Illinai: Race report

Schererville, Ind. (September 20, 2003) -- ASA Racing Series point's leader Kevin Cywinski took a major step toward winning his second championship by turning in a dominant weekend to win the CITGO/MDA 250 presented by ...

Schererville, Ind. (September 20, 2003) -- ASA Racing Series point's leader Kevin Cywinski took a major step toward winning his second championship by turning in a dominant weekend to win the CITGO/MDA 250 presented by Jani-King at Illiana Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 20.

Driving the Greased Lightning Orange Blast/SK Hand Tool Chevrolet, Cywinski set a new track record in CITGO Pole Qualifying to start on the pole position and then led 155 of the 250 laps to record his fourth win of 2003.

Cywinski took the lead for the final time on lap 160 with an inside power move underneath Gary St. Amant in The Medicine Shoppe Chevrolet. From there Cywinski was never headed but $50,000 Rookie standout Reed Sorenson in the ACDelco Chevrolet and Toby Porter in the Meijer Chevrolet closed with 15 laps remaining.

The 11th and final caution flag waved on lap 233 when Peter Cozzolino in the A&A Manufacturing Chevrolet spun and hit the Turn one retaining wall.

That set up a 13-lap shoot-out to the end, but Cywinski was able to keep Sorenson at bay by 0.229 seconds with Porter coming home in third and St. Amant and Bryan Reffner in the Morton Salt/Menards Chevrolet rounding out the top five.

"The car was awesome," said Cywinski. "I was starting to get ready at the finish because the car was starting to get tight.

"I really have to thank the crew," he said. "We tried a new set-up and it was the right move to make. We went back to the old set-up for qualifying, but the crew wanted to use the new set-up."

Entering the CITGO/MDA 250 presented by Jani-King Cywinski held a 109-point lead over Butch Miller in the Timber Wolf Chevrolet and leaves with a lead of 149 markers with two races remaining.

"We didn't want Butch (Miller) to beat us," Cywinski said.

Sorenson, who started 11th, said he thought he might have a chance to pass Cywinski on the final restart.

"I was better in Turns 3 and 4 and he was better through Turns 1 and 2," Sorenson said. "I would close up and then he would gain it back. It would have been tough to pass him. I went to the outside a couple of times, but it was too loose at the end of the race."

Combining Sorenson's second place finish with the 31st showing of Travis Kittleson in the Bob Steele Chevrolet, the Georgia rookie locked up the 2003 Pat Schauer Memorial Rookie of the Year honors.

Sorenson leads Kittleson by 383 points with two races remaining. Sorenson only has to start either event to secure the title and the $50,000 bonus.

Porter gained two positions in the final 20 laps to record the podium finish, but pit strategy might have hurt the team.

"We pitted with 80 laps to go and put on right side tires," Porter said. "We stuck to our plan and that hurt us at the end. About halfway through we had a good car and pitted for left side tires and lost all of our track position. It seemed like I passed every car twice except for Kevin (Cywinski) and Reed (Sorenson).

Cywinski led the first 62 laps while being chased by his closest nemesis in the point standings, Butch Miller in the Timber Wolf Chevrolet with Brent Sontag running third.

Sontag claimed the lead on lap 63 when Cywinski made the first of two pit stops as all of the front-runners made a stop. Sontag in the Terry's Automotive Group Chevrolet was chased by Rich Loch in the Viega Chevrolet and Rich Bickle in the Trackside Charities Chevrolet.

When Sontag pitted on lap 77, that gave Chad Wood the point in the second Trackside Charities Chevrolet. Cywinski regained the lead on lap 88 by slipping inside of Wood through Turns 3 and 4.

Three laps later Cywinski made his second and final pit stop, which again put Wood on the point. Wood led until lap 96 when Cozzolino made an outside pass through Turns 3 and 4.

St. Amant went to the front on lap 147 when he got inside of Cozzolino coming off the fourth corner and led until Cywinski made the final pass on lap 160.

Cywinski averaged 62.503 mph for the race that was slowed a total of 11 times for 59 laps. Thirty of the 34 cars starting the race finished the event.

The ASA Racing Series returns to action on Saturday, October 4 at Salem Speedway for the running of the Pep Boys 300 presented by Greased Lightning Orange Blast.

For additional information on the ASA Racing Series visit asaracing.com.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Rich Bickle , Butch Miller , Travis Kittleson