(September 2004) When American Speed Association rookie Wade Day finished second on May 7 in the series Kentucky Speedway debut, it took a little while for reality to set in. We won the race, regardless of what everyone says, he proclaimed immediately following the event.
Photo by David Allio
Wade Day prepares for the May race
at the Kentucky Speedway.
In truth, and as he would later concede, Day had been bested by fellow rookie Scott Lagasse Jr., who had nosed his car ahead by a mere foot in the final straightaway to take the checkered flag. Glenn Allen Jr., Bryan Reffner and Mike Garvey rounded out the top-five.
Second chances dont come along very often, but in September, Day will have his. He will compete again at Kentucky Speedway in the tracks inaugural September event, the V-TAPS Triple Header Fall Classic, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 18. The event also will feature IPower (formerly NASCAR Goodys) Dash Series and the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series races.
A native of Elizabethton, Tenn., Day got his start in the World Karting Association, of which he was the 1998 national champion. The following year, he started racing in the NASCAR Late Model Stock division, taking six wins at Kingsport Speedway and one at Lonesome Pine International Speedway. Day became the NASCAR Atlantic Regional Champion in 2002 and in 2003 had three Goodys Dash Series starts.
This year, in addition to ASA, the 31-year-old is competing full time in the Dash Series, now sponsored by IPower. The circuit features 4-cylinder compact cars and was a part of NASCAR for 29 years (1975-2003). At the end of last season, NASCAR relinquished its role as the series sanctioning body to BRDAYTONA, a Florida-based motorsports promotion company.
The series appears this year at tracks in Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky, where Day will drive the No. 52 Refrigerator Services Inc. Pontiac for the 100-mile race before switching to the No. 96 Chevy for the 225-mile ASA event. He was ranked 11th in Dash Series point standings following race six of 10 this year.
Although by the middle of the ASA season Day had yet to claim his first victory, consistent top-10 finishes had allowed the driver to accumulate enough points for a second-place standing. In late July, he was sandwiched between veterans Kevin Cywinski, the points leader, and Mike Garvey in third place.
A nine-year veteran of the ASA National Tour, Cywinski, 39, is last years champion. He also won the championship title in 1997.
This year, a win and a half dozen top-five finishes have put the Wausau, Wis., native in a solid position for a repeat championship.
Not far behind is Garvey, 42, who finished fifth in points last year and was voted by fans the Speed51.com/ASA Most Popular Driver. In seven full-time ASA seasons, the Atlanta native has accumulated 19 wins and has placed as high as fourth in overall points. Garvey also has competed in NASCARs Busch and Craftsman Truck series.
Like Day, Kentucky will present a welcome do-over opportunity for Garvey. Following the May race at the track, the driver was fined 10 percent of his total earnings for the event and docked 25 points when officials discovered during post-race inspections that the No. 17 Jani-King Chevrolet failed to meet minimum height standards. Garvey retained his fifth-place finish.
Cywinski and Garvey are long-time rivals. Last year, the drivers won four races each and, by mid-season this year, Garvey was one up on Cywinski with two wins to one.
We know Mike is going to be a challenge the rest of the year, said Cywinski following Garveys July 31 win in the Meijer 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park. There are going to be some good tracks for him, and I think we have a couple of good tracks for us also. Its going to be a dogfight to the end.
The ASA National Tours May visit to Kentucky Speedway marked the series first superspeedway appearance since the July 8, 2001, event at Chicago Motor Speedway. In addition to Kentuckys 1.5-mile tri-oval, the series will visit Lowes Motor Speedway (Oct. 14) and Atlanta Motor Speedway (Oct. 29) for the final two races of the season.