Shelmerdine shows the way in Charlotte Concord, N.C., 10-6-99, By Don Radebaugh - ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series superspeedway regular Kirk Shelmerdine showed the world that he's for real Wednesday night under the lights at Lowe's Motor Speedway ...
Shelmerdine shows the way in Charlotte
Concord, N.C., 10-6-99, By Don Radebaugh - ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series superspeedway regular Kirk Shelmerdine showed the world that he's for real Wednesday night under the lights at Lowe's Motor Speedway holding off a last lap charge from Kevin Harvick's Richard Childress-owned Chevrolet to win the EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 100. Shelmerdine, a former NASCAR Winston Cup champion crew chief for Richard Childress Racing and driver Dale Earnhardt, had to out-run the technology and equipment of his former boss to claim his second career ARCA triumph in his 32nd start. A caution flag nine laps from the finish for a turn one accident involving Bobby Gerhart and Matt Hutter set up the thrilling green flag, one-lap dash to the checkers in which Shelmerdine, aboard Ken Appling's AmeraParts International Chevrolet, refused the hard charge from Harvick by the mere margin of .243 seconds to earn the right to roll onto the victory lane blocks. "It feels great to be back again standing on these checker board blocks," said Shelmerdine in the winner's circle. "Either as crew chief or as the driver, it's fun either way. I realized he (Harvick) had got by him (Mario Gosselin), but I had to quit looking and concentrate on my corners and doing everything as smooth as I could. You never know what these drivers will do. Racers are racers, and everyone tries to win any way they can. ARCA is what I'm doing now and that's where we've been concentrating everything on, so it's good to get a win on a major superspeedway like this. I'd like to thank the Applings for hanging in there with me and our crew chief Phil Harris for his dedication to the effort. This will give us a little more momentum going into Talladega next week." Both Gerhart and Hutter, who appeared visibly shaken and sore, took their mandatory ride to the infield care center for evaluation, and were released shortly thereafter uninjured. According to Harvick, who was making his first ARCA start, a bout with the frontstretch wall on the initial start may have eliminated his chance for the win. "The guys gave me the car to beat and I screwed up at the beginning of the race and slammed the thing into the fence," said the runnerup finisher. "I'll be the first to tell you I lost the race for them. These cars are great and I've gained a lot more respect for the drivers of this series. These cars have a lot of down-force and this is one of Dale Earnhardt's cars." Gosselin, who started from the pole with a new track record of 181.354 mph, finished on Harvick's tail in third ahead of Blaise Alexander who charged from 15th to fourth in the final running order. Current ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series point leader Bill Baird completed the top five and leads Frank Kimmel by a whopping 740 points with only Talladega and Atlanta remaining on the '99 schedule. Defending champion Kimmel recovered spectacularly from a series of electrical problems throughout the week that forced the former Lowe's Motor Speedway winner to take a past champions provisional starting position in 41st to post a sixth place finishing position. Mike Swaim, Jr., finished seventh from the 30th starting position ahead of ASA veteran Joe Nott, who in his first ARCA start, finished eighth. Andy Belmont, also on a provisional, raced from the 38th starting position to finish ninth in front of Rock Harris, also in his first ARCA start, who completed the top ten. There were six lead changes among five drivers that saw Gosselin, Darrell Lanigan, David Keith, Carl Long and Shelmerdine, who led the most laps in the 67 lap event, spend time in the top-spot while 3 cautions slowed the event for a total of 24 laps. Lanigan was shaping up to be a serious contender for the win until suspension problems dropped the dirt late model specialist to 34th in the final running order.
CURRENT ARCA POINT LEADERS: BILL BAIRD 5080, FRANK KIMMEL 4340, BOBBY GERHART 4165, JOE COOKSEY 3995, MARK GIBSON 3900, ANDY BELMONT 3735, BOB SCHACHT 3610, RON COX 3525, CAVIN COUNCILOR 3515, NORM BENNING 3390.