Pocono: Craig Goess race report

Craig Goess Runs Away with First Career Win in the ARCA Racing Series at Pocono Raceway Long Pond, Penn. (June 5, 2010) - Craig Goess tamed the "Tricky Triangle" Saturday in the Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 200 at Pocono Raceway, by running...

Craig Goess Runs Away with First Career Win in the ARCA Racing Series at Pocono Raceway

Long Pond, Penn. (June 5, 2010) - Craig Goess tamed the "Tricky Triangle" Saturday in the Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 200 at Pocono Raceway, by running away from the field for his first career ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards victory.

The weekend started off solid for the No. 81 Greenville Toyota of NC. During the lone practice session of the weekend, the No. 81 made 20 laps, with the second-best lap time of 54.262 seconds (165.862 mph).

Goess gained confidence from his successful practice going into qualifying Friday afternoon, laying down a lap time of 54.737 seconds (164.423 mph). He would line up third for the race.

With a breeze and cloud cover over the Long Pond, Penn., track, the No. 81 lined up inside the second row in the third position for the 50th ARCA Racing Series race at Pocono Raceway. The Greenville Toyota Camry started behind Frank Kimmel and pole winner Mikey Kile, two of the biggest competitors in the race, and was ready to compete for a victory.

When the green flag dropped on the triangular track, Goess did not waste any time moving toward his goal of pulling into victory lane. Goess immediately passed Kimmel on lap one to take over the second position, and he entered the quest to catch Kile for first. "You are tracking him down," encouraged crew chief Johnny Allen. "Keep doing what you are doing. You will get him."

By lap 20, Goess continued to hold steady in the second position behind Kile and radioed feedback to his crew in anticipation of their first pit stop of the day. The No. 81 came in for their first stop on lap 28, as the crew put on four tires, added fuel and changed the air pressure. The successful green-flag pit stopped put the No. 81 back on the track in the fourth place.

The first caution came out on lap 34, as the team discussed strategy to get to the head of the pack. The green flag dropped four laps later, with only three cars on the lead lap and Goess guiding the field around the tricky triangle. Kile worked passed Goess, as they battled in what seemed to be a two-car race.

In a Kile-dominated race, the No. 25 led 67 of 80 laps, but Goess refused to back off the tail of the Venturini Motorsports car. He relentlessly stayed with the No. 25, aiming for victory. Goess radioed to the crew that he thought the engine sounded strange. "It sounds like a diesel engine," said Goess. "I don't know what is wrong, but it feels a bit flat."

The crew avidly listened as the No. 81 drove past the ESR pit box. Crew chief Allen assured Goess that he did not hear anything that would cause for stress, the car was not slowing down and that it was most likely a cracked header.

The No. 81 came in for the last scheduled pit stop on lap 68, putting on four tires, filling the car with fuel, and adjusting the track bar. As the No. 81 left the pit box, the caution flag came out--a strike of luck for the team. The leaders came down pit road during the caution, putting the No. 81 out in the first position.

By lap 75, the green flag flew, and Goess was focused on one thing--the checkered flag. Getting a jump on the restart, Goess led Kile coming off the front straightaway. Going into turn one, Kile gained on Goess and looked to pass him. As they came off the turn, Kile got a little loose and settled in behind the No. 81 Toyota Camry. Goess increased his lead over Kile throughout the last five laps, as he came to the start-finish line for his first career victory, beating the No. 25 by 1.035 seconds.

Goess competed at Pocono Raceway twice last year finishing in the ninth and third positions. He utilized that experience to capture his first ARCA Racing Series careen win, moving him up two spots into the fifth position in the ARCA Racing Series point standings.

"This win keeps our momentum rolling," Goess said. "We've had some good finishes the last few races. If we can avoid bad luck, it will do a lot for us in the standings. At this point, it's really too early to speculate on that. We're going to go out and run every lap as hard as we can, just like we did today, and hope for the best."

Goess and the No. 81 ESR Greenville Toyota of N.C. team hope to ride the momentum from their victory, when the ARCA Racing Series returns to action Friday, June 11 at Michigan International Speedway.

-source: esr

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Series ARCA
Drivers Frank Kimmel , Mikey Kile , Craig Goess