ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series Notes, Pre-Atlanta Motor Speedway Toledo, OH by Don Radebaugh 1999 ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series champion Bill Baird continued at full speed ahead posting the quickest speed among 18 drivers that recently tested at ...
ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series Notes, Pre-Atlanta Motor Speedway Toledo, OH by Don Radebaugh
1999 ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series champion Bill Baird continued at full speed ahead posting the quickest speed among 18 drivers that recently tested at Atlanta Motor Speedway in preparation for the Saturday, November 20th Georgia Boot 400. Baird unofficially went 184.615 mph around the 1.54 mile superspeedway, followed by ASA veteran Joe Nott at 183.091, Blaise Alexander 182.850, Mario Gosselin 181.592 and Mark Claussner 181.176 to complete the top five. Still, Baird’s mark was nearly two mph slower than the track record set by David Keith back in March of this year at 186.591.
Keith, who won at Michigan this year in a Ford Taurus owned by former ARCA Rookie of the Year Jeremy Mayfield, is among a significant list of entrants who will be driving with teams directly linked to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Other examples include Kevin Harvick who will be aboard a Richard Childress Racing-prepared Chevrolet. In just two ARCA starts, Harvick, in the aforementioned equipment, finished second at Charlotte and third at Talladega. Additionally, Felix Sabates has entered two Chevrolets, one with former USAC open-wheel champion Dave Steele and the other with Jimmy Morales listed as the driver. Two-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday is entered in a Dale Earnhardt-owned Chevrolet and Ken Schrader has entered a Chevrolet with the driver to be announced while Skyland, North Carolina driver Dwayne Leik is entered in a Dave Marcis Chevrolet. From the Pontiac department, Bill Davis has entered a ’99 Grand Prix with Dublin, Ohio rookie Mike Borkowski aboard.
The Georgia Boot 400 will be the 31st ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway since the series first appeared there in 1984. Mark Gibson leads the way in career ARCA starts at AMS having raced in 28 events to date, and will attempt to make his 183rd career ARCA start there, more than any other active ARCA driver. Three-time ARCA champion Tim Steele is the only 3-time winner at AMS and the only driver to ever win back-to-back victories there having done so in November of ’95 and March of ’96.
After 20 events in ’99, there have been 12 different winners as well as 7 first-time winners including Bobby Gerhart at Daytona, Baird at Atlanta, Gosselin at Charlotte, Keith at Michigan, Alexander at Toledo, Robbie Pyle in a Dodge Avenger at Kil-Kare and Jeff Finley on the dirt in DuQuoin, IL.
Although Baird has already clinched the ’99 title, several other point battles are still up for grabs including the fight for third where the family-owned operation of Joe Cooksey finds himself just 25 markers away from the ’99 Daytona ARCA 200 winner Bobby Gerhart. Andy Belmont is only 45 points away from Mark Gibson for fifth while veteran Bob Schacht is just 85 points behind Belmont. Additionally, Naples, Florida driver Cavin Councilor lurks 15 points away from Ron Cox in the race for eighth. Cox, out of Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, has clinched the ’99 STP-Prestone ARCA Rookie of the Year honors. Cox posted a career-best finish of seventh on the mile clay fairgrounds oval in DuQuoin en route to the rookie title aa well as a career-best superspeedway finish of 11th in March at Atlanta.