PENSACOLA, FL - RIS - The ASA ACDelco Challenge Series came to Pensacola's Five Flags Speedway for the first time today, but it was a familiar face that ended the day in Victory Lane. Mike Garvey driving the All-Star Motorsports entry of Gerry ...
PENSACOLA, FL - RIS - The ASA ACDelco Challenge Series came to Pensacola's Five Flags Speedway for the first time today, but it was a familiar face that ended the day in Victory Lane. Mike Garvey driving the All-Star Motorsports entry of Gerry Gundermann started shotgun on the field but after 300 grueling laps around the high banked half-mile oval it was the AFCO Racing Pontiac that was first across the finish line.
Garvey was sent to the rear by ASA officials after he set the fastest time in qualifying only to have his tires declared to have been treated with an illegal substance. Garvey took his time working his way to the front and used some heady driving and quick pit stops to gain positions.
"We've had a fast car all weekend," Garvey said from the Winner's Circle. "This is a great team, they just kept working and we were able to make the right call all day. We feel that we've redeemed ourselves for the fiasco yesterday. We proved that we were the fastest car here."
Finishing in second place was the Coleman Racing Products Pontiac of Kevin Cywinski with the Valvoline, Allan Nott Toyota/Raabe Ford Thunderbird of Joe Nott in third. Crowd favorite Gary St. Amant in the Wynn's/West Michigan Chevy Dealers Monte Carlo came home fourth and rounding out the top five was Scott Hansen in the Schrader Racing Pontiac.
The sky for the race was a clear blue, similar to Polesitter Bob Senneker's Lane Automotive/JR Automation/Mr Gasket Ford "Bluebird". Senneker led the field down to the green and he and outside front row starter Kevin Cywinski got the crowd to their feet early as they dueled side by side for the lead until the inside line favored Senneker on the second lap and he edged ahead. But on lap seven Cywinski went back to the high side in turn three and took the lead of the race.
Cywinski slowly built a good sized lead, while back in the pack Garvey was coming through the pack like a hot knife through butter. By lap 8 he had picked up thirteen places and by the 22nd lap he was being posted in the top twenty.
By the 30th lap St. Amant had worked his way up to second, Steve Carlson, a winner two weeks ago in ASA action was perched in third and Joe Nott and Senneker rounded out the top five. As the leaders began to encounter lapped traffic, the interval ebbed and flowed, but gradually St Amant was closing down on Cywinski. Nott was able to get by Carlson and set off in pursuit of St. Amant, while a little further back Mike Eddy was edging his way towards the leading group. By now the cars were fairly well strung out, but the second groove was still slippery as cars working that groove were slipping and sliding through the corners.
The first caution of the race flew on lap 62 when Mike Cofer looped the Black and Decker Versa-Pack Chevrolet in turn two. The leaders all headed for the pits and some badly needed fresh rubber. With ASA rules dictating only two tires may be changed under yellow everyone put on new right sides and rejoined the race. Cywinski retained the lead with a quick stop and behind him it was St. Amant, Carlson, Eddy and Nott who headed the field.
Cywinski maintained the lead on the restart, but on lap 82 St. Amant got his nose under Cywinski in turn two by putting the front tires into the grass and then hung on to take the lead crossing the start/finish line. Two laps later and the second caution flew and again the lead v\cars headed for the pits. All, that is, except for Scott Hansen and Dave Sensiba. Nott led the parade out of the pits and was running third with St. Amant and Garvey in fourth and fifth.
Hansen was able to hold the point until lap 109 when it was the turn of Nott to go to the high side in turns one and two and take his turn at leading the race. Following another caution Nott continued to lead until Garvey made his move on lap 108 and took over the point, completing a run from last to first in just over one third of the race.
Garvey's lead went away on lap 124 when he slid high in turn one allowing St. Amant to take advantage of the hole and jump into the front spot. Garvey lost two more positions before settling down in fourth. St Amant, followed by Carlson proceeded to open up nearly a half-lap lead as the halfway point passed. It was not until he pitted for tires under caution on lap 162 that St. Amant gave up the front runner position, and then it was Cywinski who again picked up the point thanks to a really quick stop.
Cywinski continued to hold the lead followed by Nott, Carlson, Hansen and Rick Beebe, who had been on the pace all day, and holding just outside the top ten. Further back, Garvey and St. Amant were working their way through traffic to try and regain contact with the leaders.
On Lap 192 Nott made a move inside Cywinski to retake the lead in turn four and the others followed him through,. As the leaders approached a large pack of lapped traffic Garvey rejoined the group and proceeded to pick cars off one at a time until on lap 209 he was back in fourth spot. Hansen had taken over the lead, and many of the cars were really getting loose as the tires went away.
The next caution came out at lap 228 and with relief all the leaders headed to their crews for service. When the green flew again it was Garvey who quickly took the lead and led the top six cars nose-to tail around the track. Cywinski and Nott were each able to improve their positions by one spot on lap 235 as the six car pack lapped through traffic.
It was left to Nott to make the final dramatic pass of the day as with just five laps to go he went to the outside of Hansen. The two fought door handle-to-door handle for a lap, with Nott gaining the third spot as slower traffic caused Hansen to back off the gas in turn three.
Ten cars finished the 300 laps on the lead lap in a race that suffered only eight cautions for fifty-one laps. There were a total of 16 lead changes among 8 different drivers and the race took Two Hours and three minutes to complete.
" This was a crazy weekend," Garvey said later. "We went from the top of the world to the bottom on Saturday, and we're back on top today. It feels great!"
Cywinski felt it was the best car he had had under him all year and was pleased that the team finally seemed to be getting used to the Pontiac body.
"I wanted to pass Garvey clean," he said afterwards. "I never had the room to get underneath him and justify the risk of taking us both out."
For Nott it was the end of a string of poor finishes and he is hoping to get his program back on track.
"This is a tough track and its hard to pass." Nott commented after the race. "This is my first time here and we are happy just to come home in the top three."
The ASA's first ever Southern swing is now over, and the tour returns to the more familiar climes of the midwest with the next race at Jennerstown Speedway in Pennsylvannia. The top short track series in the nation has left its mark on southern fans who are anxiously awaiting the return of the exciting series.
John Kaiser, Racing Information Systems
Five Flags Speedway - RIS - Provisional results for the ASA ACDelco Challenge Series, Florida 300: Ps.Ql.No. Driver , Car Laps Notes -- -- ---- ----------------------------------------------------- ----- ------- 1 33 8 Mike Garvey AFCO Racing Products PONT 300 2 2 1 Kevin Cywinski Coleman Racing Products PONT 300 3 7 48 Joe Nott Valvoline/Allan Nott Toyota/RaabeFORD 300 4 5 7 Gary St Amant Wynn's/W Michigan Chevy Dealers CHEV 300 5 12 52 Scott Hansen AFCO Racing Products PONT 300 6 8 87 Steve Carlson(R)Baker Enterprises/Clean Burn PONT 300 7 11 6 Dave Sensiba Engineered Polymer/W MI Auto AuctPONT 300 8 14 23 Rick Beebe St Louis Gear/Royal Machine PONT 300 9 3 18 Mike Miller South East Air Service PONT 300 10 16 72 Junior Hanley Skillman Motorsports PONT 300 11 15 55 Tim Sauter (R) Leo M/S/Wehr/Racing Adventures PONT 299 12 19 32 Ted Smokstad Corp. Auto/SMS Parts PONT 299 13 23 0 Tom Jones Jones Motorsports PONT 299 14 31 28 Tim Taylor(R) EMAS Inc/RPS/D-A/Speedway Auto PONT 298 15 6 5 Steve Holzhausen Structural Transport FORD 298 16 22 3 Harold Fair Jr American Red Cross CHEV 297 17 26 46 Russ Gamester Gamester Motorsports CHEV 295 18 20 07 Jack Landis Adirondak/Lyndaker/Maisto/N.YoderFORD 295 19 9 81 Harold Fair Car Quest/ACDelco/Victor Reinz PONT 294 20 10 35 Buddy Schrock Big A Auto Parts/UniDial CHEV 294 21 13 26 Bill Baird Spee-Dee Pop Popcorn/Saturn Mach CHEV 292 22 28 79 Mike Cofer (R) Black & Decker Versa Pack PONT 292 23 17 86 Aaron Hough Lee's Inn and Suites PONT 291 24 24 56 Brett Bell Wunder-Bar/Red Line Oil FORD 291 25 32 66 Kurt Hough (R) New Plaestine Drywall PONT 288 26 27 11 Doug Mayr(R) No Touch Car Care/Aqua Splash CHEV 248 27 1 84 Bob Senneker Lane Auto/JR Automation/Mr GasketFORD 244 28 21 88 Mike Eddy GM Goodwrench Service/HRE PONT 238 29 29 58 Billy Turner Sanifill/Central Fiber PONT 224 30 18 33 Brad Loney Bunsaver/Hunter's Spec/Flexsteel PONT 224 31 30 93 Alec Pinsonneault Build-A-Mold/Trimplas/Moldplas PONT 221 32 25 92 Sammy Pegram Dorothy Lynch Home Style Salad DrCHEV 200 33 4 51 Brandon Sperling Sperling Motorsports CHEV 77 (R)= Pat Schauer Memorial Rookie Candidate Time of Race : 2 hr 3 min 7 secs Margin of Victory : .241 secs Lap Leaders : Cywinski, Senneker, St. Amant, Hansen, Nott, Garvey and Taylor. Cautions : 8 for 51 laps Track Length : 0.5000 Miles John Kaiser RIS/AL