Chicagoland: Race report

Blount; picture-perfect in Chicagoland. JOLIET IL (9-7-02) ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie sensation Chad Blount, in Todd Braun's APP Gas Dodge, capped off a perfect week at Chicagoland Speedway with a convincing victory Saturday afternoon in the ...

Blount; picture-perfect in Chicagoland.

JOLIET IL (9-7-02) ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie sensation Chad Blount, in Todd Braun's APP Gas Dodge, capped off a perfect week at Chicagoland Speedway with a convincing victory Saturday afternoon in the ReadyHosting.com 200.

Blount, who was quickest in both practice sessions and won the Old Milwaukee Pole award with a new track record earlier in the week, completely dominated the race leading 120 of the 134 laps en route to his third RE/MAX Series triumph.

"The guys worked so hard on this car, and it really showed," said Blount in victory lane. "Preparation is the key and these guys had that down pat; it was perfect right off the truck. The only thing we did in the race was put on fresh tires and gave it some gas. I'm so proud of these guys; my dad and my new crew chief Patrick Donahue just put their heads together and came up with the perfect set-up. I just feel great for all the guys."

Blount had a near two-second advantage at the checkered flag over Arvada, Colorado veteran Rick Carelli who finished second in the RE/MAX International Chevrolet. However, in reality, with no one able to touch him, Blount's margin of victory could have been much greater had it not been for the nine cautions that waved for a variety of mishaps and accidents throughout the 200-miler.

Through it all, there were no injuries. However, Penndel, Pennsylvania veteran Andy Belmont, who had been running in the top-five most of the race, was transported, conscious and alert, to Provena St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, Illinois for a precautionary check-up after a hard crash on the frontstretch. Belmont, after checking out okay, was released a short time later.

Another caution appeared for current point leader Frank Kimmel who hit the frontstretch wall during a restart triggering a multi-car pile-up that ended the day for AJ Henriksen and Todd Bowsher, both of whom were running on the lead lap. Despite bent, right-front suspension parts and several trips down pit road for continual repairs, Kimmel soldiered on to a solid third place finish in the Advance Auto Parts-Pork Ford.

Trans Am standout Tony Ave, in his career-first RE/MAX Series start, recovered from an earlier spin to finish a respectable fourth in Robert Burroughs Ford Taurus with Jason Jarrett, in the Biomet-Damon RV Chevrolet, trailing in fifth.

Christi Passmore, headed toward what could have been a career-best finish, was running eighth on the lead lap when Shakopee, Minnesota driver Mel Walen spun directly in front of the Pryor, Oklahoma driver who had no where to go when she made heavy contact with the spinning Walen. Both machines were through for the day. As a consolation, Passmore picked up the Landrum Spring Hard Luck award.

In addition, local Mokena, Illinois favorite Bob Strait had been running in the top-five all afternoon until the right-front tire went down on his Ford Taurus sending him into the turn one wall relegating the hometown favorite to a 21st place finish.

Mt. Juliet, Tennessee rookie Chase Montgomery, who led nine laps, continued to impress the troops after turning in another solid performance finishing sixth on the lead lap in his father Ray Montgomery's Ford Taurus. Mark Gibson, in his own Williams Brothers Lumber Ford Taurus, finished seventh in front of Billy Venturini who maneuvered the Windy City Wire-ABC Auto Parts Chevrolet to the finish in eighth, the last car on the lead lap. Deborah Renshaw, in Bob Schacht's National City Bank Ford Taurus, recovered from a flat tire and lengthy stops on pit road to repair the resulting damage to finish ninth. Ron Cox, in Wayne Hixson's Buffalo Wild Wings Chevrolet, finished tenth. As a result, Cox, who started 26th, was awarded the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger honors for advancing the most positions throughout the race.

Ann Arbor, Michigan electrical engineer Mike Buckley turned in a solid performance with an 11th place finish in the Midwest Mall Fronts Chevrolet with Livonia, Michigan driver Brian Conz trailing in 12th in Wayne Peterson's CARB-R-ALL Chevrolet. Columbus, Ohio driver Greg Sarff finished 13th in his own unsponsored Ford Taurus with Henryville, Indiana veteran Darrell Basham finishing 14th. Anderson, Indiana rookie Greg Van Alst completed the top-15 finishers.

In addition to Blount's first-place prize money, the Walkerton, Indiana driver also picked up the Loctite Halfway Leader award money and the National Pork Board Pole-Win bonus for winning from the pole position. Blount's new 1-lap track record of 174.633 miles per hour surpassed the old track record set by Tim Steele in 2001 by better than four mph.

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Series ARCA
Drivers Mike Buckley , Frank Kimmel , Andy Belmont , Chad Blount , Greg Sarff , Tony Ave , Chase Montgomery , Darrell Basham , Jason Jarrett , Tim Steele , Rick Carelli , Billy Venturini , Mark Gibson , Todd Bowsher , Deborah Renshaw , Christi Passmore , Brian Conz , Bob Schacht
Teams Williams