Rookie championship preview

Pendleton, IN (March 14, 2003) -- One of the most anticipated seasons in the 36-year history of ASA Racing begins on March 22 at USA International Speedway with the Jani- King 200. The $50,000 Rookie Championship is wide open with 19 competitors...

Pendleton, IN (March 14, 2003) -- One of the most anticipated seasons in the 36-year history of ASA Racing begins on March 22 at USA International Speedway with the Jani- King 200. The $50,000 Rookie Championship is wide open with 19 competitors having their eyes directed at the legendary Pat Schauer trophy. Former winners of the ASA Rookie title include Mark Martin, Kenny Wallace, Ted Musgrave, Johnny Benson, Kevin Cywinski, Steve Carlson, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Clanton, Johnny Sauter and David Stremme.

Among the top competitors are four drivers each from the state of Florida, three from Georgia, two from Indiana while Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia also sport new talent for the 2003 ASA Racing Series.

Dwayne Buggay of Atlanta (GA) has raced at Lanier National Speedway finishing in the top-five of that track's final points standings. Buggay has also made appearances in the Southern All-Stars Racing Series. In his 2003 venture into ASA Racing, Buggay will receive assistance from series veteran Mike Garvey.

Justin Drawdy, of Ft. Pierce (FL), after four years of racing super Late Models in the Sunshine State, makes a move to the ASA Racing Series. In 2002, Drawdy won the Florida State Championship.

Brent Downey, 20, began his career in Quarter Midgets and notched numerous victories. He then competed in Legends during the 1999 season, capturing the National Championship and Anderson Speedway Track Title. In 2000, Downey competed in his first season in a Late Model, finishing 10th in the Sunoco Super Series. The following season he ranked eighth and produced four top-10 finishes. In 2002, Downey finished 14th in the final standings after recovering from an early season hand injury that forced him to miss some events. The 2002 highlights included four top-five finishes, seven top 10s and his first pole at Angola Motor Speedway.

Former Busch Series North winner Tracy Gordon made his ASA debut at Berlin Raceway in July of 2002, finishing in the 16th-position after starting the Tires.com 300 Presented by BFGoodrich Tires on the outside of the eighth row. Gordon, 37, additionally competed in the 2002 ASA season finale at Winchester Speedway, recording his career-best finish of 13th. Gordon recently signed AutoVantage as primary sponsor on his number 16 car.

Charlie Hanna of Goshen (IN) began his racing career at New Paris Speedway near in South Bend, racing with David Stremme. Lou Stremme, David's father and Doug Hanna, Charlie's father, have raced against each other for many years at the .25-mile racetrack. Over the course of many years of fender-to-fender action at the Hoosier track, the families have become close.

Ryan Hemphill of Oakmont (PA) made eight starts in ASA during the 2000 and 2001 seasons, producing a best finish of sixth at Chicago Motor Speedway. The 21-year-old competitor additionally led 18 circuits and collected $14,540 in prize money. Hemphill takes over driving chores for David Stremme, who moved to the Busch Series.

22-year-old Ian Huffman, of Deltona (FL), will drive for Appalachian Motorsports of Kingsport (TN). The team hired veteran racer Scott Hansen as crew chief to help guide the freshman driver the biggest challenge of his racing career.

In 2002, Travis Kittleson colleted the winner's hardware from the Orange Blossom 100 at New Smyrna Speedway to start the season. Kittleson pocketed four victories out of four Sunbelt Super Series events at three different racetracks. He also made five starts in ASA, recording a career-best fourth starting position and career-best finishing position of seventh.

Reigning I-94 Raceway Late Model Champion Jesse Klug will drive the number 91 Grandstay Residential Suites Chevrolet for the ETC Motorsports team owned by Rod Lindquist, of St. Cloud (MN).

2001 St. Augustine Speedway Track Champion Scott Lagasse Jr. moves to ASA in 2003. Lagasse, 22, has made one start in the series that is known to build champions, finishing in the 31st position at the 2001 season-opening event at St. Augustine Speedway. The Florida competitor will receive sponsorship backing from Nelson Plumbing and Estate Title.

Stephen Leicht, a high school sophomore, is the youngest first-year driver in 2003. Leicht, 16, began racing quarter midgets at age seven and advanced to the Late Model division at 12. He has 13 Late Model victories and additionally captured the 2002 American Challenge Series Championship. Leicht made two starts in ASA in 2002, recording a best finish of 13th at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Batavia (IA) native Jeremy Miller was the 1999 track champion at Eldon and additionally won the Tradition event at Adams County Speedway in Corning (IA). In 2000, Miller sailed to the winner's circle at the Budweiser Race of Champions, an event at Southern Iowa Speedway. In 2001, Lee County Speedway crowned him track champion while also winning the Shiverfest. Last season, he collected hardware at Beatrice Speedway in the Spring Nationals.

Like many of today's racecar drivers, Davin Scites began racing at the age of five in the go-kart division. In 1996, he moved to Legends cars, learning the basics at local tracks and also in Ohio. The following season proved to be key for Scites as he notched the biggest victories of his early career. He won the Summer Shootout and championship at Lowe's Motor Speedway and later that season captured the road course Legends nationals in Phoenix at Firebird International Raceway.

Shane Sieg follows in the steps of drivers moving from the Southeast series to ASA with the most recent high profile transition being that of two-time series champion Mike Cope. The Florida ace finished seventh in the 2001 ASA standings and grabbed rookie runner-up honors.

Casey Smith of Austin (TX) began racing at five years old, starting in the quarter midget ranks. He then advanced to legends and eventually to the high-powered Late Model division. Smith now prepares for a venture to America's Premier Short Track Series in 2003.

A long-time competitor around Chicago area tracks such as Grundy County Speedway and Illiana Motor Speedway, Sontag boasts a nearly 15-year career. After competing on the Mid-American Stock Car Division, Sontag moved into Late Models at his home track in Morris (IL) and won the 2001 and 2002 Late Model championships at Grundy County Speedway. Sontag also competed in a part-time effort on RE/MAX Challenge Series before teaming with car owner Kunes in the off-season for their ASA effort.

Georgia competitor Reed Sorenson enters the rookie class after producing superb results during a partial 2002 schedule. In eight starts, the 17-year-old racer finished among the top-five finishes on three occasions and seven times in the top 10. His lone poor outing occurred while racing among the leaders at South Boston Speedway and then got bumped into the retaining wall. In 2003, he drives for Automotive Promotions Inc., who captured series championships with Gary St. Amant in 1998 and 2000.

Kris Stump has had 134 top-five finishes including 33 wins in 177 career Late Model starts. His Late Model championships came in consecutive seasons, initially as a rookie at the .375-mile oval of Kil-Kare Speedway near Xenia, Ohio.

Beginning racing at age 15, John Webb competed in the limited Late Model division. He captured two pony four-cylinder championships and advanced to the high-powered Late Model division, racing in Oklahoma at tracks like Altus Speedway, in the southwest portion of the Sooner State.

"The plan is to compete in all 17 races and try to finish among the top 20. I'm looking forward to further use of the BFGoodrich Radial Tires and also the fuel-injected engine package. The engine drew me to this series and I'm looking forward to my future involvement with ASA."

The ASA Racing Series has produced all levels of competitive racing for its prized $50,000 Rookie Title in the series previous 35 seasons. The roster of talent for the upcoming 36th season appears to be among the best rookie classes, in terms of quality, quantity and geography, that the American Speed Association has ever seen.

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<pre> $50,000 ASA Rookie Championship Wide Open

Pendleton, IN (March 14, 2003) -- One of the most anticipated seasons in the 36-year history of ASA Racing begins on March 22 at USA International Speedway with the Jani- King 200. The $50,000 Rookie Championship is wide open with 19 competitors having their eyes directed at the legendary Pat Schauer trophy. Former winners of the ASA Rookie title include Mark Martin, Kenny Wallace, Ted Musgrave, Johnny Benson, Kevin Cywinski, Steve Carlson, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Clanton, Johnny Sauter and David Stremme.

Among the top competitors are four drivers each from the state of Florida, three from Georgia, two from Indiana while Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia also sport new talent for the 2003 ASA Racing Series.

Dwayne Buggay of Atlanta (GA) has raced at Lanier National Speedway finishing in the top-five of that track's final points standings. Buggay has also made appearances in the Southern All-Stars Racing Series. In his 2003 venture into ASA Racing, Buggay will receive assistance from series veteran Mike Garvey.

Justin Drawdy, of Ft. Pierce (FL), after four years of racing super Late Models in the Sunshine State, makes a move to the ASA Racing Series. In 2002, Drawdy won the Florida State Championship.

Brent Downey, 20, began his career in Quarter Midgets and notched numerous victories. He then competed in Legends during the 1999 season, capturing the National Championship and Anderson Speedway Track Title. In 2000, Downey competed in his first season in a Late Model, finishing 10th in the Sunoco Super Series. The following season he ranked eighth and produced four top-10 finishes. In 2002, Downey finished 14th in the final standings after recovering from an early season hand injury that forced him to miss some events. The 2002 highlights included four top-five finishes, seven top 10s and his first pole at Angola Motor Speedway.

Former Busch Series North winner Tracy Gordon made his ASA debut at Berlin Raceway in July of 2002, finishing in the 16th-position after starting the Tires.com 300 Presented by BFGoodrich Tires on the outside of the eighth row. Gordon, 37, additionally competed in the 2002 ASA season finale at Winchester Speedway, recording his career-best finish of 13th. Gordon recently signed AutoVantage as primary sponsor on his number 16 car.

Charlie Hanna of Goshen (IN) began his racing career at New Paris Speedway near in South Bend, racing with David Stremme. Lou Stremme, David's father and Doug Hanna, Charlie's father, have raced against each other for many years at the .25-mile racetrack. Over the course of many years of fender-to-fender action at the Hoosier track, the families have become close.

-more-

Ryan Hemphill of Oakmont (PA) made eight starts in ASA during the 2000 and 2001 seasons, producing a best finish of sixth at Chicago Motor Speedway. The 21-year-old competitor additionally led 18 circuits and collected $14,540 in prize money. Hemphill takes over driving chores for David Stremme, who moved to the Busch Series.

22-year-old Ian Huffman, of Deltona (FL), will drive for Appalachian Motorsports of Kingsport (TN). The team hired veteran racer Scott Hansen as crew chief to help guide the freshman driver the biggest challenge of his racing career.

In 2002, Travis Kittleson colleted the winner's hardware from the Orange Blossom 100 at New Smyrna Speedway to start the season. Kittleson pocketed four victories out of four Sunbelt Super Series events at three different racetracks. He also made five starts in ASA, recording a career-best fourth starting position and career-best finishing position of seventh.

Reigning I-94 Raceway Late Model Champion Jesse Klug will drive the number 91 Grandstay Residential Suites Chevrolet for the ETC Motorsports team owned by Rod Lindquist, of St. Cloud (MN).

2001 St. Augustine Speedway Track Champion Scott Lagasse Jr. moves to ASA in 2003. Lagasse, 22, has made one start in the series that is known to build champions, finishing in the 31st position at the 2001 season-opening event at St. Augustine Speedway. The Florida competitor will receive sponsorship backing from Nelson Plumbing and Estate Title.

Stephen Leicht, a high school sophomore, is the youngest first-year driver in 2003. Leicht, 16, began racing quarter midgets at age seven and advanced to the Late Model division at 12. He has 13 Late Model victories and additionally captured the 2002 American Challenge Series Championship. Leicht made two starts in ASA in 2002, recording a best finish of 13th at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Batavia (IA) native Jeremy Miller was the 1999 track champion at Eldon and additionally won the Tradition event at Adams County Speedway in Corning (IA). In 2000, Miller sailed to the winner's circle at the Budweiser Race of Champions, an event at Southern Iowa Speedway. In 2001, Lee County Speedway crowned him track champion while also winning the Shiverfest. Last season, he collected hardware at Beatrice Speedway in the Spring Nationals.

Like many of today's racecar drivers, Davin Scites began racing at the age of five in the go-kart division. In 1996, he moved to Legends cars, learning the basics at local tracks and also in Ohio. The following season proved to be key for Scites as he notched the biggest victories of his early career. He won the Summer Shootout and championship at Lowe's Motor Speedway and later that season captured the road course Legends nationals in Phoenix at Firebird International Raceway.

Shane Sieg follows in the steps of drivers moving from the Southeast series to ASA with the most recent high profile transition being that of two-time series champion Mike Cope. The Florida ace finished seventh in the 2001 ASA standings and grabbed rookie runner-up honors.

-more-

Casey Smith of Austin (TX) began racing at five years old, starting in the quarter midget ranks. He then advanced to legends and eventually to the high-powered Late Model division. Smith now prepares for a venture to America's Premier Short Track Series in 2003.

A long-time competitor around Chicago area tracks such as Grundy County Speedway and Illiana Motor Speedway, Sontag boasts a nearly 15-year career. After competing on the Mid-American Stock Car Division, Sontag moved into Late Models at his home track in Morris (IL) and won the 2001 and 2002 Late Model championships at Grundy County Speedway. Sontag also competed in a part-time effort on RE/MAX Challenge Series before teaming with car owner Kunes in the off-season for their ASA effort.

Georgia competitor Reed Sorenson enters the rookie class after producing superb results during a partial 2002 schedule. In eight starts, the 17-year-old racer finished among the top-five finishes on three occasions and seven times in the top 10. His lone poor outing occurred while racing among the leaders at South Boston Speedway and then got bumped into the retaining wall. In 2003, he drives for Automotive Promotions Inc., who captured series championships with Gary St. Amant in 1998 and 2000.

Kris Stump has had 134 top-five finishes including 33 wins in 177 career Late Model starts. His Late Model championships came in consecutive seasons, initially as a rookie at the .375-mile oval of Kil-Kare Speedway near Xenia, Ohio.

Beginning racing at age 15, John Webb competed in the limited Late Model division. He captured two pony four-cylinder championships and advanced to the high-powered Late Model division, racing in Oklahoma at tracks like Altus Speedway, in the southwest portion of the Sooner State.

"The plan is to compete in all 17 races and try to finish among the top 20. I'm looking forward to further use of the BFGoodrich Radial Tires and also the fuel-injected engine package. The engine drew me to this series and I'm looking forward to my future involvement with ASA."

The ASA Racing Series has produced all levels of competitive racing for its prized $50,000 Rookie Title in the series previous 35 seasons. The roster of talent for the upcoming 36th season appears to be among the best rookie classes, in terms of quality, quantity and geography, that the American Speed Association has ever seen.

-end-

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Series Stock car
Drivers Kenny Wallace , Johnny Benson , Ted Musgrave , Jimmie Johnson , Ryan Hemphill , Scott Lagasse Jr. , David Stremme , Joey Clanton , Shane Sieg , Reed Sorenson , Mike Garvey , Stephen Leicht , Travis Kittleson , Steve Carlson , Mark Martin , Scott Hansen