PENDLETON, Ind. (September 16, 2004) - After the Jani-King Minnesota 300 at Elko (Minn.) Speedway on Labor Day, the points chase for the crown in the ASA National Tour tightened up considerably as drivers shuffled positions atop the standings....
PENDLETON, Ind. (September 16, 2004) - After the Jani-King Minnesota 300 at Elko (Minn.) Speedway on Labor Day, the points chase for the crown in the ASA National Tour tightened up considerably as drivers shuffled positions atop the standings. They could see another rearrangement once the drivers have finished Saturday's BFGoodrich Tires 225 at Kentucky Speedway.
Kevin Cywinski left Minnesota still atop the championship chase, but his lead dwindled to 99 points above second place Tim Sauter who moved up one position in the standings, pushing Mike Garvey to third (107 points out of first).
"You are definitely never comfortable," Cywinski said of his lead in the points. "We got a lot of good competitors behind us. Bryan Reffner and Tim Sauter have snuck into the picture. I would be a lot more comfortable if it was the last race of the year, but it's not so we'll just keep going at it as business as usual and that's what we need to do."
"Now our strategy is just to try and win them all," Garvey said coming into the final three events of the 2004 campaign. "Kevin (Cywinski) is going to be tough to catch for points so all we can try to do is win races and do the best we can.
"I can't worry about him. I don't worry about what they do. We just try to run the best we can. We worry about ourselves, and we take care of ourselves," Garvey added.
Sauter said that for him to be champion, it would take "The guys (around me) to have some bad luck. Cywinski needs to have some trouble; he is on course for a championship, there isn't any doubt about it. If he has trouble though, everything can change."
Sauter isn't as confident as he would like heading into the final three speedway events.
"We haven't done a lot of testing and I think there are a lot of unknowns, especially with the new aero package," explained the driver of the No. 9 Lester Buildings Ford. "We don't really have any tricks up our sleeve. We haven't really spent a lot of time on (the speedway program). We've been playing catch-up all along. We are just going to go and approach those races the same way we've been and just try to get a good finish.
"We are just quietly staying in the hunt, and whatever happens, happens," Sauter said of his late-season strategy.
"We are running strong so we are just going to do what it takes as far as our team goes and then whatever happens, happens," echoed fifth place Bryan Reffner, currently 161 points behind Cywinski. "When you got momentum and things are going right it makes racing the fun that it is supposed to be.
"We're just hoping that we can get as many points as we can and maybe if a few breaks go our way we can be there at the end. Kevin is quite a ways out there, but second is quite a realistic goal for us," Reffner said of where he hopes to see his No. 80 Menards Chevrolet end the year.
When asked what it would mean for Garvey to win his first ASA National Tour championship, he stated, "It would be huge for us because that was what our goal was when we started the year out. That's the unfortunate part about something small like a tranny sticking (transmission troubles forced an early retirement of the No. 17 Jani-King Chevrolet at The Milwaukee Mile). You work yourself to death making sure you don't have any problems and then something like that reaches up to bite you."
Should Cywinski be able to keep the No. 1 Country Joe Homes Chevrolet out front, it would be his third ASA National Tour championship.
"If we are able to get the third one it would be huge," said the 1997 and 2003 championship winner. "More so than three, it would be back-to-back and it has been a while since anyone has done that and that is what we are setting as our goal for now."
The last ASA driver to repeat as champion is Mike Eddy who won in 1991 and 1992, the latter being his seventh ASA National Tour title.
The BFGoodrich Tires 225 will take the green flag at 8 p.m. EDT and will be Webcast live on www.ASAracing.com powered by Yahoo! Sports. Tickets are still available and can be obtained by calling the Kentucky Speedway ticket office at (888) 652-RACE or online through a link at www.kentuckyspeedway.com.
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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