Hemphill Shows The Way At Gateway "Rookie Fights Illness But Still Dominates For 5th Win" July 19, 2004 (Madison, Illinois) - "Red-Hot" ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Ryan Hemphill was literally that on Friday night at the Gateway International ...
Hemphill Shows The Way At Gateway
"Rookie Fights Illness But Still Dominates For 5th Win"
July 19, 2004 (Madison, Illinois) - "Red-Hot" ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Ryan Hemphill was literally that on Friday night at the Gateway International Raceway. Even a case of strept throat and very hot temperatures inside his #64 TRIMSPA DODGE were enough to stop Hemphill as he once again was impeccably impressive on his way to the win for the second week in a row in the running of the Shop n' Save 150 at the 1.25-mile oval.
"This was a tough one tonight," stated Hemphill. "I have been a little under the weather and I got real hot inside the car - that did not make for a comfortable ride. We were pretty tight out there tonight but I think about everyone was fighting that problem as well. Ken (Schrader) was real strong there early on and it would have been fun to race him there at the end - I really hated to see him blow up."
Hemphill struggled a little during the only practice session before qualifying - but his Braun Racing crew made the right changes once again. The result was the 4th Pork Pole of the season for Ryan after posting a one lap effort of 34.396 seconds for a speed of 130.829 mph - just edging NASCAR Nextel Cup Series veteran Schrader.
The 22-year-old rookie stayed strong once the green flag flew and led the first five laps before giving way to Schrader and settling in to follow the wily veteran around the tricky oval of Gateway. The Schrader and Hemphill machines pulled away from the remainder of the field as they set a blistering pace early on. The #64 TRIMSPA DODGE did pick up a tight condition as the race progressed and a pit stop on lap 42 allowed the crew to make a few adjustments to the machine.
On lap 62 the complexion of the 120 lap event changed dramatically as Schrader suffered an expired engine in his #99 ride - handing the lead back over to Hemphill and his TRIMSPA team. A second and final pit stop on lap 65 saw the Apollo, Pennsylvania native relegated to re-starting the event from the 7th position after some competitors stayed out for track position. Within 10 laps of going back to green flag conditions, Ryan was back up front and he slowly pulled away from the field until the checkered flag - earning his 5th win of the season. In all, Hemphill and his #64 ride led 53 laps of the 120 lap event - including the last 43 laps.
"This whole team is just amazing to me," said Ryan. "We struggled a little bit early on in practice and I think I was driving the car in a little too deep. The crew made the proper adjustments and I changed my driving approach and things just started to click for us. The whole TRIMSPA team has become so good at dialing in the car at each track we go to - crew chief Greg Tester takes my feedback and always seems to do the right things. That all makes it a little easier for me to get in there and do my job. And Ernie Elliott gives us awesome horsepower and tonight was no different."
Hemphill has been nothing short of sensational this season in his ARCA RE/MAX Series events. In only 10 starts this season, he has garnered five wins (all in the last eight races), four Pork Pole Awards, seven top 5 and eight top 10 finishes.
Hemphill and his Braun Racing team will now take a much deserved week off before heading back to Pocono for the second time this season.