six poles, but was only able to find victory lane one time. He did however capture 16 top-10 finishes. Cywinski found the winner's circle twice while also collecting four DNFs, hurting his chance for a second championship.
Coming into the 2001 season, veteran Mike Garvey had collected more wins in the series than anyone over the last several years, 10 since 1998. The 2001 season turned out to be a tough one for the driver of the Tecumseh Chevrolet though, as he finished sixth in the final point standings with just one win, coming in the early part of the year at USA International Speedway.
A veteran of the short track world for over a decade, Cope was a rookie in the ASA Series in 2001. After struggling in the early season, Cope come on strong, collecting seven top-five finishes, including two runner-up spots, at Nashville Speedway USA and Winchester Speedway. He finished second in the rookie standings to Sauter, and seventh overall.
Despite no wins, two series veterans, Mike Miller and Scott Hansen, both finished in the top-10 in the points, coming home eigth and ninth respectively. For Miller, who failed to win a race for the first time since 1995, it marked the seventh straight year he has finished the year in the top 10. Hansen, who has 26 career ASA wins, was the only driver in the top 10 to not compete in all 20 events, after he missed the Winchester 400 due to prior commitments.
Taylor, who hails from Indianapolis, completed his third full year with the series, collecting eight top-10 finishes. Taylor had previously only one top 10. He finished 10th in the standings after finishing 21st in his previous two seasons. He turned in career efforts in both qualifying (second at Salem Speedway) and in races (seventh at Irwindale Speedway) in 2001.