PENDLETON, Ind. (October 8, 2004) -- While the fans at Lowe's Motor Speedway will have traveled many miles to watch the ASA National Tour's Aaron's 99 presented by Jani-King, several of the drivers have come even further. The Oct. 14 event has a...
PENDLETON, Ind. (October 8, 2004) -- While the fans at Lowe's Motor Speedway will have traveled many miles to watch the ASA National Tour's Aaron's 99 presented by Jani-King, several of the drivers have come even further. The Oct. 14 event has a strong international flavor as competitors from Australia, England, Germany, and Scotland are all scheduled to compete.
Mark Plows, from Canberra, Australia, is looking forward to his first race with the ASA National Tour since 2000, and he heads to Lowe's Motor Speedway with realistic goals.
"We're hoping to have a Top-15 finish," Plows said. "We've got a brand-new car and have been lucky enough to have it prepared for this race by Howe Racing Enterprises. My co-crew chiefs, Tommy Lumpkin and Jack Van Allen, have been doing their homework, and we should be well-prepared for the event." Plows indicated that he is working on sponsorship that would allow him to be a full-time competitor in 2005.
England's John Mickel competes in the ASCAR "Days of Thunder" Series using ASA-style stock cars. The Cambridgeshire driver won the World Legends title at Sears Point in 2001 and is looking forward to the challenge of competing on the high speed American ovals.
"I'm extremely happy to be going back to race in America," Mickel, the 2001 ASCAR champion, said. "I am under no illusions that this is going to be easy but I am going to give it my best shot and I'm confident of doing well in front of the American fans."
London, England's Ben Collins, the 2003 ASCAR series champion, is expected to race in the No. 42UK vehicle and also represent his country on the American ovals.
Hailing from Neurenberg, Germany, Matthias Czabok has competed in several ASA National Tour races this season in his distinctive No. 07 Udderly Smooth Udder Cream Ford which is painted like a Holstein cow.
"I think the main differences (between American and European motorsports) are that the atmosphere in the U.S. is much more focused on entertaining than in Europe," Czabok explained. "I also think it is more family friendly than in Europe, and even when it is the same competitively the drivers talk more with each other and are closer to the fans. In Europe, everybody is mostly focused on his own stuff."
Czabok's main problem with other drivers is not the personality differences or cultural clashes like many would expect; instead he has trouble understanding the drivers that are from the South and have difficult accents.
John Dalziel goes to college full-time in Scotland and flies in for the ASA races. With a strong open-wheel background, Dalziel is making the transition to stock cars with the help of SS Racing and his teammate Butch Miller, a three-time champion and one of ASA's most legendary drivers.
"When I came to the States I had never raced on an oval course," Dalziel said. "I had never driven a stock car. I had never even driven a car with a roof."
Dalziel said at the time the only thing he knew of stock car racing was from the movie "Days of Thunder" and "Dukes of Hazzard" TV reruns - certainly not the best first impression to have - but he has since seen through the stereotypes.
"I guess there seems to be this redneck impression (in stock car racing) but I don't see it in ASA," Dalziel said. "I think ASA is really professional, and so is NASCAR."
The only time that he even notices a serious difference in the American culture is with people's names.
"Before I came over here I had never heard of Butch Miller in my life," Dalziel said with a laugh. "I didn't know who he was. I didn't even know that there were people called Butch."
The Aaron's 99 presented by Jani-King will take the green flag at 8:45 p.m. EDT and will be Webcast live on www.ASAracing.com powered by Yahoo! Sports. Tickets are still available and can be obtained by calling the Lowe's Motor Speedway ticket office at (800) 455-FANS or online through a link at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com/tickets/.
The American Speed Association is based in Pendleton, Ind., and has offered stock car racing programs since 1968, including the ASA National Tour, ASA Late Model Series, several regional touring series, and the ASA Member Track programs. For additional information, visit asaracing.com.
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