Max Gresham Wins Pole, Finishes Sixth In ARCA Debut At Salem FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SALEM, IN (April 11, 2010) - Max Gresham continued his torrid streak of top performances rolling to a sixth-place finish in the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA...
Max Gresham Wins Pole, Finishes Sixth In ARCA Debut At Salem
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SALEM, IN (April 11, 2010) - Max Gresham continued his torrid streak of top performances rolling to a sixth-place finish in the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 at Salem Speedway Sunday. It was the first Auto Racing Club of America career start for the 16-year-old Georgia driver and the solid effort came on the heels of Gresham's first career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East at South Boston Speedway a week ago.
"Winning the pole was great, it was one heck of a lap," said Gresham, who grabbed the pole blistering the rough and tumble Salem oval with a lap of 17.266 seconds (115.719 mph) on Saturday. "It's a lap I don't want to make again. I drove it in really hard and I drove it hard off the corner. I was fun, but like I said, I don't think I want to do that again for awhile"
At the drop of the green flag Sunday, Gresham settled into third place allowing Steve Arpin and Joey Coulter to battle for the top spot over the first 50 laps. Gresham stayed on track during a Lap 54 caution as sixth on back came in for tires and fuel.
Without fresh rubber, Gresham slid back in the field to eighth after the restart before another caution, this time on Lap 78, had him heading to the pits for service. There, quick work on a two-tire pit stop by his Gresham Motorsports team kept the Woodward Academy High School junior student among the leaders as he roared off in sixth on the Lap 83 restart.
Gresham continued to run comfortably in the Top-10 as the race again went yellow at Lap 98, just short of the half-way mark in the 200-circuit event.
"It was hard to get going with all the cautions," said Gresham. "On some of the long runs, you could get in a groove. I just tried to stay smooth and keep the tires under the car for later in the race."
Gresham was 10th as the field again rumbled back to green-flag conditions on Lap 103. With just 14 cars still on the lead lap, the young driver battled with Ali Owens, Bryan Silas, Timmy Hill and Frank Kimmel to stay in contention for a Top-10 finish. Out of tires and falling fast in the running order, Gresham got the break he needed when the caution flew on Lap 129 allowing him to come to the pits for fresh rubber.
"We really faded after the two-tire pit stop," said Gresham. "I just burned them off and we didn't have any tires left. Fortunately we got a caution right when we needed it."
Now 13th and the final car on the lead lap on the restart, Gresham quickly hustled his way back into the Top-10 and was eighth when another caution, this one on Lap 148, again slowed the field.
After a lengthy clean up, Gresham was back at speed as the field took the green flag with just 40 laps remaining. Gresham then had a close call as he narrowly missed a spin in front of him on Lap 167.
"Man, that was close," Gresham stated. "I still don't know how I got through that one. I slammed on the brakes, got the car straight, and then slammed on the brakes again. It was crazy."
The cautions kept on coming over the final 25 laps as the field slowed several times for spins and accidents. At the end, Gresham didn't have enough for the win, but after capturing the pole and coming home sixth in his first ARCA effort, it felt just as good as a victory.
"It's definitely a win for our team," said Gresham. "The finish and winning the pole are a huge morale booster for everyone. I think the next time we show up for an ARCA race, they will know we mean business."
-source: max gresham