Shady Bowl Race Report

Bill Baird Takes Command at the Shady Bowl By Don Radebaugh DeGraff, OH - Bill Baird clearly established himself as the new man in command in the ARCA ...

Bill Baird Takes Command at the Shady Bowl By Don Radebaugh

DeGraff, OH - Bill Baird clearly established himself as the new man in command in the ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series taking his third series victory of the season Saturday night at Shady Bowl Speedway in the Stapleton Automotive 150. After nine events, Baird is the only repeat winner. The current point leader raced underneath Eric Smith on the 72nd circuit to take control, held off Frank Kimmel's Advance Auto Parts Chevy for the duration as well as a late-race charge from Mark Gibson, and drove his Saturn Machine-Eagle One Chevrolet under the checkers three lengths ahead of Gibson's JaniKing Ford. Windsor Ontario driver Randy Churchill, aboard his Beaver Express-JR Traffic Chevrolet, recovered from an early race spin and charged back to finish third beating fourth place finisher Kimmel at the stripe by inches. Jeff Finley, in Ed Rensi's Dura Lube Chevy, finished fifth. "The car was absolutely perfect all night," said the Sturgis, Kentucky driver in victory lane. "Once we got the lead, we were able to set the pace, run our own race and take care of our tires, and that's key here at Shady Bowl. If you lean on 'em too hard too soon, there's nothing left at the end. Kimmel had me nervous for awhile. Of course, anytime you have the 46 car in your mirror, it keeps your attention. I want to thank my crew chief Keith Strunk and the whole crew. They're awesome. You know when we go home, the celebration will be short lived because this crew will go right to work and that's what it takes to win championships. But I love this old race track. It's just a ton of fun to drive. You're always busy in the seat." Tracy Leslie started the night out with a Talladega Pole Award in Jack Bowsher's #21 Zinsser Paint Products Ford but gave up the top-spot to outside polesitter Smith at the onset. Smith stretched his advantage to ten lengths until Baird, who had already wrestled second away from Leslie, tracked down the two-time ARCA winner to challenge for the lead. Baird contented himself with following Smith for several rounds before a hole opened up off turn four. Baird filled it and brought Kimmel, Gibson, Bobby Gerhart and Mike Ciochetti along for the ride while both Leslie and Smith continued to back up. Baird, Kimmel and Gibson then hooked up in a tight line for the remaining laps before Baird began pulling away near the end. However, 12 cautions, all for minor incidents, disallowed the eventual winner any real opportunity to build any sizeable lead while several spirited battles raged in his rear view mirror, most notably, the battle for second. Kimmel and Gibson swapped back and forth until with two laps to go, Gibson gave Kimmel a nudge off the fourth turn and raced underneath for the second spot. But in the end, no driver had anything for Baird who earned $11,990 for his efforts. Dill Whittymore, in his Mt. Olive Pickle Chevrolet, kept busy all night long with a sixth place finish after starting 26th earning the Hoosier Tire Midwest Hard Charger honors for advancing the most positions. Ciochetti finished 7th in the Winners' Circle Ford ahead of Gerhart's Kewadin Casinos Chevy. Seymour, Indiana driver Richard Hampton was stout all night in his Hoosier Online-Voyager Communications Chevy racing his way from the 21st starting position to ninth in the final running order. Smith completed the top ten. Baird also picked up the Auto Value Halfway Leader Award and Randy VanZant was the STP-Prestone Highest Finishing Rookie. Next event for the ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series will be at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan Saturday night July 10.

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Series ARCA
Drivers Frank Kimmel , Bobby Gerhart , Mark Gibson , Bill Baird , Mike Ciochetti