Rookie McDowell Dominates at Chicagoland JOLIET IL (9-8-07) -- With a sharp eye still on a championship, ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Michael McDowell capped off a picture perfect weekend Saturday afternoon at Chicagoland ...
Rookie McDowell Dominates at Chicagoland
JOLIET IL (9-8-07) -- With a sharp eye still on a championship, ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Michael McDowell capped off a picture perfect weekend Saturday afternoon at Chicagoland Speedway with a convincing victory in the Chicagoland ARCA 200.
The Phoenix, Arizona rookie, after earning his eighth career SIM Factory Pole Award, kept his Z Line-Make A Wish-Beck Dodge up front most of the afternoon, leading 98 laps of the 134-lap, 200-mile race en route to his third career ARCA RE/MAX Series victory.
McDowell also narrowed Frank Kimmel's point lead to 150 markers with three events remaining in 2007.
"It's just a testament to Eddie Sharp Racing and the whole Z Line Design-Make A Wish-Beck Dodge crew," said McDowell. "It's just amazing. It's good to be able to come out here and be dominate. We've had the car to do it in the past but we've just been unlucky. We just have to keep moving forward and score maximum points to make it happen in this championship. If Frank (Kimmel) happens to have a mistake, we'll be right there to capitalize and if not, we'll be able to look back at this year and be able to smile. We've won races, won the most poles and led the most laps. So it has been a pretty good year."
McDowell took the lead for good on lap 101 when Jeremy Clements, who led laps 74 through 100, pitted out of sequence with the leaders. With Clements mired deep in the field, McDowell continually pulled away from the pack as necessary.
Justin Marks, in the Construct Dodge, finished second about 10 lengths away.
"It was good we got the car turning really well, maybe even too well," said Marks. "We were kind of loose must of the day and it really started to come to us during a long run. If we could have gone the last 20-25 laps green we might have had something for Michael (McDowell) but we got a little bit tight there when the sun came out. I'm just really proud of this Construct Corps Team. Robby (Benton/crew chief) and all of the guys did a great job and I would really like to repay them with a win. We've got three more opportunities to do that. I'm just absolutely driving my heart out. That's what I want--a win."
Roush Fenway Racing's Colin Braun finished third in only his second career ARCA RE/MAX Series start.
"That was what today was really about, learning," said Braun. "Everybody at Roush Fenway has done a really great job in helping me to adapt to driving on the ovals. Erik Darnell and Travis Kvapil both came out a few times and helped me out during a few tests so a big thanks out to those guys. We had great pit stops and my crew chief Jeff Campey was very helpful. Looking forward to getting in the next one at Talladega."
Clements, who was the only driver who could really contend with McDowell, made it back to fourth in the family-owned 1 Stop Convenience-Spartan Constructors Chevrolet.
Erin Crocker finished fifth in the Evernham Motorsports Dodge. The Wilbraham, Massachusetts driver also extended her point lead over Frank Kimmel in the Superspeedway Challenge championship with just one superspeedway event remaining in 2007.
Kimmel finished sixth in the Fort Dodge Animal Health-Pork Ford in front of Dexter Bean, who finished seventh in the Five Star Telecom Chevrolet. Brett Hudson finished eighth in the Habitat For Humanity Dodge. Blake Feese was ninth in the ScottishRite.org-FPC1.com Dodge.
Billy Venturini, in the ABC Auto Parts-Texas Corral Chevrolet, finished 10th from the 31st starting position, earning the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger honors.
From Chicagoland, the ARCA RE/MAX Series returns to short track racing for the Eddie Gilstrap Motors Fall Classic at Salem Speedway in Southern Indiana on Saturday, September 15, 2007. Tickets are available by calling (888) 246-7223.
Top-10 Points After the Chicagoland ARCA 200 at Chicagoland Speedway (9-8-07): 1) Frank Kimmel 4810; 2) Michael McDowell 4660; 3) Dexter Bean 4395; 4) Justin Allgaier 4080; 5) Phillip McGilton 4075; 6) Justin Marks 3975; 7) Patrick Sheltra 3840; 8) Justin South 3790; 9) Bryan Silas 3560; 10) Josh Krug