Sunday, September 19, 2004

Garvey gets win in caution-filled ASA race

Kentucky Speedway

By Kevin Kelly
Enquirer staff writer

SPARTA - The American Speed Association's pace car driver led almost as many laps of the BFGoodrich Tires 225 as the event's winner.

The final race of the Tripleheader Classic on Saturday at Kentucky Speedway kept emergency crews busy with eight cautions for 63 of the event's 150 laps.

But a restart with 15 laps to go afforded Mike Garvey enough time to come from 14th place following a pit stop for four tires on Lap 121 to victory lane.

"We thought we could win the whole time, and that's why we came in and put tires on," Garvey said. "We figured that was our chance to win."

The driver of the No. 17 Chevrolet blew by Bryan Reffner for the lead 12 laps after the final restart of the evening. He beat Butch Miller to the finish line by 2.221 seconds for his fourth win of the ASA season. Reed Sorenson finished third before 26,590 fans.

"We came here to race, not ride around under caution," Garvey said. "I thought we had way too many caution laps tonight. But luckily it worked out for us."

LONG TIME COMING: He's always liked the big tracks.

"And I shouldn't," Stanley Smith said, "because I nearly got killed at Talladega."

The 54-year-old, who suffered a cracked skull and a severed artery in a crash during the 1993 DieHard 500, won a NASCAR-sanctioned race for the first time in 11 years on Saturday at Kentucky Speedway.

In a 100-lap NASCAR Elite Division Southeast Series race stopped twice because of multi-car accidents at the 1.5-mile track, Smith took the lead on Lap 32 and never let it go before an estimated 26,590 fans.

Rookie J.R. Norris finished second in the No. 5 Chevrolet and Bradley Reithmeyer finished third in the No. 3 Chevrolet.

"I tried to quit three or four years after Talladega, but something was missing," said Smith, who started 12th in the No. 49 Chevrolet. "I've gotten more involved here in the past three or four years.... It's good to get one."

EARLY END: Southeast Series points leader Jeff Fultz, a Cincinnati-native and Sycamore High grad, finished 15th after debris from a competitor's car pierced the radiator on his No. 54 Chevrolet on Lap 76.

Fultz, who was in third place at the time, had a chance to clinch his second series championship Saturday in front of 200 friends and family members.

"That would have been nice to have happen in front of everybody," Fultz said. "But it just wasn't our night."

A pair of four-car accidents - on Lap 6 and Lap 40 - brought out the red flag two times Saturday. No injuries were reported.

WARD WINS: Brandon Ward led the final 15 laps of the IPOWER Dash Series' Kentucky 100 for his first career speedway win and second Dash victory this season.

On the re-start following a mandatory caution, Johnny Chapman passed Ward's No. 37 Toyota and built a sizeable lead. Ward caught Chapman on Lap 52 and passed him in Turn 3.

"We knew we'd have a good car," Ward said. "We weren't the fastest car in practice, but we worked hard on trying to get the car to be consistent and stay under us the whole race.

"It kind of happened like we thought it would."

Chapman finished 3.59 seconds behind Ward in second place.

ODDS AND ENDS: Wade Day was in third place when he crashed his No. 96 Chevrolet on Lap 127 of the BFGoodrich Tires 225.... Brent Downey, who crashed on Lap 67 of the BFGoodrich Tires 225, was transported to an area hospital for precautionary reasons.... Saturday completed this year's racing schedule at the speedway. The 2005 schedule is expected to be announced next month.... Eighty-two drivers participated in the three races.

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