Torquespeed to go ASA

Torquespeed co-owner John Mickel will drive his Xerox-backed Days of Thunder car, which will be converted to ASA spec and shipped over to America, in the two races held at Charlotte and Atlanta on October 14 and 28. Torquespeed personnel will travel out to run the car, and will be based in the team's American workshop. Stevie Hodgson, this year's Days of Thunder champion-elect, will act as Mickel's crew chief

Torquespeed to go ASA

"I think we've got a good chance of getting in the race and giving the Americans a bit of a run for their money," said Mickel, the 2001 Days of Thunder champion. "I don't think we're going to win, but I do think we've got a good chance of getting in the top 20. We're quietly confident we can hold our own."

Mickel is convinced that the team will benefit from running its own car. "Anybody can go over there with a load of cash and buy a drive, but you don't know what you're getting," he said. "We've known the car can compete for wins."

The races will mark the first time ASA has run on 1.5-mile circuits with engine restrictors, and Mickel hopes that this will allow Torquespeed to compete on more level terms.

"The ASA guys haven't raced at either track before, but they've tested on both," he said. "Our car builder Chas Howe has helped with some data and set-ups, so that will help us. We've got a test at Charlotte on October 5. It's going to be a new learning curve for everybody."

Mickel will have some familiar opposition in the form of 2003 Days of Thunder champion Ben Collins, who will drive a Texaco-backed car in the Charlotte race for the established Wood Brothers team [June 24]. NASCAR Nextel Cup regulars Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip will also compete in the event.

Although Days of Thunder cars are converted ASA racers, it has taken two weeks to adapt Mickel's car to fit the ASA regulations. As well as the restrictor, the ASA mandates extra structural bars, a smaller fuel tank and tighter body templates.

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