Pendleton, IN (March 5, 2003) -- Since first competing at Lakeland (FL) in February of 1996, ASA began to establish its history in one of America's strongest states for stock car racing. ASA will make its ninth appearance in the Sunshine State...
Pendleton, IN (March 5, 2003) -- Since first competing at Lakeland (FL) in February of 1996, ASA began to establish its history in one of America's strongest states for stock car racing. ASA will make its ninth appearance in the Sunshine State with the Jani-King 200 at USA International Speedway set for Saturday, March 22.
Seven-time ASA National Champion Mike Eddy won the initial event at Florida's Premier Short Track. A prime time television audience at Lakeland saw Eddy pass pole sitter Scott Hansen on the 268th circuit and then dominate the final 33 laps. Eddy was followed by Brad Loney, two-time ASA National Champion Gary St. Amant and 1996 ASA National Champion Tony Raines.
Returning to Florida in May of 1997, ASA made its debut at the .50-mile Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola. Mike Garvey overcame a major challenge after getting penalized in post-qualifying inspection. This forced him to start on the tail of the 33-car starting field. After passing Hansen on the 246th lap, Garvey finished .241-second ahead of the eventual 1997 National Champion Kevin Cywinski.
The tight .375-mile track of Desoto Speedway hosted ASA in March of 1999 with the year's eventual National Champion Tim Sauter celebrating his initial victory. The Necedah (WI) native got around Rick Beebe with two laps remaining and fended off a late-race challenge from Garvey.
After a four-year absence, ASA made its return to USA Int'l Speedway. The historic race saw the introduction of a first-ever use of fuel-injected engines in a major national touring stock car series and combined them with BFGoodrich Radial Tires. Two-time ASA National Champion Gary St. Amant picked up the victory, finishing ahead of Cywinski and Tim Sauter.
St. Augustine Speedway was the scene of the 2001 ASA season opener on the night before the Daytona 500. A fierce battle ensued on the .50-mile oval between Joey Clanton and Johnny Sauter. 2002 National Champion Clanton prevailed, winning the second event of his career.
2001 saw a third appearance at USA Int'l Speedway with Garvey grabbing the victory. Three-time National Champion Butch Miller and Toby Porter were the other podium finishers.
At the 2002 opener, Clanton bagged his second consecutive victory in Florida. The Stockbridge (GA) ace led the final 158 circuits, finishing 2.549 seconds in front of Cywinski. Gary St. Amant crossed the line in third.
Continuing his Florida hot streak, Clanton won at Five Flags Speedway on May 5, 2002. The race-winning pass came against Travis Kittleson of Merritt Island and then he led to a finish of 1.001 seconds in front of David Stremme.
The 2003 season opening event at USA International Speedway begins on Thursday, March 20 with registration and technical inspection with a Team Welcome Reception closing the day's activities. On Friday, practice begins at 12:30 pm. with the track closing at 6 pm. On Saturday, practice resumes at 1 p.m. with qualifying scheduled for 5. The Jani-King 200 takes the green at 9 p.m. (Eastern) and will be televised live on Speed Channel.
Tickets for the event are available 1-800-984-RACE at USA Int'l Speedway. Advance tickets offer a $5 discount.