PENDLETON, Ind. (March 14, 2000) -- The inaugural Spring Training for ASA ACDelco Series teams saw more 20 teams and a number of other drivers participate during a four-day test session, March 10-13 at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Fla.
PENDLETON, Ind. (March 14, 2000) -- The inaugural Spring Training for ASA ACDelco Series teams saw more 20 teams and a number of other drivers participate during a four-day test session, March 10-13 at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Fla. The track will host the season opening BFGoodrich Tires 200 on Sunday, March 26 at noon (Eastern) on TNN Sports.
Spring Training was an opportunity to work with engineers representing both GM Racing and BFGoodrich Tires. ASA teams will utilize the new combination of the Vortec ASA 5700 engine and BFGoodrich radial tires for the 2000 ASA ACDelco Series season.
The event allowed teams 19 hours of total practice time on the .75-mile oval. Veteran drivers Mike Eddy, Mike Miller, Gary St. Amant and Greg Stewart posted the fastest lap times of the weekend. Eddy's 21.4-second lap led all others while Miller, St. Amant and Stewart consistently posted times between 21.5 and 21.7 second laps.
"I'm not 100-percent used to the tires just yet," said Eddy, a seven-time ASA National Champion. "The engine has good torque and pulls a bit differently than the old V6. Mostly its just different than what we are used to and that's to be expected." Eddy will return full-time to ASA in 2000, driving for Iten Motorsports of Minnesota, after making five starts in 1999.
"We've accomplished pretty much what we wanted to get done, picking up a tenth of a second here and there," said Stewart, a third-year competitor from North Carolina. "The big thing is getting used to the tires and engines. So far the engines have been what you might call user-friendly."
Kansas veteran Rick Beebe, driving for long-time Milwaukee car owner Gerry Gunderman, had a suspension part failure late in the day on Friday and collided with the turn four wall. "We were forced to spend most of the day Saturday working on our car after t he wreck," said Beebe, a two-time race winner in his career. "The Vortec engine so far has been great, but there is a lot that both rookies and veterans alike have to learn. Getting the gearing right will be critical with the rev limiter and the tires are good, but something different that will take getting used to."
Rookie candidates testing included J.C.Beattie Jr, Mark E. Dismore, Larry Foyt, Buddy Gainey, Tracy Goodson, Phillip Kranefuss, Kevin Larkins, Teri MacDonald-Cadieux, Robbie Pyle, John Silverthorne and Wayne Willard.
Foyt is being tutored by former ASA National Champion Butch Miller. "My first day in the car was early in the week at Hickory and then we went to Montgomery," said Foyt, son of racing legend A.J Foyt. "Butch has been a great asset in helping me establish t he correct lines. I'm excited about our team and Joe Shear, my crew chief and I translate well."
Butch Miller is both the team manager for the Foyt Enterprises entry and will drive one of the two cars fielded by Michigan car owner LeRoy Throop. "I'm real comfortable with this because in no way am I ready to retire as a driver," said Miller, who served as a color analyst on ASA television broadcasts in 1999. "I look down the road and see my role as developing into a coach/car owner/builder. I've done this all my life and I don't want to give it up."
Miller will team with Michigan's Greg Usher in 2000 for Throop Motorsports. "I haven't really been in the car that much. Mostly I've been working on getting Larry some laps," said Miller. "The neat thing about Larry is that when you watch him you can't tell what the car is doing because he is so smooth."
ASA's Spring Training was just the third time the team has tested with the Vortec engine. "We've had absolutely no trouble and I don't see anyone else having trouble," said Miller. "Its seems like a very low maintenance item, which is unusual for a motor. I think in the end these fuel injection motors might be a little easier to police."
The BFGoodrich Tires 200 will be the first of a twenty event schedule for the ASA ACDelco Series. The slate includes ten different venues from the previous season. ASA will make first time appearances at Lanier National Speedway in Georgia, Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina, Montgomery Speedway in Alabama, Chicago Motor Speedway and Gateway International Raceway in Illinois. Following absences of a year or more, the series will visit Louisville Motor Speedway, Toledo Speedway, Madison International Speedway and Winchester Speedway, in addition to the opening event at Lakeland, FL.