Arpin Wins Southern Illinois 100 at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds (DuQUOIN, Ill.) - Steve Arpin handed Venturini Motorsports its first ever ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards victory on dirt with a convincing performance Monday ...
Arpin Wins Southern Illinois 100 at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds
(DuQUOIN, Ill.) - Steve Arpin handed Venturini Motorsports its first ever ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards victory on dirt with a convincing performance Monday afternoon in the 58th running of the Southern Illinois 100 at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds.
Arpin, in the No. 55 Mike's Hard Lemonade Chevrolet, took the lead away from Tom Hessert on lap 62 of the 100-lap, 100-mile race and never relinquished it, beating Hessert to the checkered flag by a half second to earn his third career ARCA Series win.
"We had an awesome race car from the get-go," Arpin said in victory lane. "We were real tight right off the bat. I was nervous. I was honestly more nervous than I've been in a long time about being able to get to the front. But, Bill (Venturini, crew chief) and Kevin made an awesome adjustment during the pit stop and (they) asked me just to trust them. They hit it right on. I think that is the most fun I can ever remember having in a race car."
The victory for Arpin also held special meaning considering the Fort Frances, Ontario driver cut his teeth racing in dirt modifieds before moving up into stock car ranks.
"This one is just a little bit extra special to me because, like with my dirt racing background, that's all I really have done before," added Arpin. "To be able to come back here to the dirt and get an ARCA win is something I've really wanted, especially at this level."
The victory was also especially rewarding for the Venturini Motorsports organization.
"It was a great day for Venturini Motorsports," said team manager Billy Venturini. "We have a long, and pretty honorable history in this series, and it was great to finally get a win here on the dirt. We've won just about everywhere else, and had some great dirt drivers. We spent a lot of time with Mark Richards and Rocket Chassis, and he helped us quite a bit with some knowledge in the dirt program. When we came here we were going to be the team to beat and our driver did a great job."
Hessert, who led laps 37 through 61 in the No. 77 Cherry Hill Classic Cars-Cunningham Motorsports Dodge, kept the pressure on Arpin all the way and got alongside the eventual winner on three occasions, but had to settle for second, five lengths away. Although he didn't get the win, the Cherry Hill, N.J. driver left the track tied in points with Patrick Sheltra with just four events remaining in 2010.
"We had a really good day," Hessert said. "The Taylor Classic Cars Dodge ran well. Solid points day as well; I wish we could have come up with the win. Steve (Arpin) was pretty strong on the short run. If we had a little bit of a longer green-flag run we might have had a shot, but it was a good day for us."
Unfortunately for Hessert, his wish for long green flag runs didn't come as 11 cautions slowed the pace for 42 laps.
Mikey Kile, also in a Venturini Motorsports-prepared Chevrolet, finished third.
"It was a good points day," Kile said. "I don't know if we had a third place car, but track position was key. We were running fifth and the guys in front of us had some misfortunes. We were able to take advantage of it. It was a good day for Venturini Motorsports, first and third. Congratulations to those guys (55 Team), and we're looking forward to going to Toledo."
Sheltra finished fourth in the Performance Vehicle Works Dodge in front of Ken Schrader, who steered his own Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet to the final stripe in fifth.
AJ Fike earned the Menards Pole presented by Ansell and led the first 16 laps before Kelly Kovski took control on lap 17. Kovski, who serves as Car Chief for ARCA driver Robb Brent when he's not driving, led 14 laps before relinquishing the lead to Schrader when Kovski came to pit road for service. Schrader, who had pitted earlier, led six laps before Hessert took his turn up front.
Will Kimmel finished a career-best sixth in the Messina Wildlife-Menards Ford with Craig Goess trailing in seventh in the Greenville Toyota of N.C. Toyota. Goess's finish places him third in championship points, just five points away from leaders' Hessert and Sheltra.
Chad McCumbee finished eighth in ModSpace-Red Cross Disaster Relief Ford with Kovski trailing in ninth in the Central Illinois Security-Hoosier Tire Midwest Chevrolet. Bryan Silas finished 10th in the Rockingham Speedway-PBG Ford.
The next event on the ARCA Racing Series calendar will take the tour home to Toledo (Ohio) Speedway for the Northwest Ohio Ford Dealers 200 Sunday afternoon, September 12.