Salem race report

Four-time ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series feature winner Johnny Witham stole the show last Saturday afternoon at Salem Speedway. The Hamilton, Ohio driver led the most laps of the rainy 100-lap feature, taking Cloyes Gear Halfway Leader honors...

Four-time ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series feature winner Johnny Witham stole the show last Saturday afternoon at Salem Speedway. The Hamilton, Ohio driver led the most laps of the rainy 100-lap feature, taking Cloyes Gear Halfway Leader honors and his second victory of the 2001 season.

"The first 40 laps we were pretty strong in the West Park Food Distributing Ford," Witham said. "But then the truck got real skittish when the sun came out."

"I'm feeling alright!" said A.J. Pate, owner of Witham's orange #5 truck. "It's always nice to win. We got looser throughout the race, especially the last 30 laps, but we hung on for the win. (John) Kazmierski gave us a good race, though. He got inside us a couple of times, threatening to take the lead."

Toledo, Ohio's Kasmierski had a stellar showing in his first race of the 2001 season, qualifying ninth and finishing second in the Sonic Racing truck owned by Steve Brickner, past owner of the #4 truck of Chad Guinn, 2000 ARCA Lincoln Welders rookie of the year.

Defending ARCA Lincoln Welder's Truck Series champion Robbin Slaughter took third place in a borrowed truck after a piston broke in the Carmen's Vacuum-Napa Auto Parts Ford during practice. The Columbus, Ohio driver said rookie competitor Eddy Adams came over to him and volunteered the use of his Nemire Enterprises-The Bootless Joe Show-Lakeside Auto Parts Ford to Slaughter and his crew.

"He actually came over and talked to us last week at Illiana about the possibility of us using his truck," Slaughter said. "And we've always liked Eddy- he's good people. We really had no real time for major set up changes. We mainly changed all the shocks and springs with our own. For me, handling differences between the two trucks was like night and day. I really want to thank Eddy and his son for this chance, and for our third place finish today."

Slaughter steered the loaner vehicle through traffic 12 spots from a 15th place starting position, earning Ed and Company Hard Charger honors for the race.

Anna, Ohio rookie standout Brett Oakley took fourth place in the Marflex Products-Tegtmeyer's Trail Sales Ford, his ninth top-10 finish this season. Oakley has only finished out of the top-10 once in 2001- at the dirt track of Crystal Motor Speedway. Dave Reeb, of Pataskala, Ohio, finished fifth in the Accurate Logistics-Avon-Hytek Material Handling-Custom Staffing Ford, while ARCA newcomer Mark Otting, Plainwell, Michigan, grabbed a sixth place finish in the Westfalia-Surge-Prosilac One Step Ford. Greenville, Ohio's Stan Maitlen snatched seventh in the ARC Abrasives-Don's Body Shop Ford, moving ahead 11 spots after qualifying 18th for his best finish this season.

Indian Springs, Ohio rookie Darren Jones ended up eighth after qualifying 11th in the Pusch's Restaurant Ford, while 1999 ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series champion Bill Withers, of Columbus, Ohio, was ninth in the Mannings USA-Hall Electronics Ford. Erie, Michigan's Chad Guinn rounded out the top 10 in the BFI-Made in Toledo Clothing Company-Northland Collision-Coastal Coating Systems Ford. Guinn qualified a strong second, but a broken oil cooler caused him to pit early in the race, shoving him backwards in the final standings.

After qualifying seventh, Fort Wayne, Indiana's Joe Wormcastle worked his way up to third by lap 30 in the Witwer Racing-Kelley Auto Group Chevrolet. Wormcastle got loose around the bottom of turn two and lightly connected with the left rear of the Dum Dum Pops Chevy of Tully Esterline, Pettisville, Ohio, running in second. Both competitors hit the wall along the backstretch, resulting in an 11th place finish for Esterline, and a 15th for Wormcastle. The crash also collected Jack Weethee, Grove City, Ohio, in the Weethee Builders-Amerihost Inns Ford, handing him a 16th place finish.

Old Milwaukee pole award winner Jeff Speakman, Piqua, Ohio, met with disaster during the 100-lap feature, spinning in the front stretch in the Pennzoil-National Auto Lube Ford around lap 25. Speakman, who has tallied three poles this year, finished a disappointing 17th.

The ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series joins with the ARCA RE/MAX car series and the ARCA Auto Value midget series this weekend for an all-ARCA event at Toledo Speedway, Toledo, Ohio. The trucks race a 50-lapper on Saturday, Sept. 15, after the midgets' last chance race at 5 p.m. The RE/MAX cars take to the track for a 200-lap feature on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

Series notes

- The unofficial top-10 in the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series championship points race are: 1. Robbin Slaughter 2. (r) Brett Oakley 3. Bill Withers 4. Chad Guinn 5. Johnny Witham 6. Tully Esterline 7. Dave Reeb 8. Jack Weethee 9. (r)Darren Jones 10. (r)Mark Otting. The ARCA truck competitors will be honored with a banquet at the SeaGate Center, Toledo, on Saturday, Nov. 10, with the ARCA Auto Value Midget Series.

- Consistency is key for current points leader and 2000 ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series champ Robbin Slaughter as he continues to dominate the series this year, having tallied three wins, two pole awards, nine top-ten finishes and six top-fives.

- Only two points races remain in the truck series schedule, over the next two consecutive Saturdays: Toledo Speedway, Sept. 15; Flat Rock Speedway, Sept. 22. The Toledo race will be taped for Speedvision.

- ARCA truck newcomer Brett Oakley set a new track record at Illiana Motor Speedway last weekend, blasting the old record of 21.14 seconds with a time of 21.02 to take the pole. Oakley is currently leading in 2001 ARCA rookie of the year point standings.

- Last year's rookie of the year, Chad Guinn, holds tight to first place on the all-time series winners listing with nine victories. Other current ARCA competitors on the list include Slaughter (8), John Witham (4), David Clay (3), and six drivers with one each: Tully Esterline, Paul Hahn, Dave Reeb, Jeff Speakman, Jack Weethee, and Bill Withers.


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