Clanton ties Eddy for season-opening wins

Clanton ties Eddy for most victories to open a season goes for record at Pensacola on May 5th. Pendleton, IN (April 24, 2002) - With Joey Clanton's victory in the Textilease 300 on April 13 at Big Daddy's South Boston Speedway, the third-year ...

Clanton ties Eddy for most victories to open a season goes for record at Pensacola on May 5th.

Pendleton, IN (April 24, 2002) - With Joey Clanton's victory in the Textilease 300 on April 13 at Big Daddy's South Boston Speedway, the third-year Georgia driver tied the record of three consecutive victories to start an ASA season, established by Mike Ed dy. Eddy, of Midland (MI), won the season's first three races in 1995 and no one has won more than three to open the year.

Eddy turned the season-opening hat trick with victories at Columbus (OH) Motor Speedway, Toledo (OH) Speedway and at Indianapolis Raceway Park in Clermont (IN).

The differences in location of the events may be the most significant from 1995, as Eddy's wins came in Ohio and Indiana, ASA's traditional geographic base. Only seven years later in 2002, Clanton recorded his trio of victories in Florida, California and V irginia, with victories at USA International Speedway in Lakeland (FL), Irwindale (CA) Speedway and South Boston. In that respect, the ASA Racing Series has changed dramatically.

Joey Clanton held off Kevin Cywinski and Gary St. Amant to grab all three of his successes. Mike Eddy, on the other hand, shared his three podiums with Glenn Allen Jr. (now Russ Tuttle's crew chief/team manager), Butch Miller (part-time in ASA for 2002), M ike Miller (semi-retired), Joe Nott (for now gone from ASA entirely) and Brad Loney (also out of racing). The only competitors in the respective fields from seven years ago are Gary St. Amant and Rick Beebe.

An interesting comparison might be the shear dominance exhibited by both drivers. Clanton led for 745 of the 800 laps (93.1 percent) in the three events, while Eddy topped the field for 395 of the 800 (49.4 percent) contested in his three wins. The Michiga n driver held the lead three times at IRP and once each at Columbus and Toledo. Clanton was on the point for five separate occasions in his conquests.

Although articles from the 1995 record-setting event at IRP mentioned the accomplishment, Eddy was never quoted about it specifically. He simply credited runner-up Glenn Allen Jr. with some excellent racing while the two drivers competed side by side.

"You have to get a good run here to get by on the bottom," Eddy said. "It takes what they call a 'slide job.' You have to get far enough by or you'll wreck both cars. Glenn gave me the racing room."

Eddy's streak ended at Jennerstown (PA) Speedway on June 10 of that season. He finished third behind Bob Senneker and eventual 1995 ASA National Champion Bryan Reffner.

Eddy led that race on lap 171 when Senneker took over the lead. A caution flag on lap 181 brought him into the pits and he re-entered the event 13th, with Senneker holding the lead by staying out on that round of pit stops. Eddy's charge to the front was d elayed when he go into an intense battle with Scott Hansen and Tony Raines. Eddy and Hansen ran side-by-side with Eddy on the low side and Hansen running the high groove.

After the race, Hansen said Eddy probably had a faster car, but both drivers wanted the high line. "I couldn't get around Raines, who was also running the high line," Hansen said. "The lapped cars made it tough to pass.

"I don't care what people say, Mike Eddy raced me clean. We ran side-by-side for a number of laps and we never touched. It was great racing."

At the checkers, Senneker beat Reffner to the line by .15 seconds, with Eddy third.

Despite the consecutive streak being broken, Eddy led a total of 153 laps in the 250-lap race. It was a dramatic way for his steak to end and at Pensacola's Five Flag Speedway on May 5, Clanton will look to break the record he now shares with Eddy in an eq ually dramatic fashion.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Tony Raines , Bryan Reffner , Joey Clanton , Butch Miller , Scott Hansen