ELKO, Minn. (September 6, 2004) - Veteran driver Mike Garvey was to start the Jani-King Minnesota 300 presented by Polaris in second, thanks to the rain-out of qualifying which set the field by owners points. Instead, he started the Elko (Minn.)...
ELKO, Minn. (September 6, 2004) - Veteran driver Mike Garvey was to start the Jani-King Minnesota 300 presented by Polaris in second, thanks to the rain-out of qualifying which set the field by owners points. Instead, he started the Elko (Minn.) Speedway event from the 32nd position, and was able to slice through the entire field to capture his third ASA National Tour win of the season.
During the pre-race technical inspection, both Garvey's No. 17 jani-King Chevrolet and the No. 1 Country Joe Homes Chevrolet of Kevin Cywinski were found in violation of mechanical rules. Consequently, both drivers had to start from the rear of the field, a major penalty considering they had been the front row of the Labor Day race. Additionally, they will be penalized 50 points and were ineligible for any special awards from the event.
Yet starting from the rear didn't faze the veteran racer, who, through a combination of adept driving and good pit strategy, was able to take the lead on lap 141 and hold on for the win in the 300-lap thriller.
"That (starting at the back) was something we really didn't want to do. It was a questionable infraction, but what do you do?" Garvey queried. "I give ASA credit for sticking to their guns and it will make the series better all around for doing that. So we started last and luckily we still ended up winning.
"It was tough to pass," Garvey said of the 0.375-mile facility. "We had a bunch of guys that were about the same speed and we could catch up to them, but passing them was another story. The track got really kind of greasy there in the middle of the race so we decided that our best bet would be to stay out since the car was really good."
It was Garvey's third win on the season, still making him the only driver to win more than one race this year. It took him one hour, 47 minutes and 20.349-seconds to finish the event, a new track record for the ASA National Tour cars.
On his bumper across the finish line was Reed Sorenson who did all he could to get his No. 29 Target Dodge into the winners circle. Sorenson tried to make the high groove work, but found the going treacherous as he continually got sideways off Turn 4.
"It's such a small track you can barely pass," the Peachtree, Ga., driver said. "Garvey was hugging the bottom and I tried him on the outside but there may have been some oil or something on the track because it was greasy."
Though Sorenson desperately wants to win his first career ASA National Tour race before he moves full-time to the NASCAR Busch Series next season in a Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge, he claims that he never though about using the bumper to move Garvey out of the line.
"That seems like a cheap way to win," said the 18-year-old driver. "I really want to win bad, but if (Garvey) did it to me to win then I would do it back to him. Bet he's never done it to me so I try to treat people like they treat me."
Greg Stewart crossed the line in third, and based on the enthusiasm he showed jumping out of the car, one would think he was the race winner. Stewart, with a huge smile on his face, saluted the fans that had lined the catch fence, much to the cheers of the near-capacity crowd.
"I'm as happy as I've been in a long time," said the driver of the No. 33 Keener Lumber Chevrolet. "We had the best car thanks to Preston Miller, my awesome crew chief. "We just made too many pit stops trying to get the car right - and we got it right but we just ran out of time. I don't know what my crew chief did to the car, but he got it freed up by the end of the race.
"I don't know for sure, but I was probably a little quicker than the 29 (Sorenson), but I didn't want to rough him up," Steward said. "I'm just glad to have a podium finish." It was Stewart's best finish of the season, and his first podium since 2003.
Tim Sauter and Robbie Pyle rounded out the Top-5, followed by Butch Miller, Peter Cozzolino, Bryan Reffner, Brett Sontag and Kevin Cywinski. The Jani-King Minnesota 300 presented by Polaris saw seven lead changes among seven drivers, and 15 of the 32 starters finished on the lead lap. There were 12 cautions for 69 laps.
Capturing the special awards were Garvey who was the BFGoodrich Tires Halfway Leader, and Stewart who was awarded the Cool Shirt "Cool Move of the Race." The VP Fuels "Hard Charger of the Race" was Gary St. Amant who moved up 15 positions from his starting spot of 32nd.
The next event for the ASA National Tour is Saturday, September 18 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky. 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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