Illiana: Race report

Illiana falls to "The Mighty Guinn" Schererville, IN (5-26-02) Erie, Michigan driver Chad Guinn grabbed career win number 11 in the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series event on Sunday night at Illiana Motor Speedway. Nearly losing the lead on the...

Illiana falls to "The Mighty Guinn"

Schererville, IN (5-26-02) Erie, Michigan driver Chad Guinn grabbed career win number 11 in the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series event on Sunday night at Illiana Motor Speedway. Nearly losing the lead on the very last lap, Guinn surged forward just in time off of turn four to win the thrilling MAR-FLEX Waterproofing Products 100 and vindicate his Illiana disappointment of 2001.

Old Milwaukee Pole Award Winner Guinn took rookie of the year honors in the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series in 2000, then took third place overall in 2001, narrowly missing the championship by a mere 105 points. Last year, Guinn was running second at Illiana in the BFI Waste Systems-Northland Collision Ford when his motor broke.

"But this makes up for it," Guinn said. "This year, we're trying for the championship again. We've just been so close these past couple of years."

Guinn nearly missed taking home the checkered flag this year at Schererville, feeling the pressure from second place finisher Phil Bozell in the white #21 truck.

"That 21 truck, he gave me a good run there at the end," Guinn said. "He kept running me harder than what I wanted to run the truck. I burned up the rear tires and we got looser and looser the longer we ran. I knew he was going to be there right at the end, and he was. If we had to go one more lap, he would've got me."

Bozell, of Portage, Michigan, is a regular in the Super Late Model class at Kalamazoo Speedway along with his father. Although he may make more appearances in ARCA Lincoln Welders Series' events behind the wheel of Bob Stoner's white #21, the young driver is not planning on running a full season with the 2002 trucks.

Piqua, Ohio's Jeff Speakman in the Pennzoil-National Auto Lube Ford jumped six spots to snag third place after qualifying ninth. He was followed closely by fellow Ohioans Darren Jones in the Tidewater Marketing-John Pierce Plumbing Ford at fourth and Eddy Adams in the Nemire Enterprises-Bootless Joe Show Ford at fifth. Adams piloted his Ranger through traffic all the way from 17th on the starting grid, to earn Ed & Company Hard Charger honors for his effort. Also qualifying back in the pack (15th), Mark Otting, of Plainwell, Michigan, took a stellar sixth place finish in the Posilac 1 Step-Westfalia-Surge Ford.

With the help of crew chief Bob Beringer, Toledo, Ohio's own John Kasmierski finished seventh in the Pat & Dandy's Sports Bar-Mississippi Barbecue Sauce Ford. Sidney, Ohio rookie Brandon Knupp grabbed eighth in the Mark Knupp Muffler & Tire Ford, while the #98 Accurate Logistics Ford Ranger of Kevin Reeb was ninth. Last year's Illiana event winner Jack Weethee, rounded out the top-10 finishers in the Weethee Builders-Den's Automotive Ford.

Last year's rookie of the year Brett Oakley ended up a disappointing 11th after experiencing some engine trouble with the #91 MAR-FLEX Products Ford. Not only is Oakley a force behind the wheel, he is also the president of two-time Illiana ARCA event sponsor, MAR-FLEX Products, based out of Middletown, Ohio.

"MAR-FLEX is excited to sponsor this Chicago-area ARCA race at Illiana," Oakley said. "But last year we got the track record and finished third. This year, we didn't do as well. But I guess if we just finished the race, we did fine. We're definitely here to run for the points. So far we've got off to a bad start these first two races, but we're going to get them next weekend."

The ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series makes the trek to West Virginia's only paved track, historical Ona Speedway, for a 100-lap event. The 3/8-mile oval is a brand new venue for the traveling stock truck series.

Series Notes:

-With his victory at Illiana on Sunday, Chad Guinn (pronounced "gwin") increased his total to 11 victories in the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series All-Time Winners listing (since the series' inception in 1999). Active drivers included are Guinn (11), Robbin Slaughter (8), and seven with one each: Tully Esterline, Paul Hahn, John Kasmierski, Jeff Speakman, Jack Weethee, Joe Wormcastle, Bill Withers.

-The official points standings in the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series championship points race are: 1. Chad Guinn (475); 2. Darren Jones, Joe Wormcastle (400, tie); 4. Paul Hahn (390); 5. Eddy Adams, Steve Christman, Brandon Knupp, Mark Otting, Kyle Witwer, (385, tie); 10. Robbin Slaughter, Jeff Speakman (375, tie); 12. Brett Oakley (370); 13. Pete Wormcastle (360); 14. Kevin Reeb (350); 15. John Kasmierski (340); 16. Jack Weethee (330); 17. Bill Withers (325); 18. Tully Esterline (315); 19. Phil Bozell (220); 20. Jeff Wichmann (135); 21. Stan Maitlen, Jeff White (130).

-Based out of Middletown, Ohio, Illiana event sponsor MAR-FLEX Products is currently coming out with a new window well product for a lower-level living space. "MAR-FLEX has been studying lower-level living spaces for years, and we've figured out how to build these living spaces at the third of the cost it takes to build uppers," said company president and ARCA competitor Brett Oakley. "Therefore you can get a bigger house for less money. That's what Mar-Flex Products is all about. Below-grade waterproofing, window wells, anything we can do to make a safer basement." MAR-FLEX has been supplying quality products at competitive pricing for residential, commercial and institutional use since 1984. To learn more about MAR-FLEX, check out www.mar-flex.com .

-The 2002 rookie chase tightens with each race . . . current unofficial rookie points standings are as follows: 1. Brandon Knupp, Steve Christman (385, tie), 3. Kevin Reeb (350).

-Although Guinn stole the pole with a stellar time of 21.298 seconds (84.12 mph) around the Illiana half-mile on Sunday, last year's ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series rookie of the year Brett Oakley still holds the track record at Illiana with a time of 21.02.

-The next track on the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series schedule, Ona Speedway, has quite a history. Located just 10 minutes from Huntington, West Virginia's only paved track opened in 1963. Check out Ona's "checkered" past at www.fortunecity.com/silverstone/pontiac/452/ona.html

-Three of the 2002 ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series competitors will make an appearance at a car dealership in nearby Barbourville, West Virginia, on Friday night before the race from 6 to 9 pm. The #91 MAR-FLEX Products truck of Brett Oakley, the #10 Rev Up Racing truck of Tully Esterline, and the #11 truck of West Virginia's own Norman Weaver will all be at Nitro Dodge off of exit 20.

-arca-

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Series ARCA
Drivers Brandon Knupp