DuQuoin, IL, 9-3-00, by Don Radebaugh â€“ Phenix City, Alabamaâ€™s Billy Thomas left the wounded ARCA warriors scratching their heads Sunday afternoon at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds. Thomas, who made his one and only appearance of the year, ...
DuQuoin, IL, 9-3-00, by Don Radebaugh – Phenix City, Alabama’s Billy Thomas left the wounded ARCA warriors scratching their heads Sunday afternoon at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds.
Thomas, who made his one and only appearance of the year, survived deteriorating track conditions, the brutal Illinois summer heat, and through it all, out-ran ARCA’s best to win the 18th annual Southern Illinois 100. And while few teams rolled their machines back on their haulers straight, Thomas rolled the JW Miller Land & Timber Chevrolet into victory lane with nary a scratch.
“This is a brand new car built from the ground up,” said Thomas in victory lane. “It worked perfectly in the race. We had a few brake problems in practice and qualifying, but we worked that out and fortunately it worked out for us. It was a tough day out there, with all the cautions and reds; I don’t believe I’ve ever been that hot in a racecar before and I’m glad it’s over. But our strategy still seems to work well for us here, and it’s the same every time. Get up front and stay there and miss all the wrecks.”
And that’s exactly what Thomas did leading 72 of the 100 laps to record his career fourth ARCA triumph at DuQuoin and fifth overall. His closest pursuer in the end was point leader Frank Kimmel who crossed the final stripe in second more than five seconds away in the Advance Auto Parts-Pork White Meat Chevy while Bill Baird finished third. Centralia, Illinois hometown favorite Joe Cooksey gave his fans plenty to cheer about with a fourth place finish in the Maurtco Powder Coating Chevy after he won the Talladega Pole Award, his career-first ARCA pole. Brian Ross, in the Biomet Chevrolet, finishing fifth.
Soaring heat pushed the thermometer close to the 100 degree mark while a very dusty DuQuoin, plagued by new clay that didn’t adhere well in turn three, helped turn the day into a demolition derby for many. Through it all, eleven cautions slowed the event for 55 laps while the red flag stopped it twice to allow track workers time to water and repair the turn three surface. The worst of it occurred on lap 31 when visibility went away in a hurry spawning a ten-car melee involving several contenders including Tim Steele, Eric Smith, Andy Belmont, Roger Blackstock and Chuck Weber to name a few. “You couldn’t see a thing down in three at times,” said Weber. “We were driving in blind. It’s nobody’s fault. They’ve made so many great improvements to the track. The clay just probably needed a little more time to cure. We’ll have better luck next time.” And while there were no injuries, there were plenty of bent racecars to go around, some of which were, arguably, bent for good. Problems continued throughout the afternoon in turn three up through lap 80 whittling the field away even more before things settled down enough to finish the last 20 laps under green.
Ed Dixon, in Ken Schrader’s Chevy, finished sixth ahead of Norm Benning who steered his SoBe Healthy Refreshments Chevy home in seventh. Richard Hampton was tough all afternoon in his Big O Tires-Texaco Chevy and finished eighth after starting 25th. Hampton’s impressive showing also landed the Seymour, Indiana driver the Thermo-Tec Cool Drive Award. Ron Cox finished ninth in the John Dunn Trucking Chevy while Jerry Coffman, making his career-first ARCA start in a team-car to Cox, performed well with a 10th place finish, the first car one lap down.
Thomas also won the Auto Value Halfway Leader Award while Ross was credited with the Prestone Highest Finishing Rookie honors. Randy VanZant, who finished 13th after starting 31st, won the Hoosier Tire Midwest Hard Charger Award for advancing the most positions while Weber won the Landrum Spring Hard Luck Award as a consolation to his troubles.
CURRENT TOP-10 POINTS: Frank Kimmel 4000, Bob Strait 3730, Tim Steele 3670, Brian Ross 3550, Bobby Gerhart 3445, Mark Gibson 3395, Shawna Robinson 3270, Norm Benning 3215, Andy Belmont 3110, Joe Cooksey 3070.
2000 ARCA BONDO/MAR-HYDE SERIES EVENT #16 DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, DuQuoin IL, 9-3-00 Official Results, Southern Illinois 100
FIN STR NO DRIVER/RESIDENCE TEAM & CAR LAPS STATUS
1 2 22 Billy Thomas/Phenix City AL JW Miller Land & Timber Chevrolet 100 Running 2 17 46 Frank Kimmel/Jeffersonville IN Advance Auto Parts-Pork White Meat Chevrolet 100 Running 3 11 52 Bill Baird/Sturgis KY Jan Baird Motorsports Chevrolet 100 Running 4 1 51 Joe Cooksey/Centralia IL Maurtco Motorsports Chevrolet 100 Running 5 9 67 Brian Ross/Plymouth IN Biomet Chevrolet 100 Running 6 6 99 Ed Dixon/Washington MO Ken Schrader Racing Chevrolet 100 Running 7 8 84 Norm Benning/Pittsburgh PA SoBe Healthy Refreshments Chevrolet 100 Running 8 25 0 Richard Hampton/Seymour IN Big O Tires-Texaco Chevrolet 100 Running 9 13 23 Ron Cox/Soddy Daisy TN John Dunn Trucking Chevrolet 100 Running 10 14 56 Jerry Coffman/Soddy Daisy TN Hixson Construction Chevrolet 99 Running 11 15 30 Mark Voigt/Marine IL Team Stealth Chevrolet 99 Running 12 22 5 Bobby Gerhart/Lebanon PA Greektown Casinos Chevrolet 99 Running 13 31 7 Randy VanZant/Brookville OH Mike's Auto Body Pontiac 99 Running 14 21 47 Jon Herb/Indianapolis IN WorldBestBuy.com Ford 98 Running 15 5 66 Bob Strait/Mokena IL Dauphin Tech Chevrolet 93 Engine 16 19 79 Charlie Schaefer/Carlyle IL Schaefer Racing Chevrolet 90 Running 17 4 59 Mark Gibson/Winder GA Cornwell Tools Chevrolet 85 Running 18 32 6 Tim Mitchell/Fayetteville TN Nealco-Reid's Pontiac 83 Running 19 24 8 Shawna Robinson/Des Moines IA Kmart-Pacific Garden Ford 83 Running 20 20 10 Curt Piercy/Normal IL GA Rich & Sons Mechanical Chevrolet 79 Oil Pump 21 28 16 Tim Steele/Coopersville MI HS Die-Softech Ford 79 Engine 22 7 27 Doug Keller/St Joseph MO Keller Motorsports Pontiac 74 Rear End 23 27 21 Todd Bowsher/Springfield OH Jack Bowsher Racing Ford 73 Accident 24 12 48 Damon Lusk/Spartanburg SC Reliance Tool & Manufacturing Ford 60 Rear End 25 37 74 Karla Lampe/Carroll IA Carroll Refuse Chevrolet 57 Engine 26 26 19 Cavin Councilor/Naples FL Target Saws & Blades-Earthlink Chevrolet 55 Accident 27 10 50 Andy Belmont/Penndel PA America Online-York Heating & AC Ford 39 Accident 28 23 98 David Boggs/Rock Hill SC Power Alliance Pontiac 32 Oil Leak 29 18 4 Roger Blackstock/Shelby Twp MI Mopar Performance Dodge 32 Accident 30 3 9 Eric Smith/Bloomington IL Southtown Motorsports Ford 31 Accident 31 34 42 Scott Kuhn/Thomasville NC Sprint-Adam Petty Memorial Fund Pontiac 31 Accident 32 30 24 Chuck Weber/Mesquite TX Cardinal Tool Company Chevrolet 31 Accident 33 33 41 Rich Hayes/Springfield IL Fritz & Kristie Pfister-RE/MAX Pontiac 31 Accident 34 16 38 Tom Eriksen/Hesston PA Eriksen Well Drilling Chevrolet 24 Electrical 35 35 75 Tony Quarles/Harrisburg NC Bob Schacht Ford 18 Engine 36 36 32 George Glick/Columbus OH Valley Crossing Ford 13 Accident 37 29 39 Alan Bigelow/Winchester IN George Electric Chevrolet 7 Vibration 06 Dennis English/Benton KY Falconite Pontiac DNS
TALLADEGA POLE AWARD: Joe Cooksey 35.599 (101.126 mph) MRGN OF VIC: 5.141 seconds CAUTIONS: 11 for 55 laps TIME OF RACE: 1:55:35 AVG SPEED: 51.910 mph LAP LEADERS: Cooksey 1-12 (12); Strait 13-16 (4); Cox 17-18 (2); Kimmel 19-20 (2); Keller 21-28 (8); Thomas 29-100 (72)