DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Feb. 10, 2002) - For the second time in four years, Bobby Gerhart captured Sunday's Discount Auto Parts 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Gerhart, who captured his first win at Daytona...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Feb. 10, 2002) - For the second time in four years, Bobby Gerhart captured Sunday's Discount Auto Parts 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
Gerhart, who captured his first win at Daytona in 1999, led the final 18 laps before the event was declared official on Lap 54 when the Speedway was blanketed with a second rain shower.
The Lebanon, Penn., native, who started his No. 5 Chevrolet in the fifth position, quickly assumed the lead on Lap 2 and relinquished it on Lap 19 when he scheduled pit stop. He regained the lead on Lap 37 and held off Rick Carelli and Frank Kimmel for the victory.
"It certainly doesn't come without a lot of hard work," said Gerhart, who finished second in 2000. "We've been here, I believe, three times before we came for Speedweeks, not only for the ARCA test, but for some Winston Cup testing. I don't think you can get too many laps around this place."
One of the critical calls for Gerhart was not pitting when the race was restarted after a 27?minute red flag just past the half way mark. After pitting on Lap 19, Gerhart said he had no intention of pitting the rest of the way.
"I was right where we needed to be," Gerhart said. "The car was just getting a little quicker and a little quicker consistently and these tires ?? these fantastic tires ?? I believe we could have run two races on them."
Gerhart hopes his Daytona fortune continues as he'll attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500 in the No. 59 Pontiac. He's expected participate in second?round qualifying on Monday and will certainly have to race his way into the field during Thursday's Gatorade 125's.
Kimmel, the defending three?time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion, isn't too disappointed with a third?place finish. He has got his eye on the bigger picture - another championship.
"I thought this was the most competitive ARCA race we have seen in years. Five, six or seven cars in the lead draft at least," Kimmel said.
Tickets for all Speedweeks activities are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.