Joey Clanton Hawkeye Downs race report

Five for Five for Clanton in ASA Series. CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (May 19, 2002) -- Five for five as Joey Clanton, driving the unstoppable Camp Fire USA Georgia Council Chevrolet Monte Carlo, reached the checkered flag first in the running of the ...

Five for Five for Clanton in ASA Series.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (May 19, 2002) -- Five for five as Joey Clanton, driving the unstoppable Camp Fire USA Georgia Council Chevrolet Monte Carlo, reached the checkered flag first in the running of the American Speed Association (ASA) O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 held at Hawkeye Downs Speedway in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The win tied Johnny Sauter's 2001 five-in-a-row record and sets up Clanton to put his own name in the record books again at the upcoming sixth race on the ASA schedule.

When Joey Clanton qualified 15th for the event the ASA circuit breathed a sigh a relief thinking that the No. 83 team's streak finally had ended. What the competition did not realize was that Clanton's qualifying run was slowed by a cool track that didn't allow his tires optimal grip. Prior to the race Clanton stated, "We have a much better car than what showed in qualifying. The sun went behind the clouds right before I qualified and I just couldn't get my tires to stick."

Clanton's claim of a super-fast car was evident within the first few laps of the event. By lap 44, the No. 83 bettered its starting position five spots taking over the tenth position. The flame-decaled Chevy continued its hunt for the front quickly passing the field taking the high line - not considered the optimal line - around the track. By lap 60, Clanton passed ASA veteran Gary St. Amant for the third position and set his sights on the No. 1 car of Kevin Cywinksi. Before Clanton could take over the top spot, Bond Suss, crew chief of the Steve Dale Motorsports team, ordered his driver to bring the car down pit road for a two-tire pit stop.

Always one of the fastest and most consistent pit crew in the series, the Camp Fire USA Georgia Council team flew through their points and put Clanton back out onto the track in the fourth position after two competitors chose not to pit. Clanton took over the lead on lap 125 after passing both the leader and the second-place car in a one-lap outside pass. Despite a near miss when the No. 44 car of Peter Cozzolino spun in front of the No. 83 Chevy, Clanton continued to lead until ASA veteran Mike Eddy passed him on lap 211.

Several caution periods during the third-part of the race kept Clanton from warming up his BF Goodrich tires and making the move for the lead. Finally, a green flag period following a lap 273 restart allowed the No. 83 to make a run on the No. 88 car of Mike Eddy. On lap 283, charging hard into the corner, Clanton nudged the back of the No. 88 sending Eddy spinning. The unfortunate incident is typical of short track racing and is what makes the ASA the premier and fan's favorite short track series. With the field behind him, Clanton drove through the clean air and easily took the checkered flag.

"It's not the way that I wanted to win the race, but that is what happens on these short tracks," stated Clanton. "We had a great car all day, but so did several other competitors. Luck and hard work combined for another win for the Camp Fire USA Georgia Council team." The team collected 195 points for their win giving them 1,008 points in total and 156 point lead over second place.

The next stop on the American Speed Association schedule is Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan on Saturday, June 1. The National Network (TNN) will air the event tape-delayed - so check your local listings.

-sdm-

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Johnny Sauter , Joey Clanton