Salem: Race notes

Pyle Claims Second 2003 ASA Victory at Salem Salem, Ind. (October 4, 2003) -- Ohio driver Robbie Pyle used the correct pit strategy to lead the final 84 laps at Salem Speedway to claim his second American Speed Association win of the season in...

Pyle Claims Second 2003 ASA Victory at Salem

Salem, Ind. (October 4, 2003) -- Ohio driver Robbie Pyle used the correct pit strategy to lead the final 84 laps at Salem Speedway to claim his second American Speed Association win of the season in the Pep Boys 300 presented by Greased Lightning Orange Blast on Saturday, October 4.

Pyle in the CITGO Chevrolet passed second-year Wisconsin driver Todd Kluever in the Marshal Metals Chevrolet on lap 217 with an outside pass coming off the second corner and never faltered to win for the third time in his career.

During a long green flag run of 75 laps before the 200-lap mark, many of the front runners were forced to stop for fuel. Kluever, who had taken the lead on lap 108 when Butch Miller in the Timber Wolf Chevrolet stopped for tires, stretched the fuel to lap 195.

All the leaders pitted with 102 laps remaining, with Kluever maintaining the lead following the stops chased by Pyle, Rick Beebe in the Structural Transport Inc. Ford, Glenn Allen Jr. in the Pennzoil Chevrolet and Reed Sorenson in the ACDelco Chevrolet.

But aside from Pyle and Beebe, all of the other leaders were forced to stop for tires when the caution waved on lap 228.

>From there Pyle was never seriously challenged for the lead as the race went green for the final 72 laps. But the fans attention was riveted on positions two through 11 as those drivers ran nose to tail to the finish. For 50 laps the drivers battling for a podium finish waited for someone to make a mistake, but it never came.

Pyle beat Beebe to the checkers by 2.507-seconds with Sorenson, Mike Cope in the Florida Auto Auction Ford and Rich Loch in the Viega Chevrolet rounding out the top five.

"I have to thank crew chief Bill McGowan for the pit strategy," Pyle said after collecting $15,705. "We had a game plan going in and stuck to it. We wanted to get track position because it is almost impossible to pass here."

Pyle said the team knew that it couldn't run 75 green flag laps and didn't want to take a chance on running out of fuel.

"The cautions worked for us tonight and it was up to me to save the tires," he said.

For Kansas driver Beebe it was his best finish of the year and gives the team a boost going into the season ending event on October 19 at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville.

"I have to give a lot of credit to Reed (Sorenson) who really raced me clean," said Beebe. "I think he knows that to get into someone here can cause a big mess. My crew did a super job."

Beebe said the second place finish came on his son, Austin's birthday who turned seven.

Sorenson locked up the $50,000 Pat Schauer Memorial Rookie of the Year honors with his third place finish and Travis Kittleson's 22nd place showing in the Bob Steele Chevrolet.

"We took a gamble on fuel, but we knew our tires were good," Sorenson said. "I was probably faster than Rick (Beebe) in one and two. I got a run on him a couple of times but spun earlier in the race trying to pass somebody low coming off the corner. You almost have to blow by someone on the straight away here to make the pass."

Sorenson said it felt good to win the rookie of the year honors and put his name on the list with such notables as Mark Martin, Ted Musgrave, Johnny Benson Jr., David Stremme, and Jimmie Johnson.

"You only get one chance to get it," Sorenson said. "So it felt good to accomplish that goal this year. I knew that Travis would be tough all year. Our goal now is to finish third in the point standings."

Point leader Kevin Cywinski in the Greased Lightning Orange Blast Chevrolet dodged potential disaster when he broke a sway bar on lap 24 and lost 29 laps in the pits while the crew made repairs. Cywinski was able to finish 19th and benefited when his closest rival Butch Miller in the Timber Wolf Chevrolet was forced to pit under the green for fuel and placed 12th.

Cywinski's lead was reduced by 24 points over Miller and he now leads by 125 with one race remaining.

Cope earned the Orange Blast "Hard Charger" award by driving to the fourth place finish after starting 28th in the 32-car field. It was Cope's first race since ASA visited Indianapolis Raceway Park on June 28 because his car hauler was destroyed by fire. Veteran Scott Hansen served as his crew chief at Salem Speedway.

The ASA Racing Series returns to action on Sunday, October 19 for the BFGoodrich Traction T/A Tires 300 presented by Greased Lightning Orange Blast and Jani-King at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville.

For additional information on the ASA Racing Series visit www.asaracing.com.

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Johnny Benson , Ted Musgrave , Jimmie Johnson , Reed Sorenson , Todd Kluever , Butch Miller , Travis Kittleson , Mark Martin , Scott Hansen