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3 MAR 03
PRE-SEASON TESTING
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Strong Run For Beattie Jr. In 2003 ASA Opener
25 MAR 03

JC Beattie Jr. and ATI Performance Racing traveled to USA International Speedway in Lakeland, FL for the Jani-King 200, which kicked off the ASA Racing Series' 36th season.

The recently revamped ASA added two extra days to the schedule to give the teams more time to practice and adjust to the new officials and multiple rule changes. Practice started on Friday with a lot of rain but it did not affect the racing as all practice sessions were completed. The ATI #09 was 15th fastest for most of practice only needing some minor adjustments before qualifying.

Due to an unlucky drawing, the #09 was the fourth car out on the track to make its qualifying run at approximately 5:05PM. The track was still hot and slippery from the heat making it difficult to run a good lap. JC actually ran his best lap of the day in qualifying but as the track cooled off over 50º, times got faster on the cooler track and the rest of the field picked up a significant advantage.

Beattie Jr. was slated to start 35th leaving a lot of work ahead of him. Throughout the race the ATI Performance Racing Team made awesome pit stops picking up as many as ten spots on one stop. The new pit stop rules—gas or tires only—produced some unique strategies among the ASA competitors.

New crew chief, Bob Cumbow, implemented a great pit strategy that catapulted JC up to 4th position at the halfway point. The car was good enough for 10th place run but, unfortunately it wasn't meant to be as an accident happened directly in front of JC with about 5 laps to go and claimed the right front of the nose and the water from the radiator

Ultimately the ATI Chevy Monte Carlo over heated with one lap to go and dropped two cylinders. JC gave his best effort trying to keep people behind him at the end but it was virtually impossible after losing those cylinders. However, Beattie did gain 19 hard fought spots coming from 35th to finish 16th.

"The car was better than 16th but there at the end we had to hold on and do the best we could with the situation," Beattie commented. "Overall it was a positive weekend for our team and the new staff at ASA. We all have some small changes to make but it should be a great season."

Three-time ASA National Champion Butch Miller went on to win the Jani-King 200 with a late race pass that had the crowd on its feet.

ATI Performance Racing will head west to Houston Motor Speedway for the second event of the 2003 ASA Racing Series. The Texas 250 will take the green flag at 9:00PM EST and will be telecast live on SPEED Channel.