Michigan: Michael Simko race notes

Michael Simko Earns 14th At Michigan Monday June 16th, 2003 (Brooklyn, MI) - - Auburn Racing rookie driver Michael Simko headed into Michigan International Speedway hoping to once again turn some heads as he continues to be impressive in his ...

Michael Simko Earns 14th At Michigan

Monday June 16th, 2003 (Brooklyn, MI) - - Auburn Racing rookie driver Michael Simko headed into Michigan International Speedway hoping to once again turn some heads as he continues to be impressive in his limited ARCA RE/MAX series schedule.

The team did not have the opportunity to test at the two mile oval, as the open test session was washed away by rain. The team was once again welcomed by rain as Mother Nature arrived at the track with the series cancelling the first practice session for the competitors on Thursday.

Friday was the complete opposite as the skies began to clear giving the team the chance to work on the No. 75 Mound Steel Pontiac Grand Prix in preparation for the first practice session. In that session Michael clocked the 20th fastest lap with a time 40.468 seconds transferring to 177.918 MPH. "The practice session was good, we're still looking at some things to try to go faster, I think we'll be okay for qualifying," said Michael.

In qualifying, Simko posted the 25th fastest time driving around MIS in 40.701 seconds amounting to a speed of 176.900 MPH. "That obviously wasn't what we were looking for," said Simko after time trials. "Everyone seems to be slowing down from practice, but the main thing is that we're in the show, and we'll try and get 'em on Saturday."

In the last session for the teams, otherwise known as "Happy Hour" the Clarkston, Michigan native was a disappointing 28th fastest. "We're going to make some changes prior to the race tomorrow, we want to do well for not only the team but our sponsors as well."

Heading into the race on Saturday, Michael Simko was pleased to make the announcement that the team had picked up two additional sponsors for the Flagstar 200. Drive Train Specialists and Motor City Ventilation, Inc had joined forces with the ARCA RE/MAX series rookie in his attempt to score his third top ten finish in four races.

"I am thrilled to have Drive Train Specialists and Motor City Ventilation, Inc. on board for the race today, I hope that we can give them a good run, and prove to them that we're the real deal."

Michael along with 40 other of his competitors took the green flag shortly after 1:00pm EST, with Simko heading towards the front pack. While using patience and avoiding trouble Simko was able to stay in the top twenty all day.

Michael, who also is an avid late model racer reported to his crew, that he was fighting a little bit of a handling problem. He just wanted to get the best finish possible for the team.

Nearing the end of the race, he did a spectacular job driving through one of the scariest wrecks of the day, as six drivers were swept up into an accident throwing up smoke, sending the second generation driver maneuvering his way through the battered cars and debris on the back straightway.

When the field returned to green, Michael was doing everything in his power to try to force his way into the top ten, but would had to settle for a well deserved and impressive 14th place, the final car on the lead lap.

"All in all, I am happy," said Simko following the race. "We would have liked another top ten finish, but this is our first event at Michigan, and we are able to walk away clean and picked up a lot of valuable information, so the next time we tackle the track, we'll be even better."

"I'm pleased with Michael's performance today," said team owner and father Dave Simko. "He kept his nose clean and brought it home in one piece, which was an awesome accomplishment with all the wrecks today. We moved up from our starting position and it was a good run for our sponsors," he added.

While the team has not announced their next ARCA race, they are in hard negations with potential sponsors. "I think we have some good things going following this race," said Dave, who is a former competitor in NASCAR. "The sponsors were impressed with Michael's performance, so we are hopeful."

The ARCA RE/MAX Series will take the next two weeks off before returning to action in early July.

-ar-

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