Rookie Chase Miller Rolls to Victory Lane at Pocono LONG POND PA (6-10-06)--Rookie Chase Miller had never even seen Pocono Raceway before this weekend, but you couldn't tell by his performance in the Pocono 200 on ...
Rookie Chase Miller Rolls to Victory Lane at Pocono
LONG POND PA (6-10-06)--Rookie Chase Miller had never even seen Pocono Raceway before this weekend, but you couldn't tell by his performance in the Pocono 200 on Saturday.
Miller, who is competing in the ARCA RE/MAX Series on a part-time basis this season as part of a driver development program for Dodge, earned his career first victory in only his fifth series start, capturing the Pocono 200 by 1.695 seconds over runner-up finisher Mario Gosselin.
"It wasn't too bad," Miller said of Gosselin and Sherman, the biggest threats to his lead. "You know I thought maybe they could get me through the first turn there but I was killing them all once I got to the tunnel turn."
The 19-year-old rookie had started the race in 34th position, utilizing both a provisional and a backup car after crashing during Pork Pole qualifying on Friday. He made the winning pass on lap 70 of the scheduled 80-lap race.
However, once he fought his way through the field, Miller became the car to beat, leading a total of 24 laps and earning the Hurst Fastest Lap of the Race award.
"I thought we had a good car until Chase passed me like I was standing still," said Gosselin, who settled for second in his No. 12 DGM Racing Chevrolet. "It was a good race and overall we're happy."
Gosselin's crew chief, Germain Gosselin, earned SK Tool Crew Chief of the Race honors, and Gosselin, who had started second in Saturday's race, led the most laps with 38.
Miller's victory celebration was lengthened by eight laps to accommodate a green-white-checker finish after Patrick Sheltra and Justin Marks crashed hard into the turn three wall on lap 79. Both drivers were unharmed. It was one of nine cautions in the event.
Sherman, who started at the rear of the field, worked his way up through the pack early, finishing third in his No. 04 Serta Mattress Ford.
"It was a really good race," said Sherman. "I feel like we had a shot at second but we have to use this car at Michigan so it was more important to have a clean car. We kind of used up the tires at the end."
Henriksen, in the No. 17 Engineered Components Ford, finished fourth after starting 15th and leading five laps, while Pennsylvania's own Gerhart, in the No. 5 Lucas Oil Chevrolet, rounded out the top-five.
"No doubt about it were going to be up front," said Gerhart. "We take every race wanting to be here and in contention at the end. We had a great car today, track position just didn't go our way."
By virtue of both his top-five finish and the misfortune of some of his biggest challengers, Gerhart was able to lengthen his points lead in the national championship standings, as Frank Kimmel, TJ Bell and Billy Venturini all suffered mechanical problems.
Kimmel and Bell were one of several drivers that ran setups with too much left front camber, causing tire issues.
Among those disappointed with Saturday's final outcome was Pork Pole award winner David Stremme, who had hoped to use Saturday's ARCA RE/MAX Series event as preparation for Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race. Stremme's plans did not go exactly as he had expected as transmission problems on the first lap relegated the South Bend, Indiana native to a 40th place finish.
"We're going to pull it out [the transmission] and see what happened," said a disappointed Stremme. "I'm going to help them pull it out, I want to see what is wrong with it. I've blown gears up on the racetrack and everything else but this thing never even budged. Something's got to change my luck for this season."
Stremme, a rookie in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, plans to compete in the ARCA RE/MAX Series again on June 16 in the Hantz Group 200 at Michigan International Speedway.
Rookie Dexter Bean led three laps early in the event before engine problems forced him to retire his No. 6 Five Star Telegram Chevrolet on lap 14, relegating him to a 36th place finish. Jeremy Clements, in the No. 3 Georgia Workboots Chevrolet, also led ten laps before dropping out of the race with engine woes as well. Venturini, Norm Benning, Justin South, Ryan Foster and Benny Chastain would all suffer similar problems.
Ken Weaver, Damon Lusk, Ryan Howard, Chuck Weber and Brett Rowe rounded out the top-10 respectively.
The next event on the ARCA RE/MAX Series is the Hantz Group 200 at Michigan International Speedway Friday, June 16. The event will be LIVE on SPEED starting at 5:00 pm ET.