Talladega: Ergon Racing race report

Toyota notched another first for their racing operations as Michael Annett scored the manufacturers first ARCA RE/MAX Series victory in Friday's ARCA RE/MAX 250 at the Talladega Superspeedway. The only frontier left for them to conquer is in the...

Toyota notched another first for their racing operations as Michael Annett scored the manufacturers first ARCA RE/MAX Series victory in Friday's ARCA RE/MAX 250 at the Talladega Superspeedway. The only frontier left for them to conquer is in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.

Erin Crocker also became the first female in the 55-year history of the ARCA RE/MAX Series to win the superspeedway points championship. The ARCA RE/MAX Series recognizes a separate points race for events competed on the larger tracks of the series.

Marc Mitchell and the #8 Ergon Pontiac team had a strong car at times. However, one problem after another arose during the long race.

In a scenario that was similar to the season opening race at Daytona, Mitchell had overheating problems at the outset of the race. At Daytona, an early caution allowed them to make a pit stop and gain valuable track position. No caution bailed the team out this time and by lap 27 Mitchell had to drop to the back of the field to get air to the motor.

After a lap 53 caution, Mitchell was penalized for coming above the "blend line," even though it was clear he did so to avoid debris on the apron. That put him at the end of the longest line. That is when spotter Jeremy Brickhouse began to work his magic.

Brickhouse began to "talk" Mitchell through the field. By lap 82, Mitchell found himself in the 15th position with a top-10 finish well within reach. However, at the end of the race, Mitchell lost second gear in his Ergon Pontiac. On a lap 90 restart, the cars in front of him checked up and he could not avoid tapping the back of Dario Franchitti. This killed his momentum and relegated him to his 20th place finish.

"That was a typical restrictor plate race," said Mitchell. "It all came down to who would work with you and who you could work with. There were some cars out there that my Ergon Pontiac just wouldn't work well with. I probably should have stuck in one line instead of bouncing around like I did, but I was trying to find something to help my car in the draft."

This was the last ARCA RE/MAX Series event for the Ergon race team. They will compete in the NASCAR Busch Series race at the Memphis Motorsports Park on October 27th.

-credit: er

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Series ARCA
Drivers Dario Franchitti , Erin Crocker