Margins Close at Top of ARCA Racing Series Standings (TOLEDO, Ohio) - Craig Goess (No. 81 Greenville Toyota of N.C. Toyota) drove to ninth place at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway Saturday, achieving a top-10 finish for the sixth consecutive race and...
Margins Close at Top of ARCA Racing Series Standings
(TOLEDO, Ohio) - Craig Goess (No. 81 Greenville Toyota of N.C. Toyota) drove to ninth place at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway Saturday, achieving a top-10 finish for the sixth consecutive race and ninth time overall in the 2010 ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards season.
With the result, Goess assumed the points lead for the first time in his 33-race career. However, it's an advantage the 29-year-old driver from Greenville, N.C. must consider slight, at best.
Nine-time series champion Frank Kimmel (No. 44 Ansell/Menards Ford) led 91 laps in the Berlin ARCA 200, more than any driver in the 31-car field, and finished four positions higher than Goess. Kimmel's 10 bonus points, in addition to the 20 gained on Goess in the race, trimmed his margin to the new series leader to just 10 points, 2830 to 2820.
Justin Marks (No. 32 Construct Corps Dodge), who had led the point standings before suffering transmission issues Saturday and finishing 21st, remains in the hunt in third place, only 30 points behind Goess. In all, five drivers are within 60 points of the lead, six are within 85, and seven are within 105 in what is shaping up as a classic championship battle.
Coulter Leads Four Crown: Joey Coulter's win in the Berlin ARCA 200 was more than only his first win in 33 career ARCA Racing Series starts. The victory gave Coulter (No. 16 Rip It Energy Fuel/Darrell Gwynn Foundation Chevrolet) the lead in the standings for the Bill France Four Crown, the season-within-a-season contest which rewards drivers for success on a diverse slate of tracks. The Four Crown schedule is comprised completely of the ARCA Racing Series races scheduled for August. Remaining Four Crown races are scheduled at New Jersey Motorsports Park (road course; August 15), the (Springfield) Illinois State Fairgrounds (dirt track; August 22), and Chicagoland Speedway (1.5-mile speedway; August 27).
Four Crown points are allocated without qualifying or in-race bonuses, and distributed in the same method as in the official series standings. A race winner receives 200 points, the second-place finisher receives 195, and following positions receive five fewer points per lower position until five points are awarded to a 40th-place finisher, if necessary.
Coulter, in Ohio for a series of appearances this week, spoke Monday about leading the standings.
"I am still completely ecstatic about winning at Berlin this past weekend and didn't even notice I was now leading the Bill France Four Crown," he said. "It is really a neat feeling and we are going to work our hardest and make sure we stay on top of it. My guys have done an incredible job this year and I know we will have fast cars everywhere we go."
The top 10 drivers in the Four Crown standings are as follows: 1. Coulter 200; 2. Patrick Sheltra 195; 3. Steve Arpin 190; 4. Tom Hessert 185; 5. Frank Kimmel 180; 6. Dakoda Armstrong 175; 7. Mikey Kile 170; 8. Michael Simko 165; 9. Craig Goess 160; 10. Chad McCumbee 155.
Three-Time Champ Steele at Berlin: Tim Steele, winner of the ARCA Racing Series championship in 1993, 1996, and 1997, returned to the ARCA scene with a visit to Berlin Raceway Saturday. Steele, 42, continues to reside in neighboring Coopersville, Mich., his listed hometown for each of his three series titles.
Steele continues to lead the ARCA Racing Series with 24 all-time superspeedway wins, and ranks high in overall wins (31, tie-third) and poles (41, fourth). Steele's 16-year-old daughter, Kelsey, is an aspiring racer herself and is scheduled to enter the CRA Super Series race at Toledo Speedway Friday.
Awards for Kimmel: Frank Kimmel's 91 laps led gave him the $500 Aaron's Lap Leader Award Saturday, and boosted his total number of laps led to 10,165 in 189 races in which he has run up front. Additionally, Kimmel jumped from 17th to seventh in the year-long Aaron's Lap Leader Award standings.
In addition, Kimmel led at Lap 100 and won the $500 Messina Halfway Leader Award, his first such honor this season.
Arpin Back in Business: Steve Arpin (No. 55 Mike's Hard Lemonade Toyota) missed the ARCA Racing Series events at Mansfield and Pocono for a commitment to JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, but returned with success at Berlin Raceway. Arpin's third-place finish was his first top-10 result since winning back-to-back races at Salem and Texas in April.
"I'm happy! I wanted to get up there and race and duke it out a little bit more at the end, but we were just too free. We had a really good car in practice and we wanted to keep it a little bit on the free side, thinking it would tighten up tonight, but it actually went the other way and got more free as the sun went down," said Arpin, who enjoyed the services of Kevin Caldwell as crew chief for the first time.
Arpin and Patrick Sheltra battled late in the race, trading impact and positions through Laps 174 and 175 in a hotly-contested duel.
"We're both dirt racers, and with all that (absorbent) on the track in the restart (following the caution from Laps 169-172), you couldn't see a thing going down into Turn 3. The lower you get coming off of Turn 4, there's just more grip. I was just trying to get too much and got down into the dirt. We just need to put some treaded tires on this thing for the next time we come back," Arpin said with a smile.
Strong Opener for Kidd: Brandon Kidd, 18 and of Syracuse, N.Y., made his ARCA Racing Series debut a success Saturday, starting 14th and finishing 12th in the No. 5 Pinnacle Investments LLC/Romano Auto Dealerships Chevrolet for Bobby Gerhart Racing.
Kidd, the youngest Late Model driver to ever win a feature race at Adirondack (N.Y.) International Speedway, drove the first purpose-built short track car that Gerhart's shop has ever produced from the ground up. Previously, the team had used intermediate-track cars on the 0.4375-mile Berlin Raceway surface.
Clair Zimmerman also drove a car for Gerhart, a six-time Daytona ARCA winner, finishing 17th in the No. 7 Chevrolet.
Local Drivers Make Noise: Three Michigan drivers made an impact Saturday, with Brian Campbell (No. 24 Hantz Group/Wolverine Power Systems Chevrolet) capturing the Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell and leading 13 laps before a late crash relegated him to 23rd place. Campbell's car was owned by Don DeWitt of Holland, Mich.
Campbell's teammate, Michael Simko of Clarkston (No. 27 Brann's Steakhouse and Grille Chevrolet), started 11th and finished eighth, his best result since finishing third at Toledo late in 2007. Robb Brent of Shelby Township (No. 36 Orchard Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Dodge) started 12th, fell off the lead lap with a vibration, gained the lap back, and finished 11th to maintain ninth place in the series standings.
Season Highs for Several: Joey Coulter's win wasn't the only season high recorded Saturday. Patrick Sheltra (No. 60 Boatwerks Waterfront Restaurant/Speed Media Dodge) matched his best effort of 2010 (Talladega) with his second-place finish, and Timmy Hill (No. 59 Fuel Doctor Chevrolet) finished 14th, his top result in 2010 with owner Mark Gibson.
Variety the Spice of the Season: With his win in the Berlin ARCA 200, Joey Coulter became the 11th different race winner and the 10th driver to win his first career race in 2010. In 12 races, only Steve Arpin has multiple wins (Salem, Texas).
Though the race winner total is four away from the 15 different winners in 23 races in 2007, the 10 first-time winners in 12 races has tied the record mark of new winners from three seasons ago. Of the 15 drivers who visited Victory Lane that year, 10 were first-time ARCA Racing Series winners.
Brian Campbell's pole made him the 10th different Menards Pole Award winner in 11 qualifying sessions this season. (Qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway in April was cancelled for severe weather.) Nine drivers with one pole each are tied for second place in the season-long Menards Pole Award standings behind Chris Buescher, who qualified first at Toledo and Mansfield.
On the Road: The ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards visits New Jersey Motorsports Park on Sunday, August 15. The 67-lap, 150-mile Garden State ARCA 150 presented by American Red Cross begins at 1 p.m. Eastern, with live timing and scoring and live audio coverage presented by ARCA Nation at ARCARacing.com.