David Keith Masters Michigan ARCA Warriors By Don Radebaugh David Keith, in only his second ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series start, overcame a faulty transmission, a four tire pitstop near the end of the Michigan ARCA 200 and drove the Jeremy ...
David Keith Masters Michigan ARCA Warriors By Don Radebaugh
David Keith, in only his second ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series start, overcame a faulty transmission, a four tire pitstop near the end of the Michigan ARCA 200 and drove the Jeremy Mayfield-owned Kmart Kids Race Against Drugs Ford Taurus to victory lane Saturday afternoon at Michigan Speedway. Keith became the fourth first-time winner of the series in 1999 after six events joining Bobby Gerhart, Bill Baird and Mario Gosselin in that honor. Keith, in spectacular fashion, lifted the estimated 80,000 fans from their seats when the brother-in-law of Mayfield raced to the high-side of Blaise Alexander entering the third turn to take the lead as the front-runners were coming down to take the white flag in the 100 lap event. Keith raced under the checkers less than a second ahead of Alexander who fought of a spirited late-race charge from 14-time series winner Bob Strait in the end to finish second. Strait, aboard a Mark Gibson-owned JaniKing Ford, posted his career-best superspeedway finish in third with Matt Hutter's Dura Lube Chevy in fourth ahead of Bobby Gerhart's Kewadin Casinos Chevy in fifth. Keith overcame adversity most of the afternoon with a transmission that refused third gear crippling the Owensboro, Kentucky native on restarts. Apparently with nothing to lose, Keith elected to change four tires on a late-race pit stop while most of the front-runners went with outside tires only. "We had nothing to lose on that last pit stop, and wouldn't have won it without the call for four tires," said Keith in victory lane. "We could have taken on two, but had nothing to gain by starting third, fourth or fifth because of our transmission. From the beginning I lost third gear. We had terrible restarts. We knew we would fall back at the end of the leader's line so why not have four tires to give us the best shot we can to get back in front." Keith started the race from the pole after establishing a new one lap track record of 182.140 mph but fell back to fifth at the onset with transmission troubles while current ARCA point leader Baird charged into the lead. Baird led for ten rounds with Alexander and Mike Swaim, Jr. in tow until Alexander raced to the high side of Baird off the fourth corner to lead the next 33 circuits. Keith finally got his mount wound up enough to assault the leaders and swapped the lead back and forth with Alexander through the latter half of the race until the last of three caution flags appeared on lap 87 giving the front-runners one more shot at pit road. Both Keith and Strait forfeited their track position in favor of the four tire stop while Alexander, Baird, Rich Woodland, Hutter and Gerhart led the way off pit road having changed right side Hoosiers only. Back under green, Alexander led and appeared to be on his way to his first ARCA win until Keith, with Strait in tow, used his four new tires to charge his way forward. Woodland finished sixth ahead of Baird in seventh who was the last car on the lead lap. Defending ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series champion and Michigan ARCA 200 champion Frank Kimmel ran with the leaders all afternoon but got caught a lap down during a green flag pit stop while most of the rest utilized a caution period for service a short time later. Kimmel still finished eighth in front of Darrell Lanigan and 1988 ARCA champion Tracy Leslie in Jack Bowsher's Zinsser Paint Products Ford to complete the top ten. Alexander took home the Auto Value Halfway Leader Award while Norm Benning snagged the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger Honors for advancing the most positions, from 38th to 22nd.
Series Point Leaders: Bill Baird 1550, Bobby Gerhart 1420, Bob Strait 1350, Frank Kimmel 1340, Mark Gibson 1130, Joe Cooksey 1110, Bob Schacht 1100, Cavin Councilor 1070, Ron Cox 1045, Dill Whittymore 1030.