Kentucky Speedway race report

Wormcastle takes checkered at season opener. The Witwer Racing team finally scored its first series victory this Friday, with hotshoe veteran Joe Wormcastle snatching the checkered flag in the Auto Body Panels Short Track Special 50-lap feature...

Wormcastle takes checkered at season opener.

The Witwer Racing team finally scored its first series victory this Friday, with hotshoe veteran Joe Wormcastle snatching the checkered flag in the Auto Body Panels Short Track Special 50-lap feature at the Kentucky Speedway quarter-mile. The Fort Wayne, Indiana driver earned Ed & Company Hard Charger honors for his effort, working his way up to the front from 14th place on the starting grid to take over the lead on lap 32 from teammate and polesitter Steve Christman.

"Steve is a really good racer but he just slipped a little bit, I got underneath him and it worked out for me," Wormcastle said. "There's no hard feelings there, we just love to race. But I do have bragging rights in the garage this week."

The tough four-truck Witwer Racing team is owned by fellow competitor Kyle Witwer, who snagged a fourth place finish himself in the Witwer Construction Dodge Dakota. Witwer and Wormcastle have been racing together in various series for nearly 10 years.

"I think we make a good team together," Witwer said. "I'm particular and he's knowledgeable, so it works out pretty well between us."

"I really have to thank Kyle Witwer and all the guys for this win," Wormcastle said. "Kyle really does a lot for the whole team. He is the team."

Racing on the tight Kentucky track really began on lap 2, when Canton, Michigan's Paul Hahn grabbed the lead from Christman. Though Hahn succumbed to Christman again on lap 30, he kept the Hahn's Collision-Certified First-Pate Mfg.-Fox Auto Parts Ford at the front to secure a sound second place finish.

A massive crash at turn two on lap 29 collected at least seven different trucks, forcing a red flag and John Kasmierski, Bill Withers and Jack Weethee to retire for the night. Jeff Speakman, Brett Oakley, Tully Esterline and Chad Guinn were also involved, but could continue on. Guinn ended up recovering nicely, propelling his BFI-Northland Collision-Coastal Coating Services Ford to a stellar third place finish for the night.

Two-time champion Robbin Slaughter, Columbus, Ohio, grabbed fifth in the Carmen's Vacuum-NAPA Auto Parts Ford, just ahead of Witwer Racing teammate Pete Wormcastle at sixth in the Preferred Painting & Roofing-Witwer Construction Chevy. With his father as crew chief, young series rookie Brandon Knupp of Sidney, Ohio, finished at seventh in the Mark Knupp Muffler & Tire Ford, while the Tidewater Marketing-John Pierce Plumbing Ford of Fairfield, Ohio's Darren Jones took eighth. Rounding out the top-10 were the double-zero Posilac 1 Step-Westfalia-Surge Ford of Mark Otting, Plainwell, Michigan in ninth, followed by Eddy Adams, of Sheffield Village, Ohio, in the Lake Side Auto Parts Ford. Old Milwaukee polesitter Christman ended up recording a 15th place finish in his Witwer Racing Engines Chevy.

The ARCA trucks' next stop is the half-mile paved oval of Illiana Motor Speedway over Memorial Day weekend on Sunday, May 26 for the MAR-FLEX Products 100.

Series Notes:

-The 2001 ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series rookie of the year Brett Oakley currently holds the track record at Illiana with a time of 21.02. Series veterans Jack Weethee and Robbin Slaughter grabbed the checkered there in 2001 and 2000, respectively. Illiana Motor Speedway's website is www.illianaspeedway.com .

-The truck race at Illiana is sponsored by MAR-FLEX Waterproofing Systems. Based out of Middletown, Ohio, MAR-FLEX Systems, Inc. has been supplying quality products at competitive pricing for residential, commercial and institutional use since 1984. Their innovative research and testing facility is continually reviewing new and improved compounds to keep MAR-FLEX on the forefront of technology for today's contractors' needs. To learn more about MAR-FLEX, check out www.mar-flex.com .

-With the victory at Kentucky, Joe Wormcastle finally gets his name added to the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series All-Time victors listing. Active drivers included are Chad Guinn (10), Robbin Slaughter (8), and seven with one each: Tully Esterline, Paul Hahn, John Kasmierski, Jeff Speakman, Jack Weethee, Joe Wormcastle, Bill Withers.

-When 2002 Kentucky Speedway champion Joe Wormcastle isn't racing his Witwer Construction Chevy S-10 in the ARCA Lincoln Welders Series, he's running his open-wheel modified at his home track, Baer Field, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Wormcastle got his start racing street stocks at Baer Field when he was just 16 years old. He then made the move to late models, super lates, and modifieds before entering ARCA competition.

-There's something to be said about keeping your nose clean . . . Sixteen-year old series rookie Brandon Knupp worked his way up to seventh place at KY after a disappointing qualifying effort landed him at 17th on the starting grid. And how did he do it? Staying out of trouble and being patient! That says a lot for a young rookie . . . Current unofficial rookie points standings are as follows: 1. Brandon Knupp (195), 2. Steve Christman (185), 3. Kevin Reeb (165).

- The unofficial top-20 drivers in the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series championship points race are: 1. Paul Hahn (245), 2. Joe Wormcastle (230), 3. Chad Guinn, Kyle Witwer (215, tie), 5. Robbin Slaughter (205), 6. Pete Wormcastle (200), 7. Brandon Knupp, Brett Oakley (195, tie), 9. Darren Jones (190), 10. Steve Christman, Mark Otting (185), 12. Eddy Adams (180), 13. Tully Esterline (170), 14. Kevin Reeb (165), 15. Jeff Speakman (160), 16. Jack Weethee, Bill Withers (150, tie), 18. John Kasmierski (145), 19. Jeff Wichman (135), 20. Stan Maitlen (130).

-The ARCA truck series has given new meaning to the words "traveling series" this season, with stops in seven different states across the Midwest, including Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana and Pennsylvania.

-arca-

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Series ARCA
Drivers Brandon Knupp