Illinois: Matt Merrell preview

Matt Merrell Offered Another Shot At Victory Through Springfield SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (August 20, 2009) - - On the string of two consecutive runner-up finishes in the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Berlin Raceway and Pocono Raceway respectively, Matt ...

Matt Merrell Offered Another Shot At Victory Through Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (August 20, 2009) - - On the string of two consecutive runner-up finishes in the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Berlin Raceway and Pocono Raceway respectively, Matt Merrell has been given the nod to drive the team's No. 32 Red Line Oil Dodge Charger in Sunday's Allen Crowe 100.

In 13 starts this year, Merrell has recorded five top-five finishes and posted a worst finish of 20th at Mansfield Motorsports Park in June when a mechanical gremlin evaporated a potential sixth top-10 finish of the year.

Leaning on the success of his past two races, Merrell hopes that his dues have been paid and he can record his first career victory in his inaugural debut at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. And should the Portland, Texas native pull off the feat, he will crown the Win-Tron Racing team with their third win of the 2009 season.

"I'm just thankful to be driving this weekend," said Merrell, who mentioned at Pocono Raceway he wasn't sure if he would be racing any more this year due to lack of funding. "We've had some killer success here lately and to be given another shot at putting the team back in victory lane is a huge confidence boost for me."

For the sixth time this season, Merrell will tackle a track that he has never seen before. This weekend however, the Illinois State Fairgrounds is a little different from all the rest -- it's a dirt track.

"This is going to be really interesting," Merrell said with a smile. "I'm not really worried about the race on Sunday, it's just going to be a new side of racing that I've yet to experience. The good side is that I have the Win-Tron team behind me and they've put great cars underneath me that have allowed me to shine in possible times of doubt. This weekend, we're looking at continuing that trait."

"Dirt racing in the ARCA cars I've heard is a lot of fun," the former USARacing Series veteran added. "The cars are sliding sideways through the corners and the dirt is grinding all over the car and the field is extremely tight. It's going to be a new experience for me, but one that I'm really excited about."

With an unknown schedule looming in the future for Merrell, he doesn't want to leave anything on the table should there not be an opportunity to race past the 14th race of the season.

"I've appreciated everything that Win-Tron Racing has done for me this year," explained Merrell. "Last year we had our ups and downs but we've had nothing to complain about this year. Momentum has been on our side lately, hopefully we can keep it rolling with a win on Sunday afternoon. It surely would be a nice parting gift for them, if this is truly my last race of the year."

Nate Thiesse, Co-Owner and General Manager of Win-Tron Racing offered his two-cents on this weekend's activities. "We're glad Matt is back at the helm," he said. "He has done us a fabulous job this year. I know there is a sense of nervousness about the race on Sunday but he should be able to step up to the challenge without any hesitation."

Entering Springfield, Win-Tron Racing holds the third position in the ARCA RE/MAX Series owner's standings after 13 races. Car owner Kevin Cywinski is 215 markers from moving back to the top spot held by fellow car owner Jessica Sharp (No. 6). The team maintained their position after Matt Merrell recorded another career-best second place finish at Pocono Raceway earlier this month.

-credit: str

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Matt Merrell