Marne, Michigan (July 13, 2001) -- A late race pit stop that caused controversy among two of ASA's best proved to be a defining moment for both eventual winner Butch Miller and runner-up Gary St. Amant. A close call by ASA pit officials determined...
Marne, Michigan (July 13, 2001) -- A late race pit stop that caused controversy among two of ASA's best proved to be a defining moment for both eventual winner Butch Miller and runner-up Gary St. Amant. A close call by ASA pit officials determined that Miller was first to the line at the pit exit during a caution period on lap 258. Miller then held off St. Amant through the final 40-plus laps to secure his first win of the 2001 season in Saturday's tires.com 300 presented by BFGoodrich Tires at Berlin Raceway.
"Whoever got to the line first was going to win," said Miller, whose win came from the pole. "The crew did a great job on that one stop, probably the best all year long. I don't blame Gary (St. Amant) at all, I would have done the same thing.
"The crew made a lot of adjustments all night. In the end, it was an awesome car. We really needed this win. This was the one race all year that we as a team really wanted."
St. Amant and Miller swapped the lead several times under caution while ASA officials were sorting the results of the pit stops. In the end, Miller had the lead and held off St. Amant until the finish. It was St. Amant's fourth podium of the season. St. Amant didn't agree with the call made on the track.
"Two weeks ago, I told ASA officials to consider moving the pit road line here," said St. Amant. "And tonight, it cost us the race. Putting Butch (Miller) in the lead with a few laps to go makes it really tough. It's just really hard to beat him here."
Johnny Sauter's streak ended at five-consecutive wins, but collected his eighth straight podium finish. His eight podium finishes breaks yet another rookie record, this for the most podium finishes in a season for a rookie. Sauter and rival Joey Clanton took turns banging on each other throughout the race.
"I'm not even going to talk about what happened on the track," said Sauter. "If he wants to drive that way, I can drive that way."
Kevin Cywinski and Clanton rounded out the top five finishes. The tires.com 300 saw six different leaders swap the lead 11 different times, with Sauter, Miller, Clanton, Mike Eddy, Tim Taylor and Todd Rosebrugh all holding the point at one time. Eight cautions slowed the field for 53 laps.
Mike Miller, Mike Garvey, Tim Taylor, Robbie Pyle and Ricky Bryant, who scored his first career top-10 finish, rounded out the top 10 places.
Sauter retains both his National Championship and Rookie of the Year points lead heading into ASA's next event, the Tecumseh 300 at Salem Speedway on July 21. The Tecumseh 300 is set to begin at 9 p.m. (Eastern) and will be telecast live on TNN Sports.