Mark Gibson wins in wild ARCA finish - by Don Radebaugh Anderson, IN, May 14, 2000 - He came out of nowhere. Actually, he came from the 13th starting position but he didn't come until the last corner of the last lap, which made it seem...
Mark Gibson wins in wild ARCA finish
- by Don Radebaugh
Anderson, IN, May 14, 2000 - He came out of nowhere. Actually, he came from the 13th starting position but he didn't come until the last corner of the last lap, which made it seem that way. Mark Gibson survived the ultimate ARCA short-track war and then capitalized on the misfortunes of race leaders' Brian Ross and Ken Schrader to win the Penda Truck Accessories 300 Sunday afternoon at Anderson Speedway in spectacular fashion.
Ross, who had dominated the final third of the race with Schrader inches away, had already received the white flag and was getting ready to negotiate the 3rd turn one final time when a heap of traffic stacked up in the corner. With both lanes blocked, Ross opted for the brake pedal while Schrader was still working the throttle. The cars touched sending Ross spinning sideways into turn four while Schrader stayed straight. Schrader, who could have easily sailed away under the checkers as winner, literally stopped his Federated Auto Parts Chevy and waited for Ross to get his racer pointed in the right direction while Gibson sailed to the high side of both. Gibson, in his Kenwood Communications-Cornwell Tools Chevy, stunned the crowd when he rolled past the checkered flag as winner with Bobby Gerhart 2.744 seconds in his rears in second. Ross got straightened out in time to finish third while Schrader fell in line to finish fourth ahead of new point leader Bob Strait in fifth.
"This is unbelievable," said an overwhelmed Gibson in victory lane. "This is just the greatest. I really want to thank Joe and Mike Cooksey for giving me the opportunity to drive a team car. I didn't even have a ride this year until they offered. I finally took Joe's (Cooksey) advice and drove it Cooksey style today. I'm normally pretty aggressive but we were patient today as hard as it was to be out there today, but it paid off for us. I'll probably have to try that style more often. I hated to see Brian (Ross) get caught up in traffic there at the end but we all had to deal with it all day. It wasn't but a few laps ago when Bobby (Gerhart) got caught in traffic and we were able to get by him, or he may have won. We only led one lap today but it was the right one. I love these old short tracks. Anyway, we want to dedicate our win to the Pettys. Even after all the excitement, it's hard to feel all that good about it right now. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Pettys."
Few cars, if any, escaped without damage as 15 cautions slowed the event for 130 laps while safety crews cleaned up a variety of messes left behind by the big, heavy ARCA cars on the tight, high-banked Anderson quarter mile oval.
Pole sitter and new one-lap track record holder Frank Kimmel appeared to be the class of the field for most of the afternoon and dominated most of the way leading 180 laps before the engine expired in his Advance Auto Parts-Pork White Meat Chevy sending his machine spinning through the first corner before rolling pitside for good. Ross then took command and masterfully held Schrader at bay before the final lap changed the make-up for good. Dill Whittymore and Curt Piercy were impressive and in the top-five for much of the way until a cut left front tire sent Whittymore hard into the turn one wall while Piercy's sensational run ended with a broken transmission.
Shawna Robinson, making her first Anderson appearance, finished a respectable sixth in the Kmart Kids Race Against Drugs Ford with Mike Harmon, Norm Benning, Richard Hampton and Jim Lamoreaux completing the top-10.
Gerhart won the Hoosier Tire Midwest Hard Charger Award for hustling his Chevy from the 24th starting position to the runner-up spot while Kimmel earned the Auto Value Parts Stores Halfway Leader honors. Ross was again the Prestone ARCA Highest Finishing Rookie.
ARCA will now shift from its short track schedule in time to go superspeedway racing at Lowe's Motor Speedway Saturday night, May 20 with the EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 100 just prior to the running of NASCAR's all-star race The Winston.
Current Points, top-10: Bob Strait 615, Brian Ross 595, Shawna Robinson 560, Kirk Shelmerdine 555, Bobby Gerhart 540, Norm Benning 510, Mark Gibson 500, Frank Kimmel 480, Mike Harmon 480, Joe Cooksey 475.