Mike Miller Takes ASA ACDelco Challenge Series LaCrosse 300
28 July 1997West Salem, WI - Lapped traffic with less than ten laps remaining in Sunday's American Speed Association, ACDelco Challenge Series LaCrosse 300 handed Mike Miller the win and left Rick Beebe heartbroken.
Beebe was attempting to pass a slower car, when the two got together causing Beebe to spin out and allowed Miller to pull away and take the win.
"I feel so bad for Rick (Beebe)," Miller said as he climbed out of his Pontiac. "I would have been happy with a second place if Rick had won. Junior (Hanley) should have given Rick the the line. Rick knew I was right there, whatever line he took, I was was going to take the opposite line. I'm happy with the win, I've lost some like that before. We pitted for right side tires and the car got loose. The second time we changed left side tires and the car got real tight. On the last pit stop we changed the stagger and the car was good enough at the end."
Beebe, in the St Louis Gear/Royal Machine Pontiac started from the pole position and led three different times during the 300 lap event around the LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway and appeared poised for his first career win.
Following a final round of pit stops for most of the leaders, Beebe retook the lead from Gary St Amant on lap 230 and began to open a lead over St Amant, who was being chased by Steve Carlson and Tim Sauter. Mike Miller in the Uniseal/Old Style/Hemstock Pontiac was running sixth at the time, but was on the charge.
With 50 laps remaining, Beebe had built up a four second lead as Miller moved into second spot with St Amant in third and Sauter and Carlson, the top two Pat Schauer Rookie of the Year contenders, rounding out the top five.
As Beebe encountered lapped traffic, Miller began to cut into the lead, and with 15 laps to go the margin was 1.2 seconds. Miller closed to the rear bumper of Beebe with 10 laps to go, as the two front runners closed on the lapped car of Junior Hanley.
As the two leaders looked for a way around Hanley, Miller tried several times to get inside Beebe, but was unable to make the pass stick.
With three laps remaining, Beebe got inside of Hanley coming off the fourth corner, while Miller waited to see the outcome of the passing attempt. As Beebe and Hanley exited the corner, Hanley drifted low and made contact with Beebe causing him to spin down the front straight and come to rest against the inside retaining wall as Miller inherited the lead.
On the final restart, all ASA races must finish under green, Miller pulled away from the field for his second win of the year as he beat Scott Hansen to the line by 5.268 seconds. Sauter finished third and Beebe recovered to take the eighth place finishing spot.
For Hansen it was his third consecutive podium finish for the Ken Schrader Racing Chevrolet, and he has moved into third place in the season long ASA points chase.
I was fortunate to finish second," Hansen said after the race. "Our car was a little off in the middle stages of the race, but on the last pit stop the crew did a great job in making an adjustment."
Sauter, in the Leo's Motorsports/Wehr's Chevrolet scored his career best finish after starting and finishing in third.
"The car was really tight and developed a push," Sauter commented. "When I had to go to the high side it developed a push in the corners. We had good pit stops and a car good enough to win. Since we went to this new car five races ago we have been more competitive."
A visibly disappointed Beebe said that Hanley is always tough to pass, whether it be for position or he is a lap down.
"He (Hanley) won't move out of the line," Beebe said. "He kept driving in the middle of the track and twice motioned me to the outside and then drifted high. I got under him clean coming off the fourth corner and he turned into me. I think I could have held Mike (Miller) off at the end, we were about equal. I feel worse for the crew than I do for myself because they gave me a great car today."
ACDelco Challenge Series points leader Kevin Cywinski was awarded the WYNN'S WYNNING MOVE for driving to a sixth place finish after starting fourth and having to make an early put stop to replace a loose plug wire.
Miller averaged 77.878 mph in a race that featured 14 lead changes among nine different drivers. The race was slowed by 10 cautions for a total of 48 laps.
The American Speed Association, ACDelco Challenge Series now moves on to Berlin Raceway in Marne, MI for the August 9th running of the Michigan 300.
John Kaiser -- The Autochannel
LaCrosse Fairgrounds - Provisional results for the ASA ACDelco Challenge Series, LaCrosse 300: Ps.Ql.No. Driver , Car Laps -- -- ---- ----------------------------------------------------- ----- 1 10 18 Mike Miller South East Air Service PONT 300 2 5 52 Scott Hansen AFCO Racing Products PONT 300 3 3 55 Tim Sauter (R) Leo M/S/Wehr/Racing Adventures PONT 300 4 8 6 Dave Sensiba Engineered Polymer/W MI Auto AuctPONT 300 5 14 87 Steve Carlson(R)Baker Enterprises/Clean Burn PONT 300 6 4 1 Kevin Cywinski Coleman Racing Products PONT 300 7 2 7 Gary St Amant Wynn's/W Michigan Chevy Dealers CHEV 300 8 1 23 Rick Beebe St Louis Gear/Royal Machine PONT 300 9 11 32 Ted Smokstad Corp. Auto/SMS Parts PONT 299 10 16 07 Jack Landis Adirondak/Lyndaker/Maisto/N.YoderFORD 299 11 20 51 Brandon Sperling Sperling Motorsports CHEV 299 12 18 72 Junior Hanley Skillman Motorsports PONT 299 13 6 33 Brad Loney Bunsaver/Hunter's Spec/Flexsteel PONT 299 14 26 03 Johnny Spaw Mid-West Plumbing/Clemnet TrailerPONT 298 15 27 47 Paul Paine Paine Racing PONT 298 16 21 26 Bill Baird Spee-Dee Pop Popcorn/Saturn Mach CHEV 297 17 29 95 Chuck Hemmingston Rodeway Inn PONT 297 18 19 21 Kevin Nuttleman Citgo/Midwest Fuels/Dutch Mill PONT 296 19 17 88 Mike Eddy GM Goodwrench Service/HRE PONT 294 20 23 79 Mike Cofer (R) Black & Decker Versa Pack PONT 293 21 24 58 Billy Turner Sanifill/Central Fiber PONT 271 22 13 48 Joe Nott Valvoline/Allan Nott Toyota/RaabeFORD 270 23 25 09 Andy Burgess Custom Craft Counter Tops/MenardsFORD 252 24 7 84 Bob Senneker Lane Auto/JR Automation/Mr GasketFORD 243 25 9 81 Harold Fair Car Quest/ACDelco/Victor Reinz PONT 235 26 15 8 Mike Garvey AFCO Racing Products PONT 214 27 28 19 Justin Diercks Diercks LTD/Dr A. Diercks/TC Fab FORD 118 28 22 0 Tom Jones Jones Motorsports PONT 113 29 31 64 Ricky Bilderback Bilderback Auto Parts PONT 76 30 32 11 Doug Mayr(R) No Touch Car Care/Aqua Splash CHEV 32 31 12 5 Steve Holzhausen Structural Transport FORD 25 32 30 99 Joe Shear Rander Car/Menards/Wegner FORD 0 (R)= Pat Schauer Memorial Rookie Candidate Time of Race : 2 hrs 5 min 58 sec Average Speed : 77.878 mph Margin of Victory : 5.268 secs Lap Leaders : Beebe, Sauter, St Amant, Hansen, Miller, Sperling, Hanley, Sensiba, Carlson Fastest Lap : M Miller 19.596 sec/100.122 mph Cautions : 10 for 48 laps Track Length : 0.5000 Miles Top 20 Provisional point standings after 11 of 20 events for the ASA ACDelco Challenge Series. 1. Kevin Cywinski 1984 2. Gary St Amant 1760 (-224) 3. Scott Hansen 1681 (-303) 4. Rick Beebe 1635 (-349) 5. Dave Sensiba 1621 (-363) 6. Steve Carlson 1618 (-366) 7. Mike Miller 1589 (-395) 8. Tim Sauter 1452 (-532) 9. Harold Fair 1432 (-552) 10. Mike Eddy 1420 (-564) 11. Ted Smokstad 1378 (-606) 12. Joe Nott 1362 (-622) 13. Bob Senneker 1354 (-630) 14. Brandon Sperling 1339 (-645) 15. Brad Loney 1288 (-696) 16. Jack Landis 1281 (-703) 17. Steve Holzhausen 1240 (-744) 18. Junior hanley 1231 (-753) 19. Mike Garvey 1205 (-779) 20. Bill Baird 1151 (-833)