Salem II: Michael Simko preview

After Strong Chicago Run; Simko Looking Forward To Salem Salem, Indiana - - After posting a seasons best seventh place finish at Chicagoland Speedway last weekend, Michael Simko along with his Auburn Racing team jolt into Salem Speedway this ...

After Strong Chicago Run; Simko Looking Forward To Salem

Salem, Indiana - - After posting a seasons best seventh place finish at Chicagoland Speedway last weekend, Michael Simko along with his Auburn Racing team jolt into Salem Speedway this weekend looking to vault to their first top five finish of the season, and career.

This weekend will mark Simko's last hurrah of the season. The team has competed in six events this season, posting two-top ten finishes (tenth, Lowes Motor Speedway, seventh, Chicagoland Speedway).

The team only has one finish outside the top-twenty once this year occurring at Toledo Speedway earlier this month after a mechanical failure (he was running in the top five at the time of the incident) forced the 23-year old "young gun" away from a potential career best day.

"Toledo was a real disappointment, but I'm looking forward to returning to short track racing," said the driver.

There is good reason why the Clarkston, Michigan native is looking forward to Salem Speedway. Why? He's never finished outside the top-ten there in two previous starts. In 2002, Simko motored his machine to an impressive sixth place finish, an ARCA career best, followed by a solid tenth in the spring event last season.

With Simko eyeing the trophy in the ARCA Fall Classic, he's already feeling the excitement. "We're going to Salem looking to close our part time ARCA season on a high note. We felt we had a great run at Chicagoland, and, even though we had problems at Toledo, we felt we had one of the best cars there, too," explained Simko who will compete under the lights at Salem for the first time Saturday night.

Simko, a competitive and avid late model driver continued "I've been to Salem only twice previously, but I've had great results. I really like the track, I think it's a great fit for me, really fast. Hopefully we can find the right combination and come out with another great finish."

In one of the greatest fields expected in Salem history, the steelworker by trade knows the key is starting as close to the front as possible. "If we can go out and run like we did at Toledo this weekend, we should have no problem avoiding the eye of the storm (mid-pack)," stated Simko. "Usually on a short track it's about survival, we've had both good luck and bad luck in our short track program, but I'm looking to push past that sixth place finish and roll into victory lane."

Mound Steel & Supplies, and Diamond Racing will return as the sponsors of Simko's No. 75 Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the 21st event of the season. "A huge thanks to all my sponsors," continued Michael.

"They have stuck behind us all season, and I hope that we're able to close the season out for them with a (good) bang!," he chuckled.

Calling the shots once again from the pits is Michael's father, Dave. Dave Simko, a former competitor in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, and the now NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, hopes to maneuver his son through one of the most exciting events of the season and propel this limited schedule team into victory lane for the first time.

"Having my dad as the crew chief is a real beneficiary," said the third-generation driver. "My dad knows what he's doing, the communication is there, and I think if we have some luck on our side, we can prove that this race team is a factor everywhere we go."

The team is actively seeking sponsorship for the remainder of their 2004 ARCA season, while looking ahead to 2005. Sponsorship inquires are encouraged to contact Auburn Racing at chippr2310@aol.com or 248-431-0111

The Eddie Gilstrap Motors ARCA Fall Classic by Advance Auto Parts is the 21st of 22 events on the 2004 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule. This weekend will mark the second time the teams have competed at Salem Speedway this season. First round practice is on tap Saturday afternoon with qualifying also on the agenda that afternoon, with the race set to take the green flag later that night. The Speed Channel will broadcast the race with same-day coverage starting at 10:30 PM EST.

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Series ARCA