Like his father and grandfather before him, Jason Jarrett made his own mark in big-time motorsports with a huge victory Saturday at Kansas Speedway. With an estimated 45,000 in attendance for the grand opening, the third-generation Hickory, North...
Like his father and grandfather before him, Jason Jarrett made his own mark in big-time motorsports with a huge victory Saturday at Kansas Speedway. With an estimated 45,000 in attendance for the grand opening, the third-generation Hickory, North Carolina rookie overhauled veteran Frank Kimmel in the final laps of the inaugural BPU 200 to take his career-first ARCA RE/MAX Series triumph in only his ninth attempt. Jarrett, who started seventh, lost the lead to Kimmel with less than ten laps remaining but grabbed it back for good less than four laps from the finish with a stellar outside pass heading into turn one. Although Jarrett was uneasy about checking the mirror, the son of 1999 Winston Cup champion Dale Jarrett and grandson of two-time NASCAR Grand National champion Ned Jarrett, had no problem eyeing-up the impressive crowd from atop his Damon RV Chevrolet in victory lane while the audience roared with its approval. Kimmel, who won the thrilling NASCAR Winston West 100-mile race earlier that day, trailed Jarrett at the final stripe by just over two seconds to finish second thereby getting squeezed out of a $15,000 bonus up for grabs for any driver who could win both events. Outside polesitter Tim Steele finished a close third in the HS Die-Softech Ford with veteran Ed Berrier, in the Target Saws & Blades Chevrolet, trailing in fourth. Penndel, Pennsylvania driver Andy Belmont completed the top-five finishers in his AOL-York-Racecakes Ford earning the Thermo-Tec Cool Drive award for his efforts.
Andy Belmont rushed back to his race shop in Bristol Township, Pennsylvania mumbling under his breath about the demands on an owner/operator. He had to clean up from the Kansas race while preparing two cars for next weekend's race at Michigan. "I left Kansas right after the race and got back to the shop on Sunday where we waited for the hauler to get here. As soon it arrived we unloaded the car and pulled the engine to replace a burnt out pilot bearing. In addition, we had to pull the head on Kevin (Belmont's) car to get a crack welded up. All our work had to be completed by Wednesday so we could load up and get on the road to Michigan.'
Andy talked about the Kansas race. "We had a good run and were in a position to win. It was the best that we have ever been. On one of the late restarts, I missed a shift because of the burnt out pilot bearing which messed up the shifter. I had really strong lap times so we took a gamble and changed only two tires on our last pit stop to gain track position and get up front. It worked for a while but those who had four fresh tires eventually ran me down. Jarrett hit me going by putting me back to third place with 8 laps to go and Tim Steele got a nose under me for another place. I wasn't going to let him wreck me so I had to let him go "
Andy is fourth in the ARCA RE/MAX points. "If we had pulled off a top five at Charlotte and one at Salem, we have 80 more points right now and be ahead of Jason (Jarrett). It gives you an idea of how competitive a series ARCA is right now.
by Rich Romer