Cywinski Opens Title Defense with a Seventh-Place Finish Champ Also Talks About ASA's New "Choose Rule" on Double-File Restarts LAKEVILLE, MN (March 29, 2004) -- Kevin Cywinski opened his defense of his American Speed Association title with ...
Cywinski Opens Title Defense with a Seventh-Place Finish
Champ Also Talks About ASA's New "Choose Rule" on Double-File Restarts
LAKEVILLE, MN (March 29, 2004) -- Kevin Cywinski opened his defense of his American Speed Association title with consistency. A strong seventh-place finish on Saturday night in the SK Hand Tools 200 at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, FL, was not evident of how strong the two-time ASA champ actual was in the season-opener.
The Country Joe Racing team qualified 10th and then overcame a number of problems throughout the event to notch his 98th career ASA top-10 finish.
"I thought we had a pretty good race car," said Cywinski. "We were fast and led some laps early. We shot ourselves in the foot mid-race when we came in to pit and left the panhard bar wrench in the car after an adjustment. We had to come back in and that pretty much shuffled us to the back of the field. We were coming back to the front pretty good and we got tagged by another car when I was passing it. That put us another 10 spots back and we were at it again.
"We were pretty fortunate because with 50 to go we were almost at the back of the field and yet we were able to come up there for a seventh-place finish."
Kevin and rest of the Country Joe Racing #1 team had a strong weekend, turning practice laps that put them in the top-five on the speed charts all weekend long. When it came time for qualifying, Cywinski's luck changed just a bit when the sun peaked out from behind the clouds and that slowed his qualifying laps.
Once the green flag dropped on the 200-lap event on Saturday night, it didn't take Cywinski long to get up to the front of the field. He led a total of 15 laps before a caution period allowed most of the field to make one of their scheduled pit stops. After that, the team fought through the adversity of the wrench mishap during their next stop and getting tagged by another car. Through it all, Cywinski was able to move the #1 back through the field and into the top-10.
"We would have been a top-three car; we just ran out of time after the problems we had."
Cywinski and the rest of the drivers were forced to learn a new race procedure for the 2004 ASA season. Double-file restarts, where drivers get to choose whether they would like to start on the inside or outside lane, are now being utilized on the ASA National Tour. While the restart caused more cautions, it also benefited Cywinski when he fell behind.
"You see a little more racing with the new rule. You take a chance when you move up on the outside groove because you usually have to play with some of the lapped cars there. It is definitely a chess game. Unfortunately, when you have this type of rule, you are gong to see more cautions.
"Our strategy was, with the double file restarts, to keep some tires on the car all night long. We knew we could gain some track position by playing that restart deal and we did.
"I think it is good for the fans. We need to do something different to keep the fans interested. If this isn't it, we'll think of something else. Steve (Dale, ASA's Owner and President) is open to everything."
Cywinski sits seventh in the ASA point standings after the first of 16 events. The Series has a month off before Cywinski and his competitors compete at Lanier National Speedway (GA) on May 1.
Country Joe Racing, with Kevin Cywinski and rookie Joey Miller, are competing full-time with the American Speed Association in 2004. For more information on the team, please visit .