Berlin Full of Highs & Lows For Hollenbeck Marne, Michigan - - Kalamazoo, Michigan native Jim Hollenbeck was definitely looking forward to Berlin Raceway after a rough battle to start his 2004 ARCA RE/MAX Series season. The...
Berlin Full of Highs & Lows For Hollenbeck
Marne, Michigan - - Kalamazoo, Michigan native Jim Hollenbeck was definitely looking forward to Berlin Raceway after a rough battle to start his 2004 ARCA RE/MAX Series season. The 29-year old driver headed to the 0xda6ce oval looking for satisfying results.
The one-day show propelled drivers and teams to be on top of their game in one of the most competitive events of the season.
Before qualifying, 30 cars had one and half hours to dial in their race machines. For Hollenbeck, he had hopes of finding a solid setup which would allow his rookie team to start as close to the front as possible.
In the practice session, Hollenbeck ran a whopping 93 laps, the most of any team. Despite only posting the 18th fastest time of 18.776 seconds, or 83.980 MPH, the team remained confident. The Hoosier tires on the car already had 40 laps prior to the session, and adding almost 100 laps inverting took the handle off the car.
"The car is good, we have a lot of power," said driver Jim Hollenbeck, who carried the EAS Myoplex logos on the deck lid Saturday. "I think the longer we went into a run, the car wasn't handling any better, and I think a lot of that dealt with the tires, we're going to qualify on new tires, and that should help out a lot."
In deed, the new tires helped, they helped a lot. In time trials, Hollenbeck had two laps to gain entry into the starting field. The first lap of 18.3 seconds immediately put smiles on the team's faces, however by the end of the second lap, which saw Jim blister out a spectacular lap of 17.9 seconds, amounting to a speed of 87.888 MPH, the smiles went to a celebration. Hollenbeck's effort was ninth fastest of the 30 ARCA machines, awarding the second generation driver with his best qualifying effort of his career.
"We're fast," smiled the driver of car 2. "We're only three-tenths off the leader, and I've never felt so confident heading into the race. Hopefully we can keep the fenders on the car and finish in the top ten."
The GFS Marketplace 250 was originally slated to start at 8:30pm, however with inclement weather approaching, the track and ARCA officials promoted to start the event at 7:00pm, with hopes of completing all 200 laps.
Local driver, Freddie Campbell led the field to the green flag, with Hollenbeck gunning towards the front.
Under intense pressure from rookie Josh Allison and veteran Mark Gibson, Hollenbeck, sponsored by Spectra Contracting last Saturday night threw blocks at his competitors trying to keep them at bay.
Under the first couple of cautions, Hollenbeck explained to the crew, the car was a little loose, but he was maintaining competitive lap times. On the restart, approaching lap 20 Indiana native Josh Allison punted the No. 2 into turn three, which shot his car up the hill, allowing the 16-year to pass him. Hollenbeck, quickly ducked behind his Dodge Intrepid with more pressure behind him from Mark Gibson, and Chris Anthony.
While running in the 12th position near lap 30, Mark Gibson attempted to pass the No. 2 Ford Taurus down the frontstretch, but he lost a tire and spun almost taking Hollenbeck with him. "That was really close," he exclaimed over the radio.
Back under green, Hollenbeck continued to hover the top-ten. He attempted to find a grove, while talking to the crew about changes on his machine for the first and only pit stop of the 200-lap event.
However, while running 12th, the Hollenbeck Motorsports solid weekend took a wrong turn as smoke appeared from behind the machine on lap 56. ARCA officials black-flagged the Michigan native on lap 57, which sent him to the garage with a rear end gear failure.
"We had such a good night going," Hollenbeck said dejectedly. "We had a good car, we were just biding our time, and there really was no warning before the gear went, but when it did, it was bad. We qualified real well and we had high hopes for the race, but we just can't seem to shake the monkey off our back."
The rain that many worried about all day, finally arrived just shy of the original starting time prompting ARCA officials to call the race just shy of 9:00pm EST, handing the win to five time champion Frank Kimmel.
The series only completed 116 of the scheduled 200 circuits.
The part failure resulted in a 25th place finish, with the self-employed driving completing 57 of 116 laps.
"I'm really happy with the way our team is progressing," continued Jim. "We've had a lot of bad luck this season, but everyone knew that we were at Berlin, and that's a huge confidence booster."
Next up on the schedule for Hollenbeck Motorsports will occur at Chicagoland Speedway in September. The team will once again team up with EAS/Myoplex for the event. The team has stated that it is very possible that they could complete in an event or two before Chicagoland if sponsorship comes through.
"We are going to try and run another race before we head to Chicagoland," stated Hollenbeck, the owner of Hollenbeck Motorsports. "The more we are on the track, the better this team will get, however that won't happen without financing, we are talking to potential sponsors, we'll just have to wait and see what happens."
The ARCA RE/MAX Series returns to Kentucky Speedway next weekend with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The Kentucky 150 on 700 WLW Pole Night is scheduled for next Friday, May 9th. The race will be broadcasted live on the SPEED Channel starting at 8:00PM EST.