Stenhouse Leads Point Standings by Five; SunTrust Rookies Running Well in 2008 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.'s race victory in Saturday's Drive Smart! Buckle-Up Kentucky 150, coupled with top-five finishes in the last three consecutive races, has allowed...
Stenhouse Leads Point Standings by Five; SunTrust Rookies Running Well in 2008
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.'s race victory in Saturday's Drive Smart! Buckle-Up Kentucky 150, coupled with top-five finishes in the last three consecutive races, has allowed the 20-year-old SunTrust Rookie contender to assume the series' points lead by a slim five-point margin over defending champion Frank Kimmel heading into the Hantz Group 200 presented by Federated Car Care at Toledo Speedway.
"I think it's cool were not chasing someone for the points lead," said Stenhouse. "It's a lot easier to have everyone chasing you than for you to be chasing them. We just need to stay consistent and run in the top-five every week and finishing all the laps like we've been doing the last several weeks. We went from being over 240 points out of first to leading by five points which is pretty awesome. We just need to keep that momentum going."
With six of 21 races complete, four different drivers have led the point standings so far this season. In 2007, three drivers--Bobby Gerhart, Frank Kimmel and Justin Allgaier--took turns leading the point standings, with Kimmel capturing the lead after race six and remaining the points leader until capturing his record ninth championship at the conclusion of event 23 despite late-season pressure from Eddie Sharp Racing's Michael McDowell. Currently, 220 points separate first through tenth in the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship Point Standings.
Unofficial Top-10 ARCA RE/MAX Series Points After the Drive Smart! Buckle-Up Kentucky 150 at Kentucky Speedway 1) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 1365; 2) Frank Kimmel 1360; 3) John Wes Townley 1320; 4) Matt Carter 1315; 5) Tom Hessert 1295; 6) Scott Speed 1240; 7) Justin Allgaier 1230; 8) Patrick Sheltra 1215; 9) Ken Butler 1165; 10) Tayler Malsam 1140.
It's Dejà vu for Roush Fenway Racing's ARCA RE/MAX Series Team at Kentucky Speedway
2008 marks Roush Fenway Racing's first season of full-time ARCA RE/MAX Series competition but this season is not Roush Fenway's first foray into the ARCA RE/MAX Series or the Kentucky Speedway winner's circle: the team has captured the May ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Kentucky Speedway the last two consecutive years, with Erik Darnell putting the No. 99 Ford into victory lane in May of 2007 and Stenhouse winning last weekend.
"The ARCA RE/MAX Series is a great place for us as a team to develop new talent," said Roush. "It's a competitive series that allows our new drivers to gain valuable on-track experience. Especially for drivers like Ricky Stenhouse Jr. who have come from an open wheel background and don't have a lot, if any, stock car experience."
Stenhouse, who has made six stock car starts in his career, has completed 97.7 percent of the total possible laps this season and led his first career laps in the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Kentucky. Although he has never made an ARCA RE/MAX Series start at Toledo Speedway, he raced a USAC National Midget and Sprint Car at Toledo in July of 2007, finishing 18th and 3rd, respectively.
"Toledo was one of my better tracks as far as pavement in the USAC Sprint and Midget cars go," said Stenhouse. "It will be similar to Salem in that I think passing will be difficult and you have to keep the car in one piece. The outside groove should come in, it did in Sprint cars at least, which will help in passing. We'll need to qualify good and have good pit strategy to stay up front and contend for the lead."
As the most recent ARCA RE/MAX Series race winner on the tour, Stenhouse will be featured on Inside ARCA Radio Tuesday night, May 12th, beginning at 7 p.m. The show is streamed live on arcaracing.com.
ARCA RE/MAX Series Six for Six in 2008
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. won his career first ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Kentucky Speedway this past weekend in only his sixth career stock car start, becoming one of six drivers to win ARCA RE/MAX Series victories this season. Stenhouse joins Michael Annett (Daytona), Justin Allgaier (Salem), Matt Hawkins (Iowa), Scott Speed (Kansas) and Joey Logano (Rockingham) as winners on the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series tour. Two of those race winners--Matt Hawkins and Joey Logano--won in their career first series starts.
The record for most different race winners in a single season is 17, set in 2006.
New SIM Factory Pole Award Winner at Kentucky: Sean Caisse
Hattori Racing Enterprises driver Sean Caisse, in a No. 01 Advics Camry, earned his career first SIM Factory Pole Award in his career first attempt Saturday afternoon at Kentucky Speedway. The 22-year-old Pelham, New Hampshire, driver posted the Accell Fastest lap of the race on Saturday night and was running second before contact with another car on lap 106 ended Caisse's day six laps shy of the checkered flag. He ended up 28th on the final agate.
"The Advics Camry was a really good racecar," said Caisse. "We were aero tight behind the leader, so I just gave him space and ran second under the green flag run. We took tires with 20 laps to go and worked back to second from ninth place. I felt we made a clean pass for second and I was looking ahead at the leader to see if I had enough time to catch him when we got hit by the third place car and sent into the wall. It's so disappointing because our car was a second, third or fourth place car, maybe a race winner, but it definitely wasn't meant to finish 28th."
The next ARCA RE/MAX Series event for the Hattori Racing Enterprises Team is at Michigan Int'l Speedway on June 13th.
Annett Leads Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge Standings
Following Michael Annett's ninth-place finish in Saturday's Drive Smart! Buckle-Up Kentucky 150 ARCA RE/MAX Series race, Bill Davis Racing continues to lead the 2008 Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge Standings. The Superspeedway Challenge, which is a separate point fund for races on speedway ovals greater than one mile in length, kicked off with the ARCA 200 at Daytona on February 9th and also included the Kansas Lottery $150 Grand at Kansas Speedway on April 25th and this past weekend's Drive Smart! Buckle-Up Kentucky 150. Additional superspeedway challenge events on the 2008 schedule include Kentucky Speedway (July 18th), Pocono Raceway (June 7th, August 2nd), Michigan Int'l Speedway (June 13th), Nashville Superspeedway (August 9th), Chicagoland Speedway (September 6th) and Talladega Superspeedway (October 3rd). Annett, who won this year's ARCA 200 at Daytona and finished fourth at Kansas, leads the Superspeedway Challenge with 520 points over Ricky Stenhouse, Jr (car owner Jack Roush, 475 pts.), Patrick Sheltra (car owner Grace Sheltra, 465 pts.) and Ken Butler, III (car owner Eddie Sharp, 465 pts.).
Last season, ARCA RE/MAX Series car owner Ray Evernham and driver Erin Crocker earned Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge honors, marking the first time that a female driver has earned the award. Other former recipients of the award include Frank Kimmel, Bobby Gerhart, Chad Blount, Bob Strait, Bill Baird, Mark Gibson, Tim Steele and Mike Wallace, among others.
Billy Venturini Earns Cometic Crew Chief of the Race Honors for the Second Consecutive Week: Headed to Toledo as Driver, Not Crew Chief
ARCA RE/MAX Series veteran driver Billy Venturini has been out of the driver's seat and on top of the pit box recently, earning Cometic Crew Chief of the Race Honors two races in a row for bringing his family-owned No. 25 Chevrolet to two consecutive top-5 finishes, including a race win at Rockingham Speedway with driver Joey Logano and a third-place finish at Kentucky Speedway with driver Ryan Fischer. This weekend at Toledo Speedway, However, Venturini will be in the driver's seat, preparing to make his 163rd career ARCA RE/MAX Series start.
Venturini, who won his career-first ARCA RE/MAX Series race as a driver at Salem Speedway in 2006, has 28 top-5 finishes and 75 top-10 finishes in ARCA RE/MAX Series competition, including a career best Toledo Speedway finish of third in 2005. He also has a fourth-place finish at Toledo in his 1994 rookie season, fifth in 2003, seventh in 2002, ninth in 2006 and tenth in 2007.
ARCA RE/MAX Series Returns to Short Track Racing this Weekend; Kimmel All-Time Winner at Toledo
The ARCA RE/MAX Series will make the first of two appearances to Toledo Speedway this weekend for the Hantz Group 200 presented by Federated Car Care. The track, currently owned by ARCA president Ron Drager and local area businessman Roy Mott, is located less than five miles away from ARCA's Temperance, Michigan home-base and considered ARCA's hometown short track. The historic, half-mile high-banked oval has competed under the ARCA sanction for more than half of its 49 years.
Nine-time and defending ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel, who is currently second in the series point standings (just five points away from point leader Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.), is the ARCA RE/MAX Series' all-time winner at Toledo with nine victories at the .5-mile track. He earned his career first ARCA RE/MAX Series win at Toledo in 1992 and is currently the series' all-time active race winner with 71 career victories.
"The whole thing always seems to come back here to Toledo," said Kimmel. "My first race in ARCA ever was here at Toledo in a car fielded by Jack Wallace. My first win in ARCA came here at Toledo, and I have nine wins here. And of course, Toledo is special to ARCA as well since this is the series' hometown track."
In addition to the 2007 championship, Kimmel is the 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 ARCA RE/MAX Series Champion. He has been a top-ten points finisher the past 16 consecutive ARCA RE/MAX Series seasons and in 355 career starts since 1990, Kimmel has 210 top-5 finishes and 262 top-10s, more than any other active driver in both categories.
Plenty of Star Power at Toledo; Cup Regulars Ragan, Schrader, Entered
More than 40 drivers have entered the Hantz Group 200 presented by Federated Car Care at Toledo Speedway, including two drivers familiar to race fans for their experience in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Roush Fenway's David Ragan, who made an appearance to Toledo Speedway for the track's annual press conference in March and who recently tested his ARCA car at Toledo, has entered the race in a No. 39 Roulo Brothers Racing Ford. In addition, Ken Schrader has entered the Toledo event in his own No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Dodge.
Ragan got his start in the ARCA RE/MAX Series in 2003, posting ten top-5 and 13 top-10 finishes in his ARCA career, including one win at Lanier Nat'l Speedway in Georgia in 2005.
Schrader has 48 career ARCA RE/MAX Series starts to his credit, including 15 wins, 33 top-5's and 37 top-10 finishes. Four of Schrader's wins came at Toledo Speedway.
Sheltra Motorsports Kicks Off Big Brothers Big Sisters Charity Challenge
Sheltra Motorsports and the Patrick Sheltra Foundation have announced that they will donate $1 per lap completed in this Sunday's Hantz Group 200 presented by Federated Car Care to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Ohio. They have challenged other ARCA RE/MAX Series teams to match this pledge, which is in support of the official charity of choice for this weekend's ARCA RE/MAX Series race and ARCA Fan Fest event.
"We are very proud to be supporting the fourth annual ARCA RE/MAX Series Fan Fest and be a part of the opportunity to work with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Foundation," said Sheltra, who is currently eighth in the ARCA RE/MAX Series Point Standings. "The challenge that we have proposed to the ARCA RE/MAX Series teams is an easy one. It's affordable and going towards a great cause. The ARCA RE/MAX Series is a great family sport and it's important for us to reach out to others in need. We hope that all the teams entered for Sunday's race will accept the challenge."
The fourth annual ARCA Fan Fest has been designed as a family and fan friendly motorsports promotion allowing ARCA fans to interact with ARCA officials, drivers, teams, crews and sponsors at ARCA's hometown track. In addition, fund raising efforts including a raffle for motorsports collectables and a 50/50 raffle will be administered on behalf of the charity. The ARCA Fan Fest will take place in the parking lot area directly in front of the speedway and is completely free to the public. Fans will be required to purchase tickets to enter the speedway for the weekend's racing action.
Hantz Group 200 by Federated Car Care Marks First Toledo Short Track Radial Event
This weekend's Hantz Group 200 presented by Federated Car Care marks the first time that the ARCA RE/MAX Series will compete on short track radial tires at Toledo Speedway. In the past, teams have used bias ply tires on ARCA RE/MAX Series short tracks. The comprehensive process of developing the newly designed short track radial for ARCA RE/MAX Series teams has included aggressive and rigorous testing by Hoosier Tire Engineers, ARCA RE/MAX Series Officials and select ARCA RE/MAX Series teams.
In addition to utilizing the new Hoosier Short Track Radial at Toledo, ARCA RE/MAX Series officials will mandate a tire limit rule as a cost containment measure for race teams. On ARCA RE/MAX Series short track events, teams are allowed to have a total of ten tires during the race; including the four Hoosier short track radial tires on the car at the start of the race and an additional six tires in the team's pit box. Previously, teams were allowed eight tires in the pit box, for a total of 12 tires. The Hoosier Short Track Radial debuted at Salem Speedway on April 13th with positive results.
"The new short track radial Hoosier designed and implemented for the first time at Salem was a great move," said Robby Benton, owner and crew chief of the No. 09 Ford driven by John Wes Townley in the ARCA RE/MAX Series. "That tire is much better suited for these cars and they did a tremendous job at giving us something that would both give us longevity and dependability. The conditions at Salem were less than ideal, so the performance of the tire was accentuated even more so. I'm very satisfied with what they've come up with and feel it will be a solid choice for us throughout the 2008 short track schedule. The tire rule was fair [at Salem]. We were planning on stopping twice, since we were only allowed six tires, we opted for pairing some older lefts from a previous stop with our second set of rights. They performed great. I'm sure there are mixed opinions in the garage, but I'm satisfied with what I saw. I applaud Hoosier for the job they did."
As the sole supplier of racing tires for ARCA, Hoosier has long been a major backer and significant sponsor, supporting a number of special awards within the RE/MAX Series, including the Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge and individual awards including a cash bonus to the winning driver of each event, a cash bonus to the championship winning car owner and driver and a cash award to the driver earning the most victories each season.
ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series to Join ARCA RE/MAX Series at Toledo This Weekend
The ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series will join the ARCA RE/MAX Series on the Toledo Speedway .5-mile this weekend for the Champion Credit Union 50, marking the second of six companion events in 2008. Last weekend, Paul Hahn found victory lane at Kentucky Speedway in his No. 7 Hahn's Powder Coating-Fox Auto Parts-Howe Racing Chevrolet Colorado.
Former ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series race winners at Toledo Speedway include David Clay (1999), Robbin Slaughter (1999, 2000, 2001), Chad Guinn (2000, 2003, 2004), Johnny Witham (2001), Phil Bozell (2002), Brett Rowe (2005), Hahn (2006), Mark Otting (2007) and Justin Marks (2007).
Live Timing and Scoring on Arcaracing.com at Toledo; Race to Air on MavTV
This weekend at Toledo Speedway, Arcaracing.com will feature live-to-web timing and scoring for ARCA RE/MAX Series practice, SIM Factory Pole Award Qualifying and Sunday's Hantz Group 200 presented by Federated Car Care. In addition, the race will be aired on MavTV beginning on May 23rd at 8 p.m. The race will be re-aired May 24th at 2 a.m., May 25th at 9 p.m., May 26th at 3 a.m., May 28th at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. and May 31st at 7 p.m.