ARCA RE/MAX Series Drive Smart! Buckle Up Kentucky 150 Full of Flavor and Stiff Competition ARCA Vets Kimmel, Gerhart Clash with Newcomers F-1 Ace Speed, Annett, Stenhouse & more.... SPARTA KY (4-19-08) -- With more flavor than ...
ARCA RE/MAX Series Drive Smart! Buckle Up Kentucky 150 Full of Flavor and Stiff Competition
ARCA Vets Kimmel, Gerhart Clash with Newcomers F-1 Ace Speed, Annett, Stenhouse & more....
SPARTA KY (4-19-08) -- With more flavor than fast-food's finest, the entry list for the Drive Smart! Buckle Up Kentucky 150 at Kentucky Speedway is chalk-full of story lines and stats. From four-time KY winner/nine-time series champion Frank Kimmel to Formula 1 veteran/ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Scott Speed, entrants for this year's race will also offer one of the most competitive fields ever assembled at Kentucky, at least from the ARCA RE/MAX Series ranks.
The event also marks the 16th running of the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Kentucky since its debut there in 2000.
Speed, who will be making his seventh series start at Kentucky, 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 Kentucky. 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 part of 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.
After starting the season in a Dodge, 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's off to a classic Kimmel start in 2008 with top-five runs at Daytona and Salem.
Kimmel is also the only former Kentucky winner entered. He joins an elite list of past Kentucky ARCA winners including Tim Steele, Ryan Newman, Chad Blount, Kyle Busch, Ryan Hemphill, Steve Wallace, Brad Coleman, Erik Darnell and Michael McDowell.
Matt Carter, son of longtime NASCAR team owner Travis Carter, has replaced Kimmel as driver of the familiar 46 car. Carter is also off to a great start in 2008 trailing Kimmel in points by just 20 markers two races deep into the season.
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 Kentucky. If not that, certainly the most flavorful.
In addition, the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series will join the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Kentucky for a same-day, 100-lap main event on the adjoining quarter-mile oval.
ARCA RE/MAX Series practice for the Driver Smart! Buckle Up Kentucky 150 is from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm local eastern time Saturday, May 10th with SIM Factory Pole Qualifying following at 3:30 pm. The 100-lap ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series feature is slated to roll off at 5:00 pm followed by the feature attraction Drive Smart! Buckle Up Kentucky 150 at 8:00 pm.