O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 will mark ASA's first Midwest appearance of 2002. Pendleton, IN (April 29, 2002) - ASA makes its first 2002 Midwest appearance on May 18-19 at Hawkeye Downs Speedway in Cedar Rapids (IA) for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 ...
O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 will mark ASA's first Midwest appearance of 2002.
Pendleton, IN (April 29, 2002) - ASA makes its first 2002 Midwest appearance on May 18-19 at Hawkeye Downs Speedway in Cedar Rapids (IA) for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 presented by STP.
Dominant performances have become the trend over the past few years at the relatively flat .50-mile Iowa oval, with Mike Garvey winning three consecutive events and Johnny Sauter capturing both checkered flags last season. Joey Clanton seems untouchable in the early portion of the 35th season of ASA Racing, and the Georgia driver hopes to add his name to the Hawkeye Downs winners' list.
Last season, ASA National Champion and Pat Schauer Memorial Rookie of the Year Johnny Sauter sliced up the competition by winning two races, grabbing one pole and leading 451 of 500 total laps in ASA races at Hawkeye Downs. He captured his first ASA win in the April event -- becoming the fourth member of the Sauter family to record an ASA national event victory -- and added a second victory at Hawkeye Downs in August.
The crucial moment of the April race came on lap 124 when all the frontrunners elected to stop for right-side tires. Sauter drove into the pits running second behind Kevin Cywinski and, thanks to quick pit work by his A.P. Performance Racing team, was firs t off pit road.
When racing resumed, Sauter was second behind Greg Williams, who had elected not to stop for a new set of BFGoodrich Tires. Sauter easily passed Williams coming out of turn two on lap 130. For the final 150 circuits, the number 9 Chevrolet was chased by tw o-time National Champion Gary St. Amant. Sauter managed to hold off St. Amant for the victory by 0.297 second, with Mike Garvey, Mike Cope and David Stremme rounding out the top-five finishers.
"I knew if I could keep the car on the bottom, it would be tough for anyone to pass me on the outside," said Sauter following his first ASA victory. "During the last week and a half, I knew we could come here and record a top-three finish."
The ASA Racing Series made its debut at Hawkeye Downs Speedway in July of 1994, with Wisconsin standout Steve Holzhausen winning the 300-lap event. Ten winners have emerged in the previous 14 races, with Garvey atop the victory charts with three. Johnny Sa uter and Bob Senneker have each earned two wins, with Holzhausen, Rick Beebe, Kevin Cywinski, Mike Eddy, Scott Hansen and Tim Sauter all rolling into the Winner's Circle on one occasion.
St. Amant is the only competitor to have started each of the previous 14 events. He leads nearly every statistical category, but hasn't produced a victory at Hawkeye Downs Speedway. The two-time National Champion has four poles, holds the track record, sit s atop the laps led category with 590 and also is either tied or solely holds the first position in podium, top-five and top-10 finishes. The Columbus (OH) driver finished a career-best (at Hawkeye Downs) second to Johnny Sauter in the April 2001 event.
Hawkeye Downs Speedway has been a fixture in Cedar Rapids (IA) since 1925. The .50-mile oval facility has also been known as Frontier Park and Cedar Rapids Speedway. In 1989, the track made a transition to become the only paved track in the state of Iowa. Other renovations included the paving of pit road, an enclosed tech building and inspection area, MUSCO broadcast-quality lighting, an electronic message board and full concession facilities.
The O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 presented by STP begins on Saturday, May 18, with three practice sessions beginning at noon (Central) and qualifying scheduled for 4:30 p.m. On race day, Sunday, May 19, pre-race festivities begin at 11 a.m. with ASA's on-track autograph session, followed by pre-race ceremonies. The event, slated for live broadcast on TNN Sports, begins at 1 p.m.
Tickets for the event are available through the ASA office at a cost of $25 each for reserved seats and $20 each for general admission. Children 12 years of age or younger are admitted free to the general admission section with a paying adult. For addition al ticket information, call the ASA ticket line toll-free at 1-888-ASA-1020.