Berlin: Qualifying report

Marne, Mich. (August 2, 2003) -- After a late-race mechanical break that cost a near certain win while leading at Madison International Speedway, Robbie Pyle and the CITGO Chevrolet team rebounded to win the pole for tonight's Meijer 250 presented...

Marne, Mich. (August 2, 2003) -- After a late-race mechanical break that cost a near certain win while leading at Madison International Speedway, Robbie Pyle and the CITGO Chevrolet team rebounded to win the pole for tonight's Meijer 250 presented by BFGoodrich Tires at Berlin Raceway.

Pyle, the 19th car on the track, took advantage of some cloud cover to claim the 11th pole of his ASA career, posting a time of 16.790 seconds (93.913 mph) to edge out Mike Garvey.

Pyle's time was good enough to bump Rich Bickle from the top spot and shortly thereafter Garvey in the Jani-King Chevrolet turned a lap at 16.797 seconds (93.874 mph) in his back-up car.

Points leader Kevin Cywinski in the SK Hand Tool Chevrolet, Bickle and Butch Miller in the Timber Wolf Chevrolet rounded out the top five.

"It was good to win the pole here for crew chief Bill McGowan, who lives only a few miles from this track," said Pyle. "We'll see what we have for the race."

Pyle said the cloud cover and going out in the second half of the qualifying order were a help to the teams effort.

"The run at Madison was actually a boost for the team," said Pyle of losing the engine with just 13 laps remaining. "It was the best we have run all year. You hate to lose one with a car that good."

Garvey switched to his back-up car after posting the fastest time in the second practice session after an internal engine problem developed.

"This is a tribute to the crew," said Garvey of the run. "The back-up car was well prepared and we changed the front springs. ASA was nice enough to give us a few laps before qualifying and we were able to make some adjustments."

Garvey said it is mentally tough to change cars before qualifying.

"I don't like this car as well and we were saving the other car for this race," he said. "I just had to calm down and concentrate."

Cywinski said the team didn't have to make a lot of changes to the Century

Trading Company Chevrolet before qualifications.

"We turned a lot of laps during practice to get the car feeling comfortable on old tires," he said. "The run surprised us. This track is so temperature sensitive, the cloud cover helped. Once in awhile, you get lucky."

The surprise run of qualifying was turned in by first time ASA competitor Atticus Missner in a third SS Racing Chevrolet. Missner posted the ninth fastest time of the day, but will start 25th because the team practiced at Berlin Raceway during the week.

"Our goal is to finish the race," he said. "It would be a huge success to finish on the lead lap. I have gotten a lot of advice from Butch (Miller)."

Missner, 32, said he got a good feel for the ASA car during the testing. He has been competing in the Barber Dodge Series.

"This is a tricky place," continued Missner. "We really got a good feel for the car. We want to get a lot of laps this weekend."

He said the hope is to run the remainder of the 2003 ASA schedule and to look at running for rookie honors in 2004.

"Making the move to stock cars made a lot of sense," said Missner. "At my age, I wanted to prolong my career. I love stock cars on a short track and grew up watching them."

The Meijer 250 presented by BFGoodrich Tires goes green at 9 p.m. (Local). Tickets are available at a cost of $25 for general admission seats. For additional information on the ASA Racing Series visit asaracing.com.

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Rich Bickle , Mike Garvey