Clemons Halted With Engine Failure At Kentucky Sparta, KY - - ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Josh Clemons arrived at Kentucky Speedway Friday morning, pumped about returning to the driving duties of his No. 41 Ford Taurus. Last month, in his first...
Clemons Halted With Engine Failure At Kentucky
Sparta, KY - - ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Josh Clemons arrived at Kentucky Speedway Friday morning, pumped about returning to the driving duties of his No. 41 Ford Taurus.
Last month, in his first ARCA start of the season, Clemons, a native of Indiana wowed the ARCA regulars with an impressive top-ten finish at Nashville.
Clemons, 28 started the two-day show competitive after notching the tenth fastest lap in the first practice session. The United States of Mind Ford Taurus found some more horsepower during the second session, just prior to qualifying leaving the No. 41 team sixth fastest on the sheets.
In time trials, Clemons continued to show talent as he muscled his machine around the track in 32.327 seconds equaling a speed of 167.043. On the second lap of qualifying, Clemons spun his Ford Taurus in turn three, luckily didn't make contact with the wall and brought his automobile to pit road. The first lap was fast enough to hand the former late model competitor the fifth place starting position for the event.
With an impressive qualifying effort, the team skipped "Happy Hour," the final practice session before the race. "We didn't want to take a chance of hurting anything, or tearing up the car," stated Josh.
Saturday brought bright and sunny skies around the Kentucky area, leaving the fans in the stands and drivers ready to roar.
Pole-sitter and defending ARCA champ Frank Kimmel led the 40-car field to the green flag shortly after 8:00 PM, with the action starting quickly. Rookie David Ragan lost control of his machine in turn three and four and collected rookie Brandon Knupp, Vern Slagh, Ron Cox, and Frank Kapfhammer.
Clemons reported to his crew that his machine struggled to find speed at the start, but felt the car was plenty capable of winning.
When racing resumed, Clemons patiently hovered in the top-ten. The No. 41 was biding his time, learning the track, and watching the veterans.
Another caution nearing lap 30 for an accident-involving leader Frank Kimmel saw Clemons shoot from the front of the pack to pit-road for some crucial strategy.
The team felt the competitors could see a long span of green flag racing when racing resumed. Bobby Hamilton's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team pitted the car and they did an incredible job by adding fuel and a chassis adjustment in record time.
Returning to green flag condition, Clemons used patience while trying to march his way back towards the front.
During his mission, the No. 41 began to leak oil onto the speedway, throwing another caution out, and sending Clemons to pit road.
The team believed they had corrected the problem and sent the frustrated driver back on the track. The woes continued, as he reported he still didn't have any oil pressure, forcing him to return to pit road and make a left hand turn towards the garage.
The failure of a valve spring left the team with a disappointing 28th place finish.
"We were hoping to have a good run," said the driver. "The car was good on the start. We took a gamble and pitted early, then a problem with the motor developed, and cost us another top-ten finish," he added.
Clemons, whose remaining ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule is still unknown also commented "I would love to give a huge thanks to all our sponsors. Without them we would not have been here. I only wish the results were better."
Those sponsors include: United States of Mind Productions, Cybertek Engineering, Skyspy.net, Techstardesign.com, Jesse Ballew Enterprises, and Signs of the Times.
Ryan Hemphill went on and scored his first ARCA RE/MAX Series win in a caution filled event. Hemphill, who started second in the race, never relinquished the top spot after Kimmel's misfortune.
The ARCA RE/MAX Series will return to a short track next weekend at Toledo Speedway.