Salem race report

SALEM IN (9-13-03) Canton, Michigan driver Paul Hahn held off a hard-charging Tully Esterline and much more to win the Advance Auto Parts 50 Saturday at Salem Speedway while Chad Guinn, by virtue of his third place finish, wrapped up his second...

SALEM IN (9-13-03) Canton, Michigan driver Paul Hahn held off a hard-charging Tully Esterline and much more to win the Advance Auto Parts 50 Saturday at Salem Speedway while Chad Guinn, by virtue of his third place finish, wrapped up his second consecutive ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series championship.

With five trucks dicing for position directly in his mirror, Hahn, in the Hahn's Collision-Certified First Network Chevy S-10, could never afford a bobble en route to his third career series triumph.

"The truck was awesome," said Hahn in victory lane. "I just want to thank Earl Bonner for this killer V-6 motor. And I also want to thank all the guys for racing me so clean. When you're racing that close, so much can happen, but everyone kept it clean and we were able to hold them off. I knew if I bobbled I was done. Fortunately we didn't. Congratulations to Chad Guinn on another championship. We had a pretty good points day ourselves."

Hahn, who was fifth in points going into Salem, jumped two positions to third in the final tally while Guinn won the title by just 30 markers over Barboursville, West Virginia rookie Brian Rowe.

"What a way to finish the year," said Guinn. "All we had to do was keep the 5 truck (Rowe) in sight and the championship was ours. We raced hard but we also had to be a little conservative. With the points so tight going in, there was no room for a mistake, which is easy to make at Salem. I'd like to thank my parents for the opportunity to run in this great series; and I especially want to thank my crew chief Chuck Carroll for standing by our program. Without his expertise and knowledge with set-ups, we wouldn't be the champions again. This championship belongs to him as much as it does us; and I want him to know it."

Esterline, whose fulltime job is a shock engineer for David Green's NASCAR Busch Series team, made only his third truck series start of the season and won his third Old Milwaukee Pole award for the year. However, it was outside polesitter Hahn who got the jump at the start and led the way. From there, you could have thrown a blanket over the top six trucks as each diced and weaved for position. While Esterline put the heat on Hahn for the lead, Rowe, with Guinn, Mark Otting and Jeff Speakman in tow, were all in a knot racing for position. Rowe, trailing Guinn by just 20 points before the race, finally made a move and got by Esterline for second. However, the caution flag appeared just then for Brandon Knupp who spun off turn two which put Rowe back to third having gone back to the last recorded lap. From there, knowing he had to win the race to win the championship, Rowe stepped out again. However, this time it didn't work and Guinn and Otting slipped by Rowe for third and fourth while Esterline continued to work on the leader.

But from there, no more positions were exchanged among the top-six with Hahn taking the win by less than a length over Esterline who finished second in the Rupp Seeds Chevrolet. That order not only gave the V-6 engine its first victory in Lincoln Welders Truck Series competition, but the first one-two finish for the V-6s as well. Esterline's finish also represented his third consecutive runner-up finish in his last three starts. With Guinn third in the BFI-Northland Collision Ford Ranger, Otting, in the Westfalia Surge-Posilac One Step Ford, finished a solid fourth with Rowe, in the Pate Manufacturing Ford, finishing fifth. Rowe's top-five finish was good enough to claim the second place position in overall points in his rookie season.

Only one caution slowed the event while nine trucks finished on the lead lap.

Jeff Speakman, in the Pennzoil-National Auto Lube Ford, finished sixth with Ron Wells trailing in seventh in the Tanner HVAC-Main Auto Parts Ford. Wells, who started 17th, received the Ed & Company Hard Charger award for advancing the most positions. First time ARCA Truck starter Tim Burkett finished eighth with two-time series champion Robbin Slaughter, in the Ford, trailing in ninth. Jack Weethee finished tenth in the Weethee Builders-Den's Automotive Ford.

2003 FINAL ARCA LINCOLN WELDERS TRUCK SERIES TOP-10 POINTS: 1. Chad Guinn 2460; 2. Brian Rowe 2430; 3. Paul Hahn 2360; 4. Robbin Slaughter 2295; 5. Kevin Reeb 2270; 6. Brandon Knupp 2105; 7. Ron Wells 2085; 8. John Kasmierski 2045; 9. Bill Withers 2030; 10. Mark Otting 2020.

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Series ARCA
Drivers David Green , Brandon Knupp