Kerry Earnhardt Wins at Michigan; Belmont Fifth by Rich Romer The crowd stood for the last three laps while the leader and eventual winner cruised around with a near six-second advantage. And not a sole left for the flood gates; not until the ...
Kerry Earnhardt Wins at Michigan; Belmont Fifth
by Rich Romer
The crowd stood for the last three laps while the leader and eventual winner cruised around with a near six-second advantage. And not a sole left for the flood gates; not until the victory lane celebration was complete for Kerry Earnhardt who captured the ARCA RE/MAX Series FLAGSTAR 200 Saturday afternoon at Michigan Int'l Speedway while an estimated 60,000 fans roared with their unquestionable approval. Earnhardt, the eldest son of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, dominated the 200-mile race with 64 of 100 laps-led joining his father and brother Dale, Jr. as winners at MIS. After Earnhardt made his pass down the frontstretch with three fingers high in the air, the two-time RE/MAX Series winner headed down pit road where crew members were lined up waiting to greet the Mooresville, North Carolina driver as he steered the black #2, Teresa Earnhardt-owned Kannapolis Intimidators Chevrolet towards the MIS winner's circle. Dale Jr. was first to raach inside the car and offer-up his congratulations in victory lane.
Ed Berrier, who led nine laps in Cavin Councilor's Target Saws & Blades Chevrolet, finished 5.891 seconds back in second ahead of Bowling Green, Kentucky rookie Stuart Kirby who finished third in Bob Schacht's Athens Mobil Speed Park Ford. It was Kirby's third top-five finish in only four starts. Former NFL head coach Jerry Glanville, in the Fricker's Restaurant-Zicam Ford, recorded his career-best finish in fourth. Penndel, Pennsylvania driver Andy Belmont finished a solid fifth in the AOL-York HVAC-Racecakes Ford earning the Thermo-Tec Cool Drive Award as a result.
Andy commented not only on the good finish at Michigan but on the great season the race team is having. "We made some changes in the team coming into the season. My brother Kevin joined the team as our Crew Chief and Scott Warchol assumed the duties of Car Chief. That took the pressure off Scott of organizing all of the team logistics and let him focus on preparing and caring for the race car. He is not only happier but more effective. Kevin is a terrific organizer and he keeps me calm in the race car. I am making better decisions on the track with his assistance over the radio. He helps me hit the setups and we start out closer each weekend."
Andy continued, "I was really happy with our race car at Michigan. That track always lends itself to fuel economy runs and we worked on the car to get as many laps as possible between pit stops. We pitted on the first caution period hoping to run the rest of the race without needing another stop. The strategy worked well for us and contributed to our top five finish. "
This weekend's ARCA race is at Pocono which is for all intents and purposes Andy's home track. "We are going to enter three cars. In addition to Kevin starting the race, Scott Ritter, who is our engine man will be running. Scott has a lot of experience running modifieds in Pennsylvania. The race will be televised on Fox Sports Net again Saturday at 4:00 P.M. This is really working out for ARCA and could lead to really great TV deal for the full season next year. Since the track is so close to home, we will be entertaining a group of people including a number of our sponsors, Included Continental Fire and Safety, American Quest, Seneca, and R3B RaceFan."
There were nine lead changes in the Michigan race among four drivers while two cautions slowed the event for 13 laps. Both cautions were for single car incidents, one for a spin in turn two while the other was for Todd Shafer who was involved in fiery crash in turns one and two. Shafer's Ford Taurus, engulfed in flames resulting from an apparent blown engine, bounced off the outer retaining wall twice before it impacted the inside retaining wall off turn two where the Ashland, Ohio driver bailed out under his own power. Shafer was then transported, conscience and alert, to the University of Michigan Medical Center for further evaluation and observation.