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Chase Austin Wins Again at Illiana Speedway

SCHERERVILLE, Ind. (July 11, 2005) – Hendrick Motorsports development driver Chase Austin won his second race of the season at Illiana Speedway on Saturday night.

Austin piloted the No. 111 ditech.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo Late Model from a ninth-place start to take the victory for the second time in just three efforts at the track.  He qualified with the fastest time of the night, but started ninth due to a random inversion of the field.

In just five laps the 15-year-old passed eight cars to claim the lead, where he would remain and finish 10 car-lengths ahead of the 21-car field.

“It was a great night for my team and it always gives us a boost to win a race,” Austin said.  “I had a great car and was able to keep it on the bottom of the track, which allowed me to pass all the cars quickly.”

Austin’s primary racing schedule is with the ASA Late Model Series.  He is fielded by the SS Racing organization out of Indianapolis, which has an alliance with Hendrick Motorsports’ driver development program.

SS Racing and Hendrick decided earlier this year to expand Austin’s seat time to include up to 20 weekly series late model races in addition to ASA.

SS Racing crew chief Deon Deneau feels the extra track time is worthwhile because it allows him to strategize for the ASA Late Model races.  It is also great additional experience for his young driver.

“We approach each race with the mindset of getting Chase more seat time and just learning,” Deneau said.  “We can see him learn something new and grow with each race.  That’s our ultimate goal, but of course winning a race is a great added bonus.” 

Both Austin and his crew chief realize the competition will be tougher when they return for the ASA Late Model race at Illiana Speedway in two weeks.

“I feel confident now at Illiana, but the competition in ASA is difficult to beat,” Austin said.  “I still think we can win in that series, but it will be tough.”

The momentum is going in the right direction for the team, as Austin had his best race of the ASA season last week with an eighth-place finish at Kalamazoo, Mich.

SS Racing is now gearing up for six consecutive ASA events beginning at Mansfield, Ohio, on July 16.  The team will return to Illiana Speedway July 23.

The series continues to Indianapolis Raceway Park, then to Baer Field, Ind., Jennerstown, Pa., and Sandusky, Ohio, before a two-week break in the schedule.

ASA will take priority for several weeks, but Austin will likely make a few more appearances at Illiana Speedway in the weekly racing series before the season ends.

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