PUNTA GORDA, FLORIDA -- Steve Arnold won a wreck marred FASCAR Goodyear Challenge Series 100 with an impeccable race Saturday night on Charlotte County Speedway, becoming the third different series winner this year. A total of 10 cautions slowed...
PUNTA GORDA, FLORIDA -- Steve Arnold won a wreck marred FASCAR Goodyear Challenge Series 100 with an impeccable race Saturday night on Charlotte County Speedway, becoming the third different series winner this year.
A total of 10 cautions slowed a fast paced evening as a 28 car starting field tried to dodge extra sheet metal tangles throughout the race. Ten cars would finish on the lead lap.
Arnold faced only one serious threat and that was during the final circuit as second place finisher Randy Fox jumped quickly to the outside trying to make a last lap pass, but the winner held a perfect line and the challenger backed off.
"I want to thank Randy Fox for driving me clean," said Arnold of Cape Coral, FL, driving the Marty Motors ride.
The winning tributes went on.
"Dick Anderson gave us some help - this is just awesome standing here," continued an elated Arnold. "Jay Murphy, Bart Corliete all played a key part in a job well done by all, and my Don O'Connel Race Engine performed perfectly."
Charlotte County Speedway regulars dominated "Victory Lane" for the top three spots with Fox finishing second and Glen Morris moved quickly from the 19th starting spot to place third. Most Goodyear regulars were away licking their wounds after this tough night.
Fox, recovering from cancer and heart surgery, still had his usual wit and smile at race end on the front straightaway when asked about his race finish.
"A second place finish is like kissing your sister and I never did like her anyway," said a grinning Fox of Lehigh Acres, FL, next to his Bruno Concrete ride. "It was just missing the wrecks tonight that really counted."
Morris worked a tough field after his 19th position start, but thought he could have gotten more out of his 107 Cat Country ride.
"I normally stay out of trouble, and I feel if we could have had more green flag laps we had the car to win it," said Morris regarding the 56 lap green flag run race.
Wayne Morris of Mulberry, FL in his Smith Dry Wall ride set fast time turning the three-eighths mile track in 15.077 seconds during his second lap qualifying effort for a speed of 89.54 mph. Morris drew number seven for field inversion.
Arnold jumped to the point quickly in lap one passing a pole sitting Jerry Artuso the Goodyear Challenge Series race starting point leader, who slowed on the race start. Tim Russell of Longwood, FL followed in third.
By lap 39 four starters were gone including Jason Boyd, Larry Osteen, Russell and Al Fradette. Three more cars would also depart by lap 68.
At halfway it was Arnold, Artuso and Wayne Morris. Arnold and Artuso were running close until the sixth caution slowed the field quickly again when Artuso went inside of a lapped car trying to make an extra lane after a close running battle out of turn four.
This caused major sheet metal damage to several top runners, but a caution had fallen before the incident and the top three remained the same with Wayne Morris dissenting.
On the restart it was Arnold, Artuso, Wayne Morris, Fox and Mike Hovis.
Another caution in lap 80 changed the top five running order as Morris appeared to go into Artuso causing a seven car turnaround on the back straightaway. The running order was now Arnold, Fox and Steve Dorer.
The eighth caution in lap 89 caused some shifting in the top five. Arnold still led the race followed by Fox, Glen Morris and now Brad May.
Arnold held off a last lap Fox effort to secure victory. Glen Morris finished third, May was fourth and Brent O'Neill was fifth.
The next Goodyear Challenge Late Model Series 100 will be June 21 at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, FL.