Pocono: Race report

Damon's delight is Kimmel's Pocono pain. LONG POND PA (6-8-02) Damon Lusk, in the hunt all day, capitalized on the late-race misfortunes of Frank Kimmel to win the dramatic Pocono ARCA 200 Saturday afternoon at Pocono Raceway. Kimmel, whose...

Damon's delight is Kimmel's Pocono pain.

LONG POND PA (6-8-02) Damon Lusk, in the hunt all day, capitalized on the late-race misfortunes of Frank Kimmel to win the dramatic Pocono ARCA 200 Saturday afternoon at Pocono Raceway.

Kimmel, whose left rear tire went down on the final restart, struggled to control his car while Lusk charged to the inside of the former leader with less than two laps remaining en route to his second career ARCA RE/MAX Series victory.

"Fortunately, I hit my shifts just right and ran it up there pretty hard on the motor and the next thing I know I go down to turn one and no one's on the outside of me," said Lusk. "Then I realized that we could win this thing. This is pretty cool for the whole Dynatek-One Race America Chevy team. They did their job and I did mine. This is exciting."

Kimmel, who finished the final two laps with a flat tire, soldiered home a disappointing ninth after leading 70 of 86 laps. He was the last driver on the lead lap.

"We must of run over some debris through that last caution in turn three," said Kimmel. "I knew I was in trouble when we were coming back up through the gears on that last restart. The car jumped sideways; I couldn't do anything except get off the gas and steer it back straight. We're obviously disappointed."

An accident in turn three with less than ten laps remaining set the stage for the recently-ARCA mandated green-white-checker finish. The race, which could no longer finish under caution, was extended by six laps to secure the accident area so the field could finish the last two laps under green.

Runner-up finisher Jason Jarrett, who was steadily catching Lusk on the last lap, fell short by a half-second as the two raced beneath the checkered flag ahead of Rick Carelli who charged from 27th to third in the final running order in his career-first Pocono start. In doing so, Carelli, in the RE/MAX Int'l Chevy, won the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger honors for advancing the most positions. Soddy Daisy, Tennessee driver Ron Cox, who started 16th in the BuffaloWildWings.com Chevy, finished a career-best fourth with Lebanon, Pennsylvania veteran Bobby Gerhart trailing in fifth.

With Old Milwaukee Pole Qualifying rained out, the field was set by current car owner points giving Kimmel and leading Rookie of the Year contender Chad Blount the front row for the initial start. When the green flag waved, Kimmel charged out to huge lead over Lusk who had quickly disposed of Blount for second. While Kimmel led the majority of the laps, the Jeffersonville, Indiana driver could never quite shake Lusk who, not only wouldn't go away, but also passed the three-time series champion twice throughout the 200-mile race. In all, Lusk led 12 laps.

Four caution periods slowed the event for 26 laps the most serious of which involved Dutch-born driver Michael Vergers and Hesston, Pennsylvania veteran Tom Eriksen. Racing for sixth at the time, the two locked horns in turn one and crashed hard into the outer retaining wall. Neither driver was injured however both machines were retired for the day with extensive damage.

Billy Venturini, in the Dunham Sports Chevy, finished a solid sixth with Penndel, Pennsylvania veteran Andy Belmont trailing in seventh in his Odoban Grease Control Ford. Mt. Juliet, Tennessee driver Chase Montgomery won the ARCA Highest Finishing Rookie of the Race award for his eighth place finish. Mark Gibson, in the Williams Brothers Lumber Ford, finished tenth after recovering from an earlier spin to avoid the Vergers/Eriksen wreck, which happened directly in front of him.

Blount, who raced among the top-five for most of the day, fell to 15th in the final running order after losing a cylinder in the Braun Auto Group Dodge. Outside of Kimmel's proclaimed disappointment, he picked up the Loctite Halfway Leader award.

-arca-

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Frank Kimmel , Andy Belmont , Chad Blount , Michael Vergers , Bobby Gerhart , Jason Jarrett , Rick Carelli , Billy Venturini , Damon Lusk , Ron Cox , Mark Gibson
Teams Williams