Illinois: Series pre-event notes 2010-08-20

ARCA Drivers Laud Series' Diversity, Look Forward to Dirt Racing (SPRINGFIELD, Ill.) - Bryan Silas has started six races on dirt tracks and 84 races overall in his ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards career, making him among the...

ARCA Drivers Laud Series' Diversity, Look Forward to Dirt Racing

(SPRINGFIELD, Ill.) - Bryan Silas has started six races on dirt tracks and 84 races overall in his ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards career, making him among the most qualified to speak on the series' wide range of competition.

Silas finished 20th at the one-mile dirt track on the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill. last year, and will look to improve upon that mark in Sunday's Allen Crowe 100, scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Central (2 Eastern). As he has done in all 13 ARCA Racing Series races this season, Silas will drive the No. 11 Rockingham Speedway/Palm Beach Grading Ford for owner Andy Hillenburg.

Not only does Silas believe that dirt racing contributes to a richer variety for ARCA Racing Series fans, but he also thinks that taking to the clay in a stock car helps him overall as a driver.

"While I don't have a lot of experience on dirt, the two dirt races at Springfield and Du Quoin (Ill.) bring out the diversity for the ARCA Racing Series while putting their drivers to the test of being able to manhandle the different driving characteristics that come along with dirt track racing. I'm looking forward to Sunday," said Silas.

12 drivers have won in 13 races in the series this season, with 11 of the drivers winning races for the first time. Silas, who stands 11th in series points and owns a best career finish of fourth at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway in 2008, is a candidate to become the next first-time winner.

Until recently, Robb Brent (No. 36 Orchard Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Dodge) was like Silas, searching for his first victory. Brent's triumph came on the final day of July at Pocono Raceway, where he led the final 15 laps to win the Weis Markets 125 over Dakoda Armstrong (No. 22 Ferrellgas Dodge) and Craig Goess (No. 81 Greenville Toyota of N.C. Toyota).

Though from Michigan, Brent may enjoy a hometown advantage this weekend. His Allgaier Motorsports team is housed in Springfield. Team namesake Justin Allgaier, from nearby Riverton, won at the Fairgrounds in 2006.

"The track is the home base for my team and we have a lot of fans in the area. It's neat to race at the state fair and it's fun to play on the dirt," said Brent, who finished 13th last season and is 10th in series points."Last year was my first time on dirt and I can't wait to try it again. I had a blast sliding around and I'm looking forward to having more experience and racing up front this year."

Brent's usual car chief, Kelly Kovski, will take time from his Allgaier duties to enter the No. 17 Ford for Roulo Brothers Racing, which itself is housed just up the interstate in suburban Chicago. Kovski, 29 and of Springfield, has started in the series' last 11 dirt races and accumulated three top-10 finishes.

Numerous other drivers from the top of the series standings gave their opinions on racing on the dirt at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

Patrick Sheltra, No. 60 Recycling Services/Ferguson Pipe Dodge (fifth in standings, third at Springfield in 2009): "As always, I'm excited when the ARCA Racing Series returns to the dirt tracks. It's my roots and I've always run well at Springfield. I feel that the Allen Crowe 100 is our chance to capitalize and gain some ground in the championship chase, but more importantly, take my team to victory lane. For the fans, you can't describe a stock car race on the dirt. It's exciting and I hope that I'll live up to my nickname "Mr. Showtime" on Sunday and give them a show they won't forget."

Tom Hessert, No. 77 Cherry Hill Classic Cars Dodge (third, 23rd): "The dirt races are a huge part of the series and I always enjoy competing at Springfield. Before racing in ARCA, a large part of my racing was done on dirt so I can't wait to get back on it. Our team has been running well and I expect us to have more great finishes."

Steve Arpin, No. 55 Mike's Hard Lemonade Toyota (13th, fifth): "I can't wait to get back on the dirt this weekend at Springfield. Dirt racing is what I grew up racing, but racing a 3400-pound stock car on the dirt is a whole new experience. The best part about being out of the points battle is that we can try new things at places like this. We know we have a fairly safe setup to fall back on from our run there last year, but with (crew chief) Kevin Caldwell being a dirt racer, teaming up with Josh Richards (at Mansfield) earlier this year, and my dirt experience, we all put our heads together and are going to show up with a whole new package. It should be interesting."

Craig Goess, No. 81 Greenville Toyota of N.C. Toyota (second, 26th): "Last season, we didn't have the best of luck at the dirt tracks. The race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds was my first race ever on a dirt track. I'm going back to the dirt tracks with more experience in the series, and I'm really looking forward to it. Coming off the road course race in New Jersey, it really shows how diverse the tracks are that we compete at throughout one season. That is what makes the ARCA Racing Series unique."

Justin Marks, No. 32 Construct Corps Dodge (fourth, fourth in 2007): "I love racing the dirt. The only dirt racing I've done was the ARCA races in 2007 and it was a total blast. I'm really looking forward to getting back because Win-Tron has had some great runs on the dirt and I know we'll have a good car. I grew up going to dirt track races and it really planted the racing seed for me so it has a special place in my heart. We're getting down to the championship run here so it's time to turn it up a bit and get aggressive and the dirt is a great place for that because its hard racing where you can make stuff happen and really set the tone. I'm doing some USAC testing and planning on getting some seat time on the dirt in preparation to really take advantage."

The 100-lap, 100-mile Allen Crowe 100 is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Central (2 Eastern) on Sunday, August 22, with live timing and scoring and live audio coverage presented by ARCA Nation at ARCARacing.com.

The lone practice is scheduled for 9 a.m. Central, with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell - which has produced 11 different pole winners in 12 qualifying sessions this season - taking place at 11 a.m. Live audio coverage and live timing and scoring of all events will be available on ARCARacing.com.

-source: arca

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Andy Hillenburg , Justin Marks , Tom Hessert , Justin Allgaier , Bryan Silas , Robb Brent , Patrick Sheltra , Steve Arpin , Craig Goess , Dakoda Armstrong , Josh Richards