MANSFIELD OH (7-12-03) ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series veteran Jeff Speakman, in his own Pennzoil-National Auto Lube Ford Ranger, capitalized on the misfortunes of early race leader Chad Guinn, then held off Paul Hahn to win the Performance...
MANSFIELD OH (7-12-03) ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series veteran Jeff Speakman, in his own Pennzoil-National Auto Lube Ford Ranger, capitalized on the misfortunes of early race leader Chad Guinn, then held off Paul Hahn to win the Performance Fuels 50 Saturday night at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway. It was his third career series victory.
"We were good right off the trailer," said Speakman. "The truck was a little tight at the start, but it just kept getting better and better as the race went on. Hard to say if we could have gotten by Chad (Guinn); you can't ever count him out, but you have to finish to win. It was just our night. I'd also like to thank Dick's Paint & Body for all their help."
With a near capacity crowd on hand, Speakman also won the Old Milwaukee Pole but it was outside polesitter Guinn who got the jump at the onset. Guinn, the defending champion and current point leader, pulled out to a ten-length advantage over Speakman with Brian Rowe, Robbin Slaughter and Hahn in tow.
While Hahn worked on Slaughter and Rowe for third, Speakman began reeling in Guinn for the lead. Speakman erased Guinn's advantage to three lengths as the race neared the halfway point. Then Guinn's truck slowed abruptly when his timing belt broke sending the Erie, Michigan driver to the garage for good after 24 laps completed. That gave the lead to Speakman who began pulling away from Rowe, Slaughter and Hahn. That was until Hahn finally cleared Rowe and Slaughter to take the third position. Hahn then caught Speakman for the lead right before the only caution of the race came out on lap 36 for Ron Wells whose machine came to a stop on the track after his oil pump belt broke. When racing resumed, Speakman, whose truck continued to get faster and faster, pulled steadily away from Hahn to earn the victory. Hahn, in the Hahn's Collision-Certified First Network Chevy S-10, finished up strong in second ahead of Rowe, who steered the Pate Manufacturing Ford to the finish in third. Two-time series champion Robbin Slaughter finished fourth in the Carmensvacuum.com Ford with Kevin Reeb trailing in fifth in the Reeb Racing Ford.
Grove City, Ohio veteran Jack Weethee finished a solid sixth in front of 17-year-old Brandon Knupp who finished seventh. Knupp, who started 17th, earned the Ed & Company Hard Charger award for the second consecutive race for advancing the most positions. In addition to Speakman's $1,000 top prize pay, the Piqua, Ohio driver also earned the Cloyes Gear Halfway Leader award.
With Guinn falling from contention in the race, ARCA rookie Rowe, currently second in points, moved to within 40 points of Guinn in the championship point standings with Slaughter trailing in third just 60 points out.
The next action for the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series will be Saturday, July 26 at the new Dodge City Raceway Park in Dodge City, Kansas where the Midwestern-based truckers will meet the ARCA West Truck Series for the Dodge City Days 100. The event is also scheduled to be televised on a tape-delayed basis on The Outdoor Channel.
LAP LEADERS: Guinn 1-24 (24); Speakman 25-50 (26)
Old Milwaukee Pole Award: Jeff Speakman
Cloyes Gear Halfway Leader: Jeff Speakman #Ed & Company Hard Charger: Brandon Knupp