Cywinski Champion, Garvey Final 2004 ASA Race Winner HAMPTON, Ga. (October 29, 2004) -- At the end of a wild race one thing was obvious; Mike Garvey was the winner of the World Financial Group 150 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. What was not clear...
Cywinski Champion, Garvey Final 2004 ASA Race Winner
HAMPTON, Ga. (October 29, 2004) -- At the end of a wild race one thing was obvious; Mike Garvey was the winner of the World Financial Group 150 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. What was not clear was who the 2004 champion was.
In fact, the point race was so close that it took ASA officials nearly 30 minutes after the checkered flag before they were able to declare Kevin Cywinski the 2004 champion, winning by just 10 points over Bryan Reffner. Garvey was third.
The 150-kilometer event was one of the most exciting speedway events of the season featuring 10 lead changes among eight drivers. The event was red flagged twice for multi-car accidents so that the safety workers could attend to the disabled vehicles. The caution flew on eight occasions for 21 laps.
Garvey took the lead for good on lap 57, faking high so he could make the winning move to the inside of Reffner down the backstretch.
"There are a lot of things that you can do to move these cars in the draft," Garvey said. "I kept it looking like I was going high and then made a move to the inside. Bryan is a good racer and he gave me the lane clean."
Garvey needed to pit early for four fresh BFGoodrich Traction T/A tires, the result of running over debris. This placed him well back in the 38 car field, and at the time looked like his chances at winning may have been over.
"I thought we were going to have a hard time getting back to the front," said the Atlanta resident. "But the car was just awesome. Everything seemed to work our way, and the car drafted really good so we were able to get back to the front."
Finishing second in the event was Reffner, crossing the line 0.142-seconds behind Garvey. He led the race on three occasions and was among the cars to beat right at the drop of the green flag.
"We just come up one spot short," he said. "It was a good night for us. We missed a lot of wrecks, fortunately. In that one wreck that took out the three in the lead I ran over a huge piece of debris and it folded in the left front fender and it just got a little bit tight after that."
Reffner was referring to a lap 28 incident involving Jay Middleton, Casey Smith and Reed Sorenson who were the top three cars at the front of the field. Coming down the backstretch it appeared that Smith may have been sucked up in the draft and touched Middleton's rear bumper sending both cars spinning. Sorenson was collected as he simply had no room to move out of the way and received damage to the right front of his No. 29 Target Dodge. He was able to make repairs and return to competition, eventually finishing 21st, but the incident shattered any hopes he had of winning the championship.
Finishing in a close pack behind Reffner was Butch Miller, Wade Day and Mark Martin in his first ASA National Tour event since 1996. The rest of the Top-10 was Peter Cozzolino, Brett Sontag, Tim Sauter, Cywinski, and Jason Dietsch. Sontag's finish netted him the 2004 ASA Rookie of the Year title.
At one point Cywinski had fallen way back to 30th position, the result of pitting for fresh BFGoodrich tires and making big changes to his car to make it better. Cywinski kept digging, knowing the championship was on the line and eventually ended with a Top-10 finish with his No. 1 World Leadership Group Dodge.
"We just didn't have a car that we could work by ourself," Cywinski explained. "Garvey seemed to go by himself and we needed to have somebody behind us. I couldn't suck up to anybody (in the draft), but the 4 car (Stephen Leicht) got a lap down early and he worked awesome with us all night. I needed somebody to push us there at the end and the 5 car (Jason Dietsch) helped push us by about three cars."
It is Cywinski's third ASA National Tour championship, and the first time that a driver has won back-to-back titles since Mike Eddy accomplished the feat in 1991 and defended it in 1992. Cywinski's other titles were won in 1997 and last season.
"Back-to-back is huge," Cywinski claimed. "It is something that we wanted to do and looked at as a goal last year. There wasn't too much you could hang your hat on after the year we had (2003), but back-to-back was what we were shooting for."
While 34 of the 38 cars made their mandatory pit stop during the first caution on lap 7, Cywinski employed a bit of strategy and stayed out on the track to assume the lead and the five bonus points that come with leading a lap. The strategy was key as he won the title by just 10 points, and earned him the Cool Shirt "Cool Move of the Race" award.
The VP Fuels Hard Charger of the Race was Martin who moved up 30 spots from his 35th starting position, and Reffner captured the BFGoodrich Halfway Leader bonus. The Jani-King pole was given to Cywinski as the field was set by owner points as rain set in during qualifying and scrubbed the session, even though 27 drivers had already taken a time. It was the fourth time this season that qualifying was rained out; each time Cywinski started on the pole by virtue of leading the points at the time.
When the final points were tallied the 10 drivers atop the standings are Cywinski, Reffner, Garvey, Butch Miller, Sorenson, Tim Sauter, Sontag, Robbie Pyle, Wade Day and Leicht.
The American Speed Association is based in Pendleton, Ind., and has offered stock car racing programs since 1968, including the ASA National Tour, ASA Late Model Series, several regional touring series and the ASA Member Track programs. For additional information, visit ASAracing.com.
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