Howard wins at Kansas; becomes ARCA's youngest superspeedway winner KANSAS CITY, KS (6-1-03) By Don Radebaugh -- Seventeen-year-old Shelby Howard found a permanent home in the ARCA RE/MAX Series record books by way of a huge victory Sunday in...
Howard wins at Kansas; becomes ARCA's youngest superspeedway winner
KANSAS CITY, KS (6-1-03) By Don Radebaugh -- Seventeen-year-old Shelby Howard found a permanent home in the ARCA RE/MAX Series record books by way of a huge victory Sunday in the BPU 200 at Kansas Speedway.
Considering that drivers must now be at least 18 to compete on superspeedways in ARCA competition, the Greenwood, Indiana driver will forever be recognized as ARCA's youngest superspeedway winner. The victory breaks the record for the youngest winner on a superspeedway set nearly two months ago by Kyle Busch at Nashville. Howard already had the honor of being ARCA's youngest winner in its storied 51-year history with his victory on the Salem short-track back in April.
"Being the youngest speedway winner is a great honor, but honestly, I've been racing for about eight years," said Howard. "We got our first (ARCA) win about a month ago at Salem and everyone has been pumped up since then. "You know our program has really picked up since last year. Ernie (Elliott) built us a great motor, and that will put you in victory lane."
The Ernie Elliott motor no doubt helped, but it also didn't hurt his chances when his Mack Trucks-Beck Dodge crew beat Frank Kimmel's crew off pit road during the final caution period inside of 25 laps from the finish. Still yet, Howard lined up third on the final restart behind race leaders Rick Carelli and Jason Jarrett with Kimmel behind in fourth. But Howard's precarious position mattered little. When the green flag dropped, Howard hooked up on the high-side, sailed around Carelli and Jarrett and never looked back, sort of.
"I thought Frank was going to run us down, but I just kept watching my mirror and he wasn't getting any closer," added Howard. "You know the guys had a great pit stop the last time; we got out in front of Frank like we did at Salem, and that's what put us in victory lane."
Kimmel, who dominated all day with 108 laps-led in the 134-lap, 200-mile race, apparently got a set of tires during his last stop that did not behave as well as the earlier sets. "We don't know what happened with that last set," said Kimmel. "Our lap times fell off by three-quarters of a second. It just kept getting tighter and tighter at the end."
Tight enough that it also opened up a door for N. Barrington, Illinois driver Brent Sherman who slipped underneath Kimmel with three laps remaining to finish second in his own Serta Mattress-Hickory Farms-Unitex Ford. It was Sherman's second consecutive runner-up finish. "At the end, I think Frank may have had something happen," said Sherman. "He was pushing up in the middle (of the corners) and I was able to duck underneath him. It was pretty exciting -- being able to pass Frank Kimmel is always exciting. I think it was the first time I ever passed Frank competitively."
In the end, no driver had enough for Howard who finished just over four seconds ahead of Sherman. Kimmel, in the Advance Auto Parts-Pork Ford, held out for third. Jarrett, in Mary Louise Miller's Biomet-Damon RV Chevrolet, finished fourth with Carelli fifth in the RE/MAX Int'l Chevy. Mark Gibson, in the Williams Brothers Lumber Chevy, was the last car on the lead lap in sixth.
Kimmel, who earned his 30th career Old Milwaukee Pole Award the day before, took off like a rocket at the onset setting a torrid pace that would not let up until after his final stop. Outside of Kimmel and Howard, who led the final 22 laps, only Gibson and Carelli managed to lead laps. In all, there were six cautions for 29 laps for a variety of fender-benders and wall-bangers. There were no injuries.
Bob Strait, honored in pre-race ceremonies for making his 200th career ARCA RE/MAX Series start at Kansas, finished a solid seventh in the Hendren Motorsports Ford in front of two-time NASCAR All-Pro champ Wayne Anderson who finished eighth in his first series start. Paducah, Kentucky driver Keith Murt finished ninth in his own Murtco Chevrolet. ARCA RE/MAX Series veteran Darrell Basham, who started 33rd, finished a respectable tenth in his own Schuler's Restaurant-Ideal Paint & Wallpaper Chevrolet earning the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger Award for advancing the most positions.
Missouri native Frog Hall earned the Gladiator of the Race Award after his crew overcame a variety of issues during the race preceded by an all-nighter needed to get Hall's machine race-ready after he crashed in qualifying. Billy Venturini, who finished the race with a badly-bruised car, won the Landrum Spring Hard Luck Award after a cut a tire caused him to wreck near the halfway point.
CURRENT ARCA RE/MAX SERIES TOP-10 POINTS AFTER KANSAS SPEEDWAY (6-1-03): <pre> 1) Frank Kimmel 2375 2) Jason Jarrett 2025 3) Billy Venturini 1900 4) Shelby Howard 1865 5) Brent Sherman 1825 6) Mark Gibson 1785 7) Ron Cox 1740 8) Christi Passmore 1545 9) Todd Bowsher 1465 10) Andy Belmont 1450