From staff reports
The 2003 ASA Racing Series season has produced the strongest group of racers from the state of Georgia in the 36-year history of America's premier short-track stock car series. Mike Garvey heads the class, with his 13 career victories and 13 poles.
Other drivers hailing from the Peach State include $50,000 Rookie candidates Reed Sorenson (Peachtree City), Dwayne Buggay and Shane Sieg, along with part- timers David Hole and Doug Stevens (McDonough).
Atlanta's Garvey began the 2003 season by capturing the Jani-King 200 pole at USA International Speedway on March 22. Garvey led the opening 63 circuits before heading to pit lane. While climbing back to the top of the leader board, his WJ Plemons Investments-sponsored Chevrolet suffered mechanical problems that knocked him out of contention.
Garvey has made 134 appearances in the series that is known to build champions, producing a career season in 1999. He won four events, finished in the top five on 11 occasions and placed fourth in the final standings.
"It's always fun racing at home," Garvey said. "Lanier is a great racetrack. It's wide with lots of places to pass. It's a fun place to race and they always get a great crowd. I have run a lot of races at Lanier and it reminds me a lot of Elko Speedway in Minnesota."
ASA visits Elko on Labor Day weekend. Sorenson enters the rookie class after producing superb results during a limited 2002 schedule. In eight starts, the 17-year-old racer finished among the top five on three occasions and seven times in the top 10.
His lone non-top-10 finish came at South Boston Speedway, where he was bumped into the outside retaining wall while racing with the lead pack. In 2003, he drives for Automotive Promotions Inc., which captured series championships with Gary St. Amant in 1998 and 2000.
Sorenson produced his best career finish in the ACDelco Monte Carlo at USA International Speedway on March 22, crossing the line in third. In the closing stages, he battled for the victory with 1997 ASA National Champion Kevin Cywinski and eventual winner Butch Miller.
"I think we have one of the best teams out here," said Sorenson. "I look for us to pretty much be there all year. We're organized, and if we just work a few more things out we'll be up there."
Sorenson is a three-time points champion at Atlanta Motor Speedway's Thursday Thunder summer series.
Dwayne Buggay of Atlanta has raced at Lanier National Speedway, finishing in the top five of that track's final points standings.
Buggay has also made appearances with the Southern All-Stars Racing Series. In his 2003 venture into ASA Racing, Buggay will receive assistance from series veteran Garvey.
"The television package is attractive and is part of what we want to give to a sponsor," said Buggay. "Having Mike (Garvey) to help me is also a factor. As of now, I don't have sponsor, but I have a lot of promises, it's just a matter of if those things happen."
Shane Sieg follows in the steps of drivers moving from the Southeastern series to ASA with the most recent high-profile transition being that of two-time series champion Mike Cope. The Florida ace finished seventh in the 2001 ASA standings and grabbed rookie runner-up honors.
"ASA is where I need to be racing in 2003," said Sieg. "I feel we have a pretty good opportunity to win the rookie championship. I gained a lot of experience in the Southeast and Southern All Stars and hopefully I can apply some of that knowledge to our ASA program."
David Hole has made limited starts in ASA, scoring a best finish of sixth at Memphis Motorsports Park in April 2002. Hole plans to compete on a limited basis again in 2003.
In March, Stevens made his debut at the season-opening event and will race a partial ASA schedule this year.
Stevens is a three-time points champion at Thursday Thunder and has raced in several ARCA events including March's ARCA 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
ASA returns to Lanier for the ASA Racing Georgia 250 Presented by Jani-King on Saturday, April 26 with practice at 1 p.m. Qualifying is scheduled for 4:30 with the event at Lanier National Speedway going green at 9 p.m.
For more information on the ASA Racing Series, visit asaracing.com.