Elko: Race notes

Elko, Minn. (September 1, 2003) -- Veteran Mike Garvey led only 19 laps at the Greased Lightning Orange Blast 400, but they were the final tours of Elko Speedway on Monday to win for the fourth time in the 2003 ASA Racing Series ...

Elko, Minn. (September 1, 2003) -- Veteran Mike Garvey led only 19 laps at the Greased Lightning Orange Blast 400, but they were the final tours of Elko Speedway on Monday to win for the fourth time in the 2003 ASA Racing Series season.

This marked the first occasion the Minnesota Labor tradition was held at Elko Speedway after several decades of successful events at Minnesota State Fairgrounds Speedway.

Garvey in the Jani-King Chevrolet used lots of patience on the .375-mile Elko Speedway oval, moving into the top 10 after making a final pit stop on lap 219 and then methodically worked his way to the front.

Garvey got inside of 1995 ASA National Champion Bryan Reffner in the Menards/Morton Salt Chevrolet on lap 382 to take command of the race and then survived a final restart with five laps remaining to record his 17th career win.

"I was being careful to save the tires for the final 100 laps," said Garvey of the win before a capacity crowd. "Our car was consistent over the final half of the race. We started out loose on the day, but the crew did a great job of making the right adjustments."

Reffner made a final run at Garvey on the last restart, looking to the outside entering turn 4, which allowed Robbie Pyle in the CITGO Chevrolet to slip past for second place.

Garvey went on to win by .532-seconds over Pyle with Reffner, Cool Shirt Cool Move of the Race Rick Beebe and Todd Kluever rounding out the top five.

"Bill McGowan (crew chief) made the right calls," said Pyle of his second place finish. "The changes the crew made really paid off at the end. I really didn't have anything for Mike (Garvey) at the end."

Reffner, who made two pit stops within the first 100 laps, said the tires just went away at the finish.

"With 10 of 15 more caution laps I could have kept the tires cool and we would have been okay, but under the green flag laps Garvey's fresher tires prevailed," said Reffner, the highest finisher of the seven former ASA Champions.

"We tried to use pit strategy to record the win. We just came up a little bit short," added Reffner, who earned the Greased Lightning Hard Charger Award, after advancing 19 positions in the 400-lap event.

2002 ASA Champion and current Busch Series competitor Joey Clanton in the Terry's Automotive Group Chevrolet led all but three laps in the opening 123 circuits, but was forced to make two pit stops under the first round of pit stops for the race leaders. Clanton climbed back toward the front of the pack when an electrical problem ended the team's run on lap 293.

1997 ASA National Champion Kevin Cywinski debuting his new look Greased Lightning Orange Blast Chevrolet finished sixth to extend the points lead over Butch Miller in the Timber Wolf Chevrolet to 107 with three events remaining. Miller after a late-race contact with Greg Stewart crossed the finish line in seventh.

Rookie point's leader Reed Sorenson of Georgia extended his margin over Florida's Travis Kittleson with posting his 12th top-10 finish. Sorenson finished in ninth position after making a late-race pass on fellow freshman competitor Davin Scites. Kittleson an early race contender lost three laps in the pit area for repairs, finishing 17th. Sorenson leads Travis Kittleson, who finished 17th, by 271 points.

The ASA Racing Series returns to action on Saturday, September 20 at Illiana Motor Speedway in Schererville, Ind., for the running of the CITGO/MDA 250 presented by Jani-King.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Bryan Reffner , Joey Clanton , Todd Kluever , Greg Stewart , Butch Miller , Travis Kittleson