NASHVILLE TN (8-9-03) -- By Don Radebaugh -- Canadian-born Mario Gosselin played the fastest ARCA fiddle in Music City USA. Gosselin, who grew up in St. Marie, Quebec, tracked down rookie Clint Bowyer in the final laps of the Waste Management...
NASHVILLE TN (8-9-03) -- By Don Radebaugh -- Canadian-born Mario Gosselin played the fastest ARCA fiddle in Music City USA.
Gosselin, who grew up in St. Marie, Quebec, tracked down rookie Clint Bowyer in the final laps of the Waste Management 200 and sped away to victory Saturday afternoon at Nashville Superspeedway earning his second career ARCA RE/MAX Series triumph in only his eighth attempt.
"I just feel great for all the guys," said Gosselin in victory lane. "The crew worked so hard to get ready for this. We wanna run the whole deal here next year. We're on a one-race deal with McAfee Mortgage; maybe now we can get them to look at us for next year. We love this series -- all the different tracks it races. We've got a great program; we just need some help. This was our first race at Nashville; the car worked beautiful."
In all, Gosselin led a convincing 71 circuits in the 151-lap, 200-mile race.
Bowyer, in his first RE/MAX series start, wowed the ARCA regulars with a solid second place finish in Scott Traylor's Sonic Drive-In Pontiac after leading 47 laps. "We had a great car today; I just wasn't too sure about the driver," Bowyer said. "We just wore the tires out trying to stay out front, but what a great day. Just wanna thank the crew and our sponsor Sonic Drive-Ins. We had a lot of support for this race; that's what it takes."
Bowyer was leading with ten laps remaining when Gosselin, on fresher tires, got a nose up underneath the leader off turn two. The two raced side by side for nearly two laps before Gosselin made the pass for good down the frontstretch with eight laps remaining. From there, the eventual winner stretched his advantage to about five lengths at the final stripe.
Shelby Howard, who started eighth, finished third on the heels of Bowyer in the Mack Trucks-Beck Dodge. Lovejoy, Georgia driver Doug Stevens finished fourth in the Jasper Engines & Transmissions Ford with Jason Jarrett trailing in fifth in the Gladiator GarageWorks-Damon RV Chevrolet.
At the onset, fifth place starter David Keith got a good jump and led the first three laps before Gosselin took control. Gosselin led up through lap 59 until he pitted handing the lead to Jarrett who stayed out on the racetrack. Jarrett was up front for 15 laps before Gosselin regained the lead on lap 75. Then Old Milwaukee pole winner Frank Kimmel, who had to start last due to an engine change, stepped in and passed Gosselin for the lead on lap 81. However Kimmel's lead would only last 11 laps before the three-time Nashville winner was forced to pit with transmission troubles. Kimmel tried for some time to re-enter the race but with no luck as his transmission failed for good 57 laps shy of the finish. Through it all, Bowyer, who started seventh, had been stalking the front-runners and replaced Tandy Marlin as the leader on lap 96. Bowyer would hold the top-spot for 47 laps before Gosselin reasserted himself as the more dominant player.
Marlin, first cousin of Winston Cup regular Sterling Marlin, held on for sixth in the final running order in the Tapes & Technical Solutions Dodge in front of Wildwood, Florida driver Wayne Anderson who finished a career-best seventh in the TC Motorsports-Flagship RV Chevrolet. Mark Gibson raced from 19th to eighth in the Williams Brothers Lumber Chevrolet while Jimmy Thiel steered the CCIMNet powered by Catylist Pontiac to ninth from the 39th position. Bill Eversole, who started 22nd, finished tenth in the Think Pink Energy Drink Chevrolet.
Christi Passmore finished 11th after starting on the outside pole, her career-best qualifying effort. Carl McCormick won the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger award for his 17th place finish after starting 31st. The Landrum Spring Hard Luck award went to local favorite Darryl Sage, who qualified third but fell out with engine failure after completing only 27 laps. Gosselin's crew received the Gladiator of the Race honors for outstanding pre-race and pit road service.
CURRENT ARCA RE/MAX SERIES TOP-10 POINTS AFTER NASHVILLE: 1) Frank Kimmel 3695; 2) Jason Jarrett 3170; 3) Shelby Howard 3000; 3) Mark Gibson 3000; 5) Billy Venturini 2935; 6) Brent Sherman 2900; 7) Christi Passmore 2605; 7) Ron Cox 2605; 9) Todd Bowsher 2575; 10) Andy Belmont 2540.