AUBURN, MI - RIS - Veteran Ohio American Speed Association driver Gary St. Amant used pit strategy and patience to capture the win in the ACDelco Challenge Series Mid-American Chevy Value Leaders 300 at Tri-City Motor Speedway. St. Amant started...
AUBURN, MI - RIS - Veteran Ohio American Speed Association driver Gary St. Amant used pit strategy and patience to capture the win in the ACDelco Challenge Series Mid-American Chevy Value Leaders 300 at Tri-City Motor Speedway. St. Amant started on the pole and battled with local favorite Mike Eddy for much of the race before holding off a hard charging Brad Loney in the closing laps to take the victory.
At the start of the race, before a capacity crowd, St. Amant jumped into the lead followed by outside front row starter Bob Senneker. Eddy was able to slip into third from his outside row 2 starting slot and was soon challenging Senneker for the second spot. By lap 7 Eddy was able to get by both Senneker and then drive inside St. Amant in turn two to take the lead on the tricky half-mile track.
Eddy held the lead until he pitted for tires on lap 84, giving St Amant the point once again. Chasing St Amant hard were Steve Carlson, Dave Sensiba and Aaron Hough. Following his pit stop, Eddy rejoined the field in seventh place.
Eddy was soon back in the lead as he passed St Amant in turn 2 again on lap 128. Loney and Rick Beebe moved up to second and third when St. Amant took advantage of a caution to get some new rubber on his Wynn's Chevrolet. St Amant rejoined in 11th position.
All the leaders pitted on lap 160 under caution and the were forced to work their way through the field to reach the front. Brandon Sperling held the lead followed by Tom Jones and Brett Bell but it did not take long until, on lap 178 Eddy regained the front runner spot which he would hold until lap 205. Eddy would make his third pit stop at that point and handed the lead to Kevin Cywinski. With just 95 laps left the top five were Cywinski, Sensiba, Beebe, Eddy and St Amant.
On lap 215 as Eddy and Sensiba were battling for position, Eddy spun and lost a lap to the field. That seemed to light a fire for Eddy as he charged through the field and ran the leaders down to regain the lead lap in a very short period of time. St. Amant meanwhile had moved into second place on lap 242 followed now by Carlson and Harold Fair Sr.
After a ten lap battle that saw St. Amant try every possible line on the five-turn track, he was finally able to slide under Cywinski in turn one, when Cywinski appeared to get a little loose,and retake the lead. St Amant held on for the final 46 laps despite a spirited challenge from Loney. Carlson was third with Senneker "sneaking" into fourth at the end and Cywinski took the fifth spot. Eddy simply ran out of laps as he tried to run down the leaders and was credited with 11th.
"Before the race we made up our minds to make it a two pit stop race," St Amant said after collecting the $9,430 winners check. "After the first stop we found ourselves pretty far back for the next 100 laps, but then we started moving forward again. I knew at the end our tires were a little better than the other front runners. I knew that coming off the first corner old tires really hurt and I just waited for Kevin (Cywinski) to slip a little wide."
Loney, who was forced to start at the rear of the field after failing post-qualifying Tech Inspection after setting the third fastest time in time trials, knew he had a really great car. "We had the car to win, but we just ran out of laps," Loney said later. "This is a place you either love or hate and I love to run here. It's hard to get over the problems we had earlier in the day, but the race is making it easier to swallow. I just wanted to keep the car under me and save the tires. With 35 laps remaining we started to run hard, it was a sprint race to the end."
With his fifth place finish, Cywinski maintains his points lead in the ACDelco Challenge Series as he leads Senisiba by 48 points and St Amant by 69. The annual double header now moves to Berlin Raceway in Marne, MI for its second 300 lap race of the weekend.
Tri-City Motor Speedway - RIS - Provisional results for the ASA ACDelco Challenge Series, Mid-Michigan Chevy Value Leaders 300: Ps.Ql.No. Driver , Car Laps -- -- ---- ----------------------------------------------------- ----- 1 1 7 Gary St Amant Wynn's/W Michigan Chevy Dealers CHEV 300 2 33 33 Brad Loney Bunsaver/Hunter's Spec/Flexsteel PONT 300 3 13 87 Steve Carlson(R)Baker Enterprises/Clean Burn PONT 300 4 2 84 Bob Senneker Lane Auto/JR Automation/Mr GasketFORD 300 5 5 1 Kevin Cywinski Coleman Racing Products PONT 300 6 21 23 Rick Beebe St Louis Gear/Royal Machine PONT 300 7 11 18 Mike Miller South East Air Service PONT 300 8 20 6 Dave Sensiba Engineered Polymer/W MI Auto AuctPONT 300 9 12 8 Mike Garvey AFCO Racing Products PONT 300 10 23 81 Harold Fair Car Quest/ACDelco/Victor Reinz PONT 300 11 4 88 Mike Eddy GM Goodwrench Service/HRE PONT 300 12 28 51 Brandon Sperling Sperling Motorsports CHEV 299 13 22 55 Tim Sauter (R) Leo M/S/Wehr/Racing Adventures PONT 299 14 14 5 Steve Holzhausen Structural Transport FORD 299 15 7 52 Scott Hansen AFCO Racing Products PONT 298 16 6 48 Joe Nott Valvoline/Allan Nott Toyota/RaabeFORD 298 17 17 28 Tim Taylor(R) EMAS Inc/RPS/D-A/Speedway Auto PONT 298 18 25 72 Junior Hanley Skillman Motorsports PONT 298 19 16 07 Jack Landis Adirondak/Lyndaker/Maisto/N.YoderFORD 297 20 19 0 Tom Jones Jones Motorsports PONT 295 21 24 26 Bill Baird Spee-Dee Pop Popcorn/Saturn Mach CHEV 291 22 3 44 Pat Bourdow Bourdow Trucking CHEV 291 23 18 86 Aaron Hough Lee's Inn and Suites PONT 288 24 32 93 Alec Pinsonneault Build-A-Mold/Trimplas/Moldplas PONT 283 25 29 58 Billy Turner Sanifill/Central Fiber PONT 273 26 31 11 Doug Mayr(R) No Touch Car Care/Aqua Splash CHEV 233 27 27 3F Jeff Fultz West Virginis Motor Speedway CHEV 231 28 8 32 Ted Smokstad Corp. Auto/SMS Parts PONT 208 29 26 56 Brett Bell Wunder-Bar/Red Line Oil FORD 170 30 15 66 Kurt Hough (R) New Plaestine Drywall PONT 149 31 9 89 Chas Howe Dan Wieland/Wieland Motorsports CHEV 131 32 10 79 Mike Cofer (R) Black & Decker Versa Pack PONT 37 33 30 35 Buddy Schrock Big A Auto Parts/UniDial CHEV 13 (R) Pat Schauer Memorial Rookie Candidate Time of Race : 2 hr 4 min 5 sec Average Speed : 72.531 mph Margin of Victory : 1.325 secs Lap Leaders : St Amant, Eddy, Sperling, Cywinski Cautions : 14 for 72 laps Track Length : 0.5000 Miles
MARNE, MI - RIS - In a classic short track battle, Kevin Cywinski in the LaFavre Racing Pontiac turned back several charges from 7-time ASA Champion Mike Eddy and Dave Sensiba late in the race to capture the victory in the ASA ACDelco Challenge Series Berlin 300 at Berlin Raceway in Marne, MI.
During the final 50 laps Cywinski and Sensiba, the pole sitter, battled side-by-side with Cywinski holding the outside line and Sensiba hugging the inside of the .438 mile oval. The lead went back and forth several times during the fight, but when the caution came out with 25 laps to go it was Cywinski who held the lead. The leaders headed to the pits for fresh rubber and Cywinski was the first out followed by Sensiba, Gary St. Amant, Eddy, Mike Miller and Ted Smokstad.
On the restart Cywinski jumped out quickly, but Sensiba and Eddy reeled him back in and the three cars went at it for the win. Eddy was able to get under Sensiba with three laps left and began to work on Cywinski, but the Lakeville, MN driver fought him off and took the win by a scant 1.074 seconds. It was Cywinski's first win of 1997 and his fourth career ASA victory.
"This was an awesome race," Cywinski said of his $14,070 win. "I was trying to keep Dave (Sensiba) a lap down early in the race and I let Mike (Eddy) go by because he had the faster car. I knew Dave had a good car."
We finally got the pit strategy figured out," He continued. "At the end of the race my car felt better on the outside and once the tires wore a little I was able to move down to the bottom groove. Dave didn't want to go to the outside, so I tried to run the bottom and keep him behind me. I knew Mike was coming so I just ran a consistent line over the final few laps."
The first 100 laps of the race went caution-free as Cywinski, Bob Senneker and Eddy battled for the lead. During the long green flag segment, Sensiba lost a lap to Eddy who led from lap 32 to lap 102 when the first caution flew. This allowed the leaders to head for the pits and put on some new right side Goodyears. Cywinski won the race out of the pits followed by Eddy and St. Amant.
Eddy regained the lead on lap 11 and continued to lead until another yellow came out at lap 132. Again all the leaders pitted and again the LaFavre racing team put Cywinski out in first place. St. Amant took his turn at the front following another round of pit stops, but by lap 173 it was the black number 1 back on the point where it would stay until caution flew at lap 250 setting up the final shootout.
Eddy, who scored his best finish of 1997, said that the GM Goodwrench Pontiac has been running good all year, but mechanical gremlins have kept him from finishing the races. Sensiba, who had put the Engineered Polymer/Daytona Auto Auction Pontiac on the pole, had hoped to get an earlier caution as the car was loose.
Mike Miller in the AFC 1000/Uniseal Pontiac finished in fourth with St. Amant in the Wynn's/West Michigan Chevy Dealers Chevrolet rounding out the top five.
The next race for the ASA ACDelco Challenge series will be June 21 at Indianapolis Raceway Park.
John Kaiser, Racing Information Systems
Berlin Raceway - RIS - Provisional results for the ASA ACDelco Challenge Series, Berlin 300: Ps.Ql.No. Driver , Car Laps -- -- ---- ----------------------------------------------------- ----- 1 6 1 Kevin Cywinski Coleman Racing Products PONT 300 2 16 88 Mike Eddy GM Goodwrench Service/HRE PONT 300 3 1 6 Dave Sensiba Engineered Polymer/W MI Auto AuctPONT 300 4 8 18 Mike Miller South East Air Service PONT 300 5 3 7 Gary St Amant Wynn's/W Michigan Chevy Dealers CHEV 300 6 10 32 Ted Smokstad Corp. Auto/SMS Parts PONT 300 7 9 52 Scott Hansen AFCO Racing Products PONT 299 8 27 83 Andy Bozell DeVrou Chev/Crokkston Poured WallCHEV 299 9 22 81 Harold Fair Car Quest/ACDelco/Victor Reinz PONT 299 10 21 23 Rick Beebe St Louis Gear/Royal Machine PONT 299 11 12 8 Mike Garvey AFCO Racing Products PONT 298 12 7 48 Joe Nott Valvoline/Allan Nott Toyota/RaabeFORD 298 13 4 87 Steve Carlson(R)Baker Enterprises/Clean Burn PONT 298 14 15 35 Buddy Schrock Big A Auto Parts/UniDial CHEV 298 15 25 3F Jeff Fultz West Virginis Motor Speedway CHEV 298 16 13 51 Brandon Sperling Sperling Motorsports CHEV 297 17 11 55 Tim Sauter (R) Leo M/S/Wehr/Racing Adventures PONT 297 18 17 56 Brett Bell Wunder-Bar/Red Line Oil FORD 297 19 31 0 Tom Jones Jones Motorsports PONT 296 20 24 26 Bill Baird Spee-Dee Pop Popcorn/Saturn Mach CHEV 296 21 28 98 Todd Forbes Axle Handler/Ridgeway FORD 294 22 30 94 Donnie Varcoe Lakeway/Midwest Bumper CHEV 294 23 23 07 Jack Landis Adirondak/Lyndaker/Maisto/N.YoderFORD 293 24 34 86 Aaron Hough Lee's Inn and Suites PONT 292 25 33 93 Alec Pinsonneault Build-A-Mold/Trimplas/Moldplas PONT 290 26 5 33 Brad Loney Bunsaver/Hunter's Spec/Flexsteel PONT 279 27 2 84 Bob Senneker Lane Auto/JR Automation/Mr GasketFORD 241 28 29 58 Billy Turner Sanifill/Central Fiber PONT 212 29 32 79 Mike Cofer (R) Black & Decker Versa Pack PONT 166 30 19 4 Joe Bush West Michigan Chevy Dealers CHEV 156 31 18 66 Kurt Hough (R) New Plaestine Drywall PONT 117 32 26 28 Tim Taylor(R) EMAS Inc/RPS/D-A/Speedway Auto PONT 111 33 14 72 Junior Hanley Skillman Motorsports PONT 92 34 20 5 Steve Holzhausen Structural Transport FORD 70 (R)Pat Schauer Memorial Rookie Candidate Time of Race : 1 hr 39 mins 27 secs Average Speed : 79.276 mph Margin of Victory : 1.074 secs Lap Leaders : Sensiba, Cywinski, Senneker, Eddy,St Amant. Cautions : 6 for 32 laps Track Length : 0.4380 Miles John Kaiser RIS/AL
ASA 1997 Season Points Standings
1. Kevin Cywinski 1058 2. Dave Sensiba 1005 (-53) 3. Gary St. Amant 972 (-86) 4. Mike Miller 923 (-135) 5. Scott Hansen 921 (-137) 6. Rick Beebe 879 (-179) 7. Steve Carlson (R) 878 (-180) 8. Harold Fair 821 (-237) 9. Tim Sauter (R) 782 (-276) 10. Joe Nott 757 (-301)
(R)- Denotes Rookie Candidate