ASL: Ryan Mathews I-70 race notes

Ryan Mathews Finishes Seventh in Inaugural ASL Event Wisconsin Hotshoe Has No Time to Think About History, He's Busy Racing ELKHORN, WI (May 3, 2005) - History was made this weekend at I-70 Speedway (MO) when the American Stockcar League took...

Ryan Mathews Finishes Seventh in Inaugural ASL Event
Wisconsin Hotshoe Has No Time to Think About History, He's Busy Racing

ELKHORN, WI (May 3, 2005) - History was made this weekend at I-70 Speedway (MO) when the American Stockcar League took to the track for the first time. The history books will read that Ryan Mathews finished seventh in the inaugural event for the series.

But when you race as much as Mathews does [The Wisconsin short tracker made around 80 starts in 2003 and plans somewhere around 50 races for this season], there really isn't much time to think about history. To Mathews, it's all about running the best race you can and then getting ready for the next one on the calendar.

"It didn't really feel any different to us," said Mathews. "It was just like any other race. We were trying to get the car as good as we could in practice and do the best job in the race. In the heat of the day, it didn't feel any different, but if it goes on to be a big series in a few years, like ASA was in its prime, maybe we'll look back at it as something big."

More significant for Mathews was the fact that his team made some major strides at I-70 when it comes to the style of car the ASL utilizes. The tour uses the same rules package that the ASA National Tour used last season when Mathews got his feet wet with that type of racecar.

"That was only the fifth time that I have been in that type of car. We dabbled a little bit last year by doing four ASA races, so we are still learning. For us, we were just happy to be somewhat competitive and to be comfortable in that kind of car. When I ran ASA last year, I wasn't even close to being comfortable or close on the set-up. We finally have got it going where I feel that I can drive the car in as hard as I can and it will stick and turn. We were happy to make some progress."

Mathews qualified third for the race and finished seventh, but between the green and the checkered flag, he had the experience of a challenging first half of the race and a strong second half.

"I didn't have a very good start and lost some spots early on," said Mathews. "But we made the right decision on the halfway break and the car got to be very good. It was a little tight at the start of the second half, but then it came to me and was really good."

Mathews doesn't know what his role in the future of the ASL is quite yet, but he does support what the series is trying to accomplish.

"We're not committing to run the whole thing yet, but there is a chance that we will. We are feeling it out right now. If we had some sponsorship help to pay the expenses, it would definitely change our outlook.

"It's tough for everyone involved. The officials are trying their hardest to make this work. They are trying to get something new going and it's tough for us because we don't have any sponsorship on this car at all and the tire bill is a little large. The Goodyear tires cost us $220 each. It's twice as much as a Late Model tire because it is a radial. There is a different tire from race to race with different compounds at each track. It's just like they do in NASCAR without the NASCAR purses. We need a set to practice and a set to race, so our tire bill for each race is $1,900."

Cost aside, though, the fact of racing on the radial tire is helping Mathews and his team with their motorsports education.

"It was kind of neat to get to race on the Goodyear radial and get the experience of racing on it. It was pretty challenging to qualify on it because it takes some laps to get going."

This coming weekend, Mathews will stay busy in his racecar; although this time he'll be closer to home.

"There are no big events going on, so we will be at Madison on Friday night and Slinger on Sunday," said Mathews. "Those are both just weekly track openers. We pretty much run touring series and special events and if there isn't anything, we'll run wherever we can."

-51ss-

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Series Stock car
Drivers Ryan Mathews