Friday, July 26, 2013

1997 – Victory handed to Miller in La Crosse ASA

West Salem, Wis. (July 26, 1997) - At the end of the American Speed Association's La Crosse 300 Sunday afternoon, Rick Beebe was forced to pick up the pieces.

Of his car, of a shattered dream.

Then Beebe had to hold himself back, at least physically. Not from running any more laps, but from running down driver Junior Hanley. Hanley, who was running a lap down, was a big part of why Mike Miller won the ASA event at La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway.

Beebe was poised to collect his first ASA victory when the unthinkable happened just three laps from the finish.

As Beebe and Miller stormed into turns three and four, Hanley was in front of them. Instead of moving aside, Hanley stayed in the middle. Beebe dived low, and appeared to have passed Hanley when the two collided, sending Beebe into a 120 mph spin.

Beebe spun wildly down the front straightaway. Beebe's car hit, separating the track from the pits, and slid down the wall before coming to a stop.

Miller moved into the lead and claimed his second win of the season, while former Green Bay resident Scott Hansen slid into second.

Rookie Tim Sauter of Necedah finished third. West Salem's Steve Carlson, the top rookie of the year contender, finished fifth.

Beebe was visibly upset after the race, but even more miffed at why Hanley refused to give him an opening as the two cars came out of turn four.

"The thing is, this is the first wreck that I've ever had in racing, I think, that was absolutely and totally uncalled for," Beebe said. "I mean, it was just ridiculous. It's the worst job of driving by anybody I've ever seen in a race car. He just intentionally turned left into me when I got underneath him. I mean he intentionally got into me and turned me around."

Hanley, who wound up 12th place, saw it differently. Hanley said he gave Beebe every opportunity to get around him, but Beebe simply refused to take it.

"I started waving him to the high side the last two laps (before the crash)," Hanley said. "He didn't want to go high, that's all. He's saying it's all my fault. He's the one who didn't go high. Maybe he felt he couldn't go high. I couldn't believe it when he went down on the inside."

Beebe was pushed off the wall and finished the race in eighth place.

Results -

1. Mike Miller, Marietta, Ga.
2. Scott Hansen, Concord, N.C.
3. Tim Sauter, Necedah, Wis.
4. Dave Sensiba, Middleville, Mich.
5. Steve Carlson, West Salem, Wis.
6. Kevin Cywinski, Lakeville, Minn.
7. Gary St. Amant, Columbus, Ohio
8. Rick Beebe, Merriam, Kan.
9. Ted Smokstad, Bloomington, Minn.
10. Jack Landis, Edgerton, Ohio
11. Brandon Sperling, Mooresville, N.C.
12. Junior Hanley, Canada
13. Brad Loney, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
14. Johnny Spaw, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
15. Paul Paine, Mound, Minn.
16. Bill Baird, Sturgis, Ky.
17. Chuck Hemmingson, West Des Moines, Iowa
18. Kevin Nuttleman La Crosse, Wis.
19. Mike Eddy, Midland, Mich.
20. Mike Cater, McKinney, Tex.
21. Billy Turner, El Reno, Okla.
22. Joe Nort, Spring Lake, Mich.
23. Andy Burgess, Fan Creek, Wis.
24. Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich.
25. Harold Fair, Detroit, Mich.
26. Mike Garvey, Suwanee, Ga.
27. Justin Diercks, Davenport, Iowa.
28. Tom Jones, Gurnee, Ill.
29. Ricky Bilderback, South Beloit, Ill.
30. Doug Mayr, Franklin, Wis.
31. Steve Holzhausen, Bangor, Wis.
32. Joe Shear, Clinton, Wis.

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