Madison: Race notes

Oregon, Wis. (July 18, 2003) -- It was a red leather day for Michigan veteran Butch Miller as he scored his third win of the 2003 ASA season and it was a disappointing day for Robbie Pyle. Pyle in the Citgo ...

Oregon, Wis. (July 18, 2003) -- It was a red leather day for Michigan veteran Butch Miller as he scored his third win of the 2003 ASA season and it was a disappointing day for Robbie Pyle.

Pyle in the Citgo Chevrolet appeared to be on the way to his second ASA win when he lost an engine with just 12 laps remaining to allow Miller in the Timber Wolf Chevrolet to record his 49th career win.

Miller collected $16,605 of the almost $200,000 purse in the BFGoodrich Tires 250 at Madison International Speedway on Friday.

Pyle took the lead on lap 126 with an inside move on rookie Boris Jurkovic entering Turn three and pulled away to a comfortable lead over Greg Stewart.

Miller on fresher tires started working his way back to the front after pitting for left side tires on lap 131. It was his third stop of the night.

He moved into second on lap 190 when he passed Stewart and set his sights on Pyle, but was unable to close despite several restarts.

On a restart on lap 237, Pyle's Chevrolet failed to come up to speed which allowed Miller to streak past. Pyle brought the car down pit road and was finished for the night finishing in 24th position.

Miller got the jump on the final restart with 10 laps remaining to hold off Cywinski in the Optimum Mortgage Chevrolet by 0.979 seconds with Toby Porter in the Meijer Chevrolet, Todd Kleuver in the Sign-1-1 Chevrolet and Davin Scites in the Modifiers Scale Diecast Chevrolet rounding out the top five.

Earlier in the day Miller captured the 50th pole of his ASA career, breaking a tie with legendary competitor Bob Senneker.

Miller said the Timber Wolf Chevrolet turned a bad situation to an advantage by having some caution periods fall there way in the middle stages of the race.

"We pitted early for fuel and the caution came out on lap 90 and we didn't want to pit," he said. "We wanted to stay with our plan and stop after the midway point and run to the end. Everyone else stopped, which put us out of sequence.

"The crew said we would pit for left sides on the next caution and hope for another quick caution to change rights," said Miller. "It fell our way and we had four fresh tires."

Miller said he never doubted that there was a chance to catch Pyle before the finish of the BFGoodrich 250.

"Robbie (Pyle) was getting loose coming off the corners," he said. "I think I had fresher tires at the finish."

Cywinski lost 10 points to Miller in the battle for the ASA championship but still maintains a 76-point margin with seven events remaining.

"I owe it to the crew tonight," he said. "We had an engine problem and the car wouldn't idle down on the cautions. The crew said to wait and when we pitted they disconnected a bunch of stuff that helped the situation."

Cywinski said the crew make some critical and gutsy calls when it came to pit strategy by pitting with Miller for left side tires just past the halfway point and it helped at the finish.

Porter recorded his first podium finish of the year after replacing Ryan Hemphill at the controls of the Meijer Chevrolet five races into the season.

He recorded the podium finish despite doing a 360-degree spin coming off the fourth turn on lap 104 after contact with another car.

"We had a good car," he said. "The crew changed a lot of things on the car all day and they have been working hard all year."

A near capacity crowd was treated to thrilling racing at the start with Brett Sontag in the Terry's Automotive Group Chevrolet and Stewart in the Body Balance Chevrolet racing side-by-side for the first 28 laps.

The two drivers swapped the lead a total of nine times during that span. Peter Cozzolino in the A&A Manufacturing Chevrolet inherited the lead when the leads all pitted on lap 64 and he was passed by Travis Kittleson on lap 71.

Miller took the lead for the first time on lap 106 and surrounded it to rookie Boris Jurkovic on lap 114 when he pitted for a second time. That was when Pyle moved to the front on lap 126.

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Ryan Hemphill , Brett Sontag , Greg Stewart , Travis Kittleson