JENNERSTOWN, Penn. (July 12, 2002) ? Kicking off the second half of the American Speed Association (ASA) season, Joey Clanton drove the No. 83 Camp Fire USA Georgia Council Chevrolet Monte Carlo to a tenth-place finish in Sunday's Pennsylvania 300...
JENNERSTOWN, Penn. (July 12, 2002) ? Kicking off the second half of the American Speed Association (ASA) season, Joey Clanton drove the No. 83 Camp Fire USA Georgia Council Chevrolet Monte Carlo to a tenth-place finish in Sunday's Pennsylvania 300 held at Jennerstown (Penn.) Speedway. Despite leading 169 circuits of the event, a late race accident sent the No. 83 spinning, forcing Clanton out of the lead and out of contention for his eighth win of the 2002 season. The tenth-place finish holds down the team's top spot in the standings with a 116-point advantage over the second place position holder.
The Steve Dale Motorsports team chose not to test at Jennerstown Speedway prior to Sunday's event. With five new tracks on the 2002 schedule, and two top-10 finishes at Jennerstown, the team decided to use its time to test at other facilities. Despite the lack of track time, Clanton clocked a qualifying lap of 97.748 miles per hour at a time of 19.225 seconds, putting him on the outside of row one for the start of the event.
At the drop of the green flag, Clanton quickly moved into his usual position taking over the lead from pole-winner Butch Miller. The No. 83 Camp Fire USA Georgia Council Chevy continued to pace the field through three cautions before relinquishing the lead to Davin Scites when the team chose to pit on lap 85. The No. 83 pit crew beat their competitors off pit road sending Clanton out with new right-side tires and fuel. Clanton's experience and fresh rubber proved too much for Scites as he relinquished the lead to Clanton on lap 97.
With the patchy surface of the half-mile flat track wearing on the older left-side tires, crew chief Bond Suss made the call to bring Clanton down pit road on lap 133 during the sixth caution period of the event. Clanton was first in and first out of the pits, but dropped to ninth place after several cars chose not to pit. With nearly a third of the field in front of him, Clanton had his work cut out for him in order to move back to the front.
At lap 211, Clanton took the lead for the third time in the race fighting off advances from eventual race winner Butch Miller. Miller and Clanton swapped the top spot three more times before Clanton took the lead for the final time on lap 238.
On lap 269, while in the lead, the No. 1 Chevrolet of Kevin Cywinski made contact with the right rear corner of the No. 83 Camp Fire USA Georgia Council Chevy. The bump pushed Clanton out of the lead and around on the backstretch. Clanton fell to the 13th spot following the incident, but managed to break into the top-10 before the checkered flag flew on lap 300.
Despite missing out on the win, Clanton seemed satisfied with the finish. "That's just racing. I know that Kevin [Cywinski] was out there racing for the win like I was. We've bumped into some people too this year. Kevin was driving a different line than I was and he just got into the corner at a different angle than I did. "
Salem Speedway, located in Salem, Indiana, marks the next stop on the schedule for the Steve Dale Motorsports crew. The track, which has hosted racing events for more than 50 years, will drop the green flag for the event at 9:00 p.m. on July 20. The event will be broadcast tape-delayed on The National Network (TNN) beginning at 12:00 a.m. Eastern on July 21.