Clanton avoids disaster at Indianapolis Raceway Park. CLERMONT, Ind. (September 31, 2002) -- Joey Clanton's plans to win the 2002 American Speed Association (ASA) championship nearly fell apart this past weekend at Indianapolis Raceway Park at...
Clanton avoids disaster at Indianapolis Raceway Park.
CLERMONT, Ind. (September 31, 2002) -- Joey Clanton's plans to win the 2002 American Speed Association (ASA) championship nearly fell apart this past weekend at Indianapolis Raceway Park at lap 127. As Clanton made a pass to move ahead of lapped traffic, his car was collected in a collision between two slower cars. Despite the setback, the team rallied to finish the Texas Roadhouse 200 in sixth place.
The Camp Fire USA Georgia Council Chevy lined up on the starting grid in the fifth position. Clanton held back for the first 75 laps of the event while Robbie Pyle and David Stremme traded the lead. When a caution flag flew on lap 75, crew chief Bond Suss radioed to his driver to come into the pits. Clanton brought the No. 83 down pit road in fourth place and the crew quickly changed two tires.
The field went green at lap 82, and by lap 87, Clanton had weaved through the traffic to take the lead. Once out in front, it looked as if Clanton might run away with the lead. Clanton was maintaining nearly a straightaway lead between the No. 83 and the second place car of Stremme.
All seemed to be going as planned, when on lap 127, Clanton was hit as he tried to pass two lapped cars. Leading the event, Clanton drove the No. 83 to the inside of the No. 2 car of Chad Wood and the No. 08 car of Casey Smith. As the three cars came off turn four, the No. 2 and No. 08 cars collided, sending Wood's car into the No. 83 Chevy. Clanton's car spun down the frontstretch before the front end hit the wall. The Camp Fire USA Georgia Council Chevy sustained damage to the hood, nose and sway bar.
During the caution period that followed the accident, the No. 83 Chevy pitted three times, twice for tires and once to repair the damage. The Steve Dale Motorsports crew managed to keep Clanton on the lead lap, and when the green flag waved again around lap 140, Clanton was listed in 26th.
In the last 60 laps of the event, Clanton moved up 20 positions to end his day in sixth place. Crew chief Bond Suss claimed two things allowed the team to finish on the lead lap: Joey's will and the crew's quick repair work.
"The team gave Joey a car that was almost as good as it was before the accident," stated Suss. "Joey took that injured car and drove his heart out."
Gary St. Amant, who had won the three previous events, was unable to propel his hat trick into a fourth win. St. Amant finished ninth in the event, which allowed Clanton to move ahead by 10 points in the championship race.
The crowning of the 2002 ASA champion will come down to the final event of the year. Both teams vying for the championship hold strong records at the locale of the season finale, Winchester (Ind.) Speedway. Clanton won the event in 2001, while St. Amant claimed victory in 2000.
The Winchester 400 will take place this Sunday, October 6. Be sure to tune your television to The National Network (TNN) beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET.