Points Contender, Matt Carter Earns Sixth Season Top Five at Illinois Dirt Track Debut Springfield, IL (08-17-08) ARCA RE/MAX Series points contender Matt Carter scored his sixth season top five finish at Illinois State Fairgrounds Raceway by ...
Points Contender, Matt Carter Earns Sixth Season Top Five at Illinois Dirt Track Debut
Springfield, IL (08-17-08) ARCA RE/MAX Series points contender Matt Carter scored his sixth season top five finish at Illinois State Fairgrounds Raceway by slating the No. 46 Fort Dodge Animal Health/Stine Seed Ford Fusion in fourth place at the conclusion of Sundays' Allan Crowe 100 in Springfield, Illinois.
Carter got the grass roots race event underway by qualifying fifth quickest during Sunday mornings' SIM Factory Pole Qualifying runs by clocking in a lap time of 33.258 seconds; placing the No. 46 Fort Dodge Animal Health/Stine Seed Ford Fusion in the fifth position on the starting grid for Sunday afternoons main event.
"I just want to be the fastest driver on dirt who's never raced on dirt," stated Carter. Much to his desire, Carter received exactly what he asked for.
As the 100 mile/100 lap dirt track event got underway, Carter found himself competitively running in the top ten for much of the race. With just a quarter of the race completed, ARCA RE/MAX officials threw the yellow flag signaling a caution and crew chief Travis Carter made the call to pit. Carter brought the No. 46 Fort Dodge Animal Health/Stine Seed Ford Fusion into pit road for gas and tire pressure adjustments. Amidst the pit road congestion, Carter got hung up in lap car pit stops causing him to lose four to five positions upon returning the No. 46 machine onto the one mile clay oval.
Carter quickly drove back up through the field and tucked himself safely inside the top ten - riding in the seventh position. With the last 20 laps of the race remaining, Carter proceeded to pick off positions ahead of him and held the No. 46 machine steadfast in the fourth position. On the second to last lap of the 100 lap event, the last caution of the race came out and the Allan Crowe 100 concluded on lap 102 with a green, white, checkered finish. Carter brought the No. 46 Fort Dodge Animal Health/Stine Seed Ford Fusion safely across the start finish line to secure a fourth place finish for the No. 46 Larry Clement Racing team.
"We had a good day - finished fourth on our first dirt race," said Carter. "It's better than what I expected we would do. We passed cars and stayed out of trouble. It was a little different but it was fun. We came here not really knowing what to do or what to expect so to come out fourth is really great for us. We didn't bring a pit crew up here so the guys had to fill in and they really stepped up. Dad got in a fire suit and was the gas man for today. The car handled okay, it was a little tight but overall it handled really well. It was the first time I had ever driven that car and the first time it had turned laps. I am really proud of my guys for doing a great job today - just a good finish."
Carter finished fourth in a top ten finishing field of experienced dirt track racers. He was the only driver in Sundays' Allan Crowe 100 that finished inside the top five to have never previously raced on dirt. Carter leaves the Illinois clay third in driver point standings and still in competition for SunTrust Rookie of the Year. Car owner Larry Clement was very pleased with the race results as well. "Matt did a fantastic job," stated Clement. "To qualify fifth fastest and finish fourth was phenomenal. He kept the car out of trouble. Matt was by far the fastest car today out of drivers who had never been on dirt. The crew did a great job on the pit stop and adjusting the car in practice. Very pleased, because today had the potential to be a disaster, but it was just really great - overall very happy with today."
The ARCA RE/MAX series will break for this weekend, and conclude in two weeks at DuQoin Raceway for another dirt track extravaganza. The Labor Day race event will get under way September 1, at 1 p.m. Central for green flag racing action, where Carter and the No. 46 machine will compete for a second season victory.