ARCA Racing Series Moves to Kansas City for Kansas Lottery 150 (TOLEDO, Ohio) - ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards points leader Patrick Sheltra chose not to test the No. 60 Ferguson Pipe/Jones Group International Toyota in ...
ARCA Racing Series Moves to Kansas City for Kansas Lottery 150
(TOLEDO, Ohio) - ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards points leader Patrick Sheltra chose not to test the No. 60 Ferguson Pipe/Jones Group International Toyota in Tuesday's open test at Kansas Speedway. However, Sheltra - who leads Tom Hessert by 15 points atop the series standings with two races remaining - feels confident anyway before the Kansas Lottery 150, scheduled for Thursday, September 30.
Sheltra won in August at Chicagoland Speedway, a similar 1.5-mile oval, and will field the same chassis he drove in what was his second victory of 2010.
"I'm feeling really good about Kansas Speedway next week," Sheltra said. "Even though we elected not to test, we're still feeling very confident about our race car. We are taking the same chassis that we won with in August at Chicagoland, so I feel our chances are as good as anyone else's. While our mission is to win, the championship is our majority focus. Our mindset is to keep racing the way we have been the past month or so. Hopefully, it will be enough to secure the championship at Rockingham."
Indeed, the ARCA Racing Series' 10th visit to the Kansas City, Kan. track since its 2001 opening will prove pivotal in the championship hunt before the October 9 finale at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway. The role is familiar for Kansas Speedway, which also hosted the penultimate race amid a tight championship battle in 2009.
The 100-lap, 150-mile Kansas Lottery 150 airs live on SPEED at 4 p.m. Central (5 p.m. Eastern), with live timing and scoring and live audio coverage presented by ARCA Nation and the ARCA Racing Network at ARCARacing.com. Frank Kimmel (No. 44 Ansell/Menards Ford) is the only driver in the nine previous races at the facility with multiple wins or poles; he has two of each. Parker Kligerman, last season's leading winner with nine victories, edged Menards Pole Award winner and eventual series champion Justin Lofton in last year's race at Kansas.
The race is the 19th of 20 this year, and activity begins with a two-hour practice at 9 a.m. Central (10 a.m. Eastern) Thursday, September 30. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell begins at 1 p.m. Central. Live audio coverage and live timing and scoring of all events will be presented by ARCA Nation and the ARCA Racing Network at ARCARacing.com.
Sheltra's championship lead is a mere 15 points over Hessert (No. 77 Cherry Hill Classic Cars Dodge) and just 20 points over Craig Goess (No. 81 Greenville Toyota of N.C. Toyota). If Sheltra's been the man to beat on speedways this season with seven top-10 finishes in as many races, Goess is his nearest rival.
Goess won at Pocono Raceway in June and has finished sixth or higher in each of the last six speedway races. He and Justin Marks (No. 32 Construct Corps Toyota) are the only drivers with six top-10 speedway finishes in 2010. After temporarily taking the points lead following his third Menards Pole Award of the season at Salem, Goess finished 13th Saturday at Salem (Ind.) Speedway.
"I like the bigger tracks. Kansas Speedway is an amazing facility. We're lucky to get to race there with some of the other series that go there," Goess said. "Our intermediate package has been really good, so it's kind of like the Chicago race. We ran well there, and we ran well at Michigan and Pocono. We should do really well when we go (to Kansas)."
Hessert has made more of his noise on shorter tracks this season, but does enter Kansas with two recent top-10 speedway finishes to his credit.
"Kansas Speedway is a really neat mile-and-a-half race track. It's very smooth, very fast. It's a similar configuration to Chicagoland Speedway, where we ran well last time out and finished seventh," said Hessert, who also finished fourth at Pocono in July.
"The car we are taking for the race is the car that won Iowa. It is also the car that I ran at Pocono and Michigan. Our goal for the last two races is to simply maximize points, by qualifying well, leading the most laps, and winning the remaining races. Everyone on the team has been doing their jobs well and I don't expect that to change as we come to the final races of the season."
Grant Enfinger (No. 09 Enfinger Racing Ford) has made just six starts this season, but as someone who finished third last year at Kansas and has finished in the same position three times this year, he may play the role of championship spoiler.
Kimmel finished fourth at Kansas last season, and will look to earn his first win since 2008 and build on a career at Kansas which includes seven top-five finishes and 295 laps led.
"Kansas is one of your typical mile-and-a-half race tracks. We call them 'cookie cutters' but one of the things I always remember about Kansas is how nice it is. What a beautiful facility. They've welcomed us with open arms. Our cars have gotten a lot better on the mile-and-a-half tracks, so maybe we can get our win there," Kimmel said.
Mikey Kile (sixth), Joey Coulter (seventh), Steve Arpin (eighth), and Goess (tenth) are all returning leading contenders. Sheltra finished 11th and Hessert 14th last season.