The top three finishers in Friday's SLM feature: Dennis Strickland ...
The top three finishers in Friday's SLM feature:
Dennis Strickland #06, winner, "It's been a long time since I've won at Toledo (ed. note: he won the championship race in Sept. 2001). I've had a hard time figuring out the track since it was paved. I want to thank car owners Gary and Shelia for letting me drive their car. I'm not going to sleep much tonight. Thank God, my wife, Tina, and my children and the entire crew." After the race in the back pits, Dennis told me as they took the car back to the trailer, about 30-40 people lined up and high fived him as he went back (kinda like they do first time winners in NASCAR).
Michael Simko #10, second place: "We definitely didn't have a second place car. We were lucky, we passed some cars, some dropped out. The car was good for 30-70 laps ... the final 70 I was just holding on." The crew had to do some work as the car broke a rear end gear in practice. Harold Fair Jr #71, third place: "I can't believe it. We had two flats during the race and the right front is flat right now. We'll keep working on it and be back soon in victory lane."
Paul Pelletier broke a cam in his #44 at Flat Rock last week and was in Joe Taylor's #62 for the Gold Cup race. Paul's, Joe's and Vern Okopski Jr all work out of the same shop.
Jimmy Thiel was in Robbie Loving's back up car ... the one Robbie normally drives at Flat Rock. The car was retired because of overheating problems.
Veteran fans remember Bob Keselowski, Dave Simko and Tracy Leslie. Their sons were all racing tonight. Bob's son Brian (#29) and Dave's son Michael (#10) were in the SLM finishing fourth and second respectively. Tracy's son Billy (#6) was in the Sportsman and was involved in an accident during his heat. I talked to Bob and Tracy and I think Dave was there too, but didn't get over to Michael's car.
Howard Kelley continued his winning ways in the Sportsman division, winning his third feature in a row and his fourth this season. He now has six career wins, which puts him in second on the all time list to Ron Allen, 24 career wins in the sportsman division. "That car is really hooked up this year. It sticks wherever I put it. I had on old tires today. There's tons of competition out there so someone's gonna knock me off my streak one of these nights," said the driver of the #11.
Harold Fair Jr's tire problems in the LM feature must've migrated over to teammate Carl Baumgardner (#20) for his feature. Carl was running second but got a flat on the final lap, dropping to 12th in the final rundown. James Hazlett was victorious in the A main for the Factory Stocks, his third of the year. "I just tried to keep it clean out there. I won't be here next season. I have a sportsman for another track, so I'll be there in 2005. I couldn't afford to run the sportsman here, even though I would've like to," said the driver of the #10.
Rick Cousino crashed hard in his heat and was taken to the hospital for a checkup. He was sore but otherwise okay and was back in time to watch the feature.
Congrats to Pat Lesniewski for winning the Factory Stock B main. Jeremy Miller won his first Toledo feature of the year. Afterwards all the Figure 8 competitors drove by him and offer their good wishes. "Thank Auto Value for sponsoring our division. I like racing here. It's a bull ring and it's sure is exciting," said the driver of the #52.
For those of you who heard the announcement that Chuck Pankow's been racing since 1962. That was incorrect.... He told me he would've been all of seven years old if that was true and he's been racing on and off for about 10-12 years.