BROOKLYN MI, by Don Radebaugh - The crowd stood for the last three laps while the leader and eventual winner cruised around with a near six-second advantage. And not a sole left for the flood gates; not until the victory lane celebration was ...
BROOKLYN MI, by Don Radebaugh - The crowd stood for the last three laps while the leader and eventual winner cruised around with a near six-second advantage. And not a sole left for the flood gates; not until the victory lane celebration was complete for Kerry Earnhardt who captured the ARCA RE/MAX Series FLAGSTAR 200 Saturday afternoon at Michigan Internationall Speedway while an estimated 60,000 fans roared with their unquestionable approval. Earnhardt, the eldest son of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, dominated the 200-mile race with 64 of 100 laps-led joining his father and brother Dale, Jr. as winners at MIS.
"The guys were super today," said Earnhardt. "They got me in and out and everybody was so good and so fast; it just clicked. A few guys from the Pennzoil team and the Bud team and the NAPA team who were all here this weekend, pitched in. I wanted to come here and win it for these fans. I heard them in the car when I turned around and made a pass in front of the grandstands with everybody holding up three fingers. I heard them over the car and all the way down pit road hollering like they were. Man, that was amazing."
After Earnhardt made his pass down the frontstretch with three fingers high in the air, the two-time RE/MAX Series winner headed down pit road where crew members were lined up waiting to greet the Mooresville, North Carolina driver as he steered the black #2, Teresa Earnhardt-owned Kannapolis Intimidators Chevrolet towards the MIS winner's circle. Dale Jr. was first to peak inside the car and offer-up his congratulations in victory lane.
Ed Berrier, who led nine laps in Cavin Councilor's Target Saws & Blades Chevrolet, finished 5.891 seconds back in second ahead of Bowling Green, Kentucky rookie Stuart Kirby who finished third in Bob Schacht's Athens Mobil Speed Park Ford. It was Kirby's third top-five finish in only four starts. Former NFL head coach Jerry Glanville, in the Fricker's Restaurant-Zicam Ford, recorded his career-best finish in fourth. Penndel, Pennsylvania driver Andy Belmont finished a solid fifth in the AOL-York HVAC-Racecakes Ford earning the Thermo-Tec Cool Drive Award as a result.
There were nine lead changes among four drivers while two cautions slowed the event for 13 laps. Both cautions were for single car incidents, one for a spin in turn two while the other was for Todd Shafer who was involved in fiery crash in turns one and two. Shafer's Ford Taurus, engulfed in flames resulting from an apparent blown engine, bounced off the outer retaining wall twice before it impacted the inside retaining wall off turn two where the Ashland, Ohio driver bailed out under his own power. Shafer was then transported, conscience and alert, to the University of Michigan Medical Center for further evaluation and observation.
Old Milwaukee polesitter Jason Jarrett, who set a new ARCA RE/MAX/MIS one-lap track record of 185.000 mph in the TORO Pontiac, led the field to green but quickly fell back with rear-end gear trouble while outside polesitter Blaise Alexander charged into the lead. Alexander led 15 circuits before David Keith, in the CLR Ford, took over the top-spot while Earnhardt, who started ninth, made his move towards the front. After Keith led for 12 laps, Earnhardt powered his way into the lead, one he would only relinquish once to Berrier who raced underneath Earnhardt in lapped traffic only to give it back less than ten laps later. Once Earnhardt got the lead for the final time on lap 85, he quickly pulled away from the pack.
Alexander and Keith, who finished sixth and seventh respectively, were the last two drivers on the lead lap with Rick Carelli, in the RE/MAX International Chevrolet, trailing in eighth, one lap down. Tim Steele finished ninth in the HS Die-Softech Ford gaining ground in the points battle to point leader Frank Kimmel whose day ended with engine failure after 46 laps complete. Mooresville, North Carolina driver AJ Henriksen completed the top-ten finishers in the Fastenal-Engineered Components Chevy. Jarrett, who spent 40 laps behind the wall for repairs, soldiered home in 29th.
Second-generation driver Todd Bowsher was the ARCA Highest Finishing Rookie with a solid 14th place finish while Ron Cox won the Hoosier Performance Hard Charger Award for advancing the most positions, from 34th to 18th.
CURRENT POINTS: 1. Frank Kimmel 2280, 2. Tim Steele 2195, 3. Andy Belmont 1890, 4. Jason Jarrett 1820, 5. Ron Cox 1680, 6. Norm Benning 1450, 7. Chuck Weber 1435, 8. Todd Bowsher 1415, 9. Donny Morelock 1405, 10. Billy Venturini 1260.