Kansas: Series pre-race notes

ARCA RE/MAX Series Ready at Kansas; 43 Machines Unloaded in the Garage KANSAS CITY KS (4-24-08) -- The gates are swinging at Kansas Speedway where 43 ARCA RE/MAX Series machines have unloaded in the garage area in preparation for...

ARCA RE/MAX Series Ready at Kansas; 43 Machines Unloaded in the Garage

KANSAS CITY KS (4-24-08) -- The gates are swinging at Kansas Speedway where 43 ARCA RE/MAX Series machines have unloaded in the garage area in preparation for Friday's Kansas Lottery $150 Grand.

The event, which serves as a preamble to Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race and Sunday's IndyCar Series finale, offers free general admission to the public. All you have to do is show up.

Practice for the eighth annual Kansas Lottery $150 Grand is set for 8:30 am to 10:50 am local time Friday, April 25th with SIM Factory Pole Qualifying to follow at 12:40 pm. The Kansas Lottery $150 Grand will roll off at 4:00 pm Friday afternoon. The event serves as the preamble for the next-day NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race.

The entry list for the eighth annual event is chalk-full of story lines and stats. >From two-time Kansas winner/nine-time series champion Frank Kimmel to Formula 1 veteran/ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Scott Speed, entrants for this year's version will also offer the most competitive field ever assembled at Kansas, at least from the ARCA RE/MAX Series ranks.

Speed, making only his fifth series start, is part of a four-car team fielded by Eddie Sharp Racing, the same team that fielded cars for last year's runner-up championship driver and SunTrust Rookie of the Year Michael McDowell. Lilburn, Georgia driver Ken Butler III, in the Aaron's Rent Toyota, Westmorland, California rookie Justin Lofton and Ottawa, Ontario's Pierre Bourque complete the ESR foursome for Kansas. Butler, who has one ARCA RE/MAX Series victory at Toledo Speedway in 2007, is running the full season as is Lofton. Bourque, for now, is picking and choosing.

By contrast, current point leader Justin Allgaier, from Springfield, Illinois, is a family-owned, single team effort right out of the family's Riverton, Illinois shop. Allgaier opened the season with a career-best superspeedway finish of second at Daytona and a victory at Salem. Allgaier became the first driver to win back-to-back at Salem since Shelby Howard swept both Salem events in 2003.

To add to the entry list's international flavor is Gent Belgium's Max Dumarey, who will make his second career ARCA RE/MAX Series start, and Ryan Fischer from Surrey British Columbia, entered in a Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet.

Kimmel, who left the no. 46 Larry Clement-owned team to form his own for 2008, has reunited with Ford for the remainder of the year, but is still in search of a primary sponsor to see the season through. Despite Kimmel's current challenges, he finds himself second in points headed to Iowa Speedway for this Saturday's (April 19) race. Kimmel also has the distinction of winning the first-ever stock car race held at Kansas when he won the NASCAR Winston West race the day before the ARCA RE/MAX Series debuted there in 2001.

Matt Carter, son of longtime NASCAR team owner Travis Carter, has replaced Kimmel as driver of the familiar 46 car. Carter is off to a great start in 2008 trailing Kimmel in points by just 20 markers.

Also entered is Roush Fenway Racing Development Driver Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., who comes from the world of midgets and sprints. The team announced at season's start that Stenhouse would be running the entire schedule in an effort to prepare the Olive Branch, Mississippi rookie for the next level.

Bill Davis Racing has also entered a team with Des, Moines, Iowa rookie sensation Michael Annett at the helm. Annett has filled headlines recently with back-to-back superspeedway wins at Talladega '07 and Daytona '08. In five previous starts, Annett has never finished out of the top-10 and has never qualified worse than third headed to the race at Iowa.

Cunningham Motorsports, the series' most prominent Dodge Driver Development team, has entered Monroe, Washington's Tayler Malsam, another from the open-wheel ranks.

From the female ranks, Gabi DiCarlo, of Phoenix, Arizona and Alli Owens, of Daytona Beach, Florida, are both entered.

Add five-time Daytona winner Bobby Gerhart, Westby, Wisconsin's Dexter Bean, Indiantown, Florida's Patrick Sheltra, Stuart, Florida's Bryan Silas, Birmingham, Alabama's Mike Harmon, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's Norm Benning, and Shelby Township, Michigan's Robb Brent and you have arguably the most competitive field ever for Kansas. If not that, certainly the most flavorful.

-credit: arcaracing.com.

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Series ARCA
Drivers Bobby Gerhart , Mike Harmon , Shelby Howard , Michael McDowell , Scott Speed , Norm Benning , Ken Butler III , Justin Allgaier , Bryan Silas , Dexter Bean , Pierre Bourque , Robb Brent , Justin Lofton , Michael Annett , Max Dumarey , Patrick Sheltra , Alli Owens , Tayler Malsam , Ryan Fischer , Gabi DiCarlo
Teams Roush Fenway Racing , Bill Davis Racing