Clanton drives to second in Chicago CHICAGO (July 9, 2001) - Joey Clanton and the Steve Dale Motorsports team had a great day Sunday as the team captured second place honors in the American Speed Association (ASA) Chicago 200 held at Chicago...
Clanton drives to second in Chicago
CHICAGO (July 9, 2001) - Joey Clanton and the Steve Dale Motorsports team had a great day Sunday as the team captured second place honors in the American Speed Association (ASA) Chicago 200 held at Chicago Motor Speedway from Cicero, Ill. The finish was just the momentum the No. 83 Zaxby's Real Chicken crew needed to propel them into position to capture the coveted 2001 ASA Series Championship.
Just as qualifying started on Saturday, the ASA Series looked like they would have to battle with rain to allow the field to qualify for the 200-lap event. With a freshly dried track, Clanton and five other drivers made their way around the one-mile oval attempting to qualify for the feature event. When ASA officials declared the track was still too slippery, the field was allowed to scrub their times and re-qualify. Despite a solid first qualifying run, Clanton opted to re-qualify hoping to pick up speed on a drier track. His second qualifying outing proved to be successful as Clanton put the No. 83 Zaxby's Real Chicken Chevrolet Monte Carlo in the fourth starting position for Sunday's race.
By lap three of the event, Clanton moved ahead of two of his ASA competitors, putting the No. 83 second in the lineup. Clanton would wait until the third caution period of the day to bring his No. 83 Chevrolet down pit road on lap 85 to allow his team to add fuel and change tires. While many of the ASA teams chose to change all four tires during their pit stops (ASA allows four-tire pit stops on tracks one mile in length and greater), the No. 83 team opted to only change its right side tires, hoping to give Clanton the advantage exiting the pits. The strategy worked, and by lap 91 Clanton was in the lead.
During the fifth caution of the day, at lap 130, Gene Roberts, crew chief for Steve Dale Motorsports, made the call for Clanton to pit again. Roberts wanted to gas the No. 83 Chevrolet Monte Carlo one last time and add two right side tires allowing Clanton to stay out on the track until the end.
For the last 50 laps of the race, Clanton fought a failing braking system, due to a faulty brake fan. During the seventh and the final caution of the day, Clanton, running in the second position, was able to cool his brakes down enough to allow him to take the lead when Johnny Sauter missed a gear on the restart at lap 181. Clanton held off Sauter for as long as he could, but eventually had to relinquish the lead at lap 186 when the brakes began to fault. When the checkered flag flew, Clanton came home second, satisfied but hoping for the victory.
"We had a good run today, but just came up a little short," stated Clanton. "I thought that we had him [Johnny Sauter] in the end, but he has been tough to beat. We will get him, and hopefully it will be this weekend in Berlin."
The American Speed Association will make their way to Berlin Raceway in Marne, Mich. for this Saturday's race. The sold-out crowd will be on hand for the dropping of the green flag at 9:00 p.m. EST. The race will be broadcast live on The National Network (TNN).