SPARTA, Ky. (September 18, 2004) - From the cockpit of Mike Garvey's No. 17 Jani-King Chevrolet, it looked a long way to the front of the field. After all, a late pit stop placed him tenth in line with just 15 laps remaining in the BFGoodrich...
SPARTA, Ky. (September 18, 2004) - From the cockpit of Mike Garvey's No. 17 Jani-King Chevrolet, it looked a long way to the front of the field. After all, a late pit stop placed him tenth in line with just 15 laps remaining in the BFGoodrich Tires 225 at Kentucky Speedway.
Undaunted, Garvey moved around five cars within two laps of green flag action, then by lap 140 of the 150-lap event had charged to second place behind then-leader Bryan Reffner and the No. 80 Menards Chevrolet. Still, it looked as though second may be as far as he could go as Reffner held a 1.2-second lead.
Garvey, with four fresh tires on his car, was clearly the fastest on the track and he kept slicing the gap, hunted Reffner down and made the pass for the lead through Turn 2 on lap 146. From there it was clear sailing to his fourth win of the season. No other driver in the ASA National Tour has won more than a single event this year.
The decision to pit late so late in the race when Garvey was in second place at the time was highly debated among the driver and his crew chief Shane Tesh, but the strategy turned out to be the Cool Shirt Cool Move of the Race. Garvey led a total of 67 laps on four occasions.
"Well, we debated that and I didn't think I could get back around Bryan (Reffner)," Garvey said of his pit strategy. "We started to get a little tight before that and we said 'You know what, we came here to win.' We know we can finish second and I thought I could get back that far up anyways. Luckily it was the right call.
"It was exactly what Scott Lagasse did the first race," added the Atlanta, Ga., driver referring to the same late tire strategy used to win the first Kentucky Speedway event in May. "Without him showing us I don't know if we would have had the guts to do it. These guys (Garvey's crew) don't ever give up. We come here and fight, fight, fight. We don't care what the adversity is. We don't care what obstacles they throw at us. We come here to win."
Once he was passed for the lead, Reffner faded in the last few laps to finish the event in seventh. Crossing the line ahead of him was Butch Miller, Reed Sorenson, Jason Dietsch, Jay Miller and Casey Smith. Robbie Pyle, Ryan Unzicker and Kevin Cywinski rounded out the Top-10.
Once again, like we have seen so many times this season, Miller struggled early in the race and nearly went a lap down but continued to work on his No. 52 Timber Wolf Chevrolet and was in the hunt at the end. Following Garvey's strategy, Miller and Sorenson also pitted on lap 135 for four new BFGoodrich Traction T/A tires.
"Reed made a pretty smart move there too by putting on four tires," Miller said. "I didn't realize it was that much of an advantage, but apparently four new tires are a lot better than four used ones."
"I was loose on entry the whole race and I was pretty much scared to drive it in there because I got loose two or three times and watched a couple of guys back it into the wall because all it takes is a little slip and you're gone," Sorenson said. "The last 15 laps there I decided I got to go a little bit extra. I almost lost it in Turn 1 trying to catch Butch. I gathered it back up but fell about a lap short of catching him."
The VP Fuels Hard Charger of the Race was Ryan Unzicker who moved up 20 spots in the event, and Tesh was the SK Hand Tool Crew Chief of the Race. There were 8 cautions for 63 laps, and the competitive event
saw 10 lead changes among six drivers. At a total of 225.0-miles, this was the longest race on the ASA National Tour schedule.
Brent Downey, driver of the No. 22 Lucas Oil/Commonwealth Engineers Chevrolet, slammed the Turn 3 wall hard in a single car incident on lap 66. Downey was examined and transported to a local hospital for further evaluation.
The ASA National Tour is winding to a conclusion with just two events remaining on the schedule. The teams will be in action next at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Thursday, October 14, followed by the season-finale on October 29 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. 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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