Ken Schrader holds off Bill Baird for Salem ARCA honors by Don Radebaugh Salem, Indiana, 9-12-99, - Ken Schrader survived a wild one on the storied high banks of Salem Speedway Sunday afternoon as well as a last lap charge from Bill ...
Ken Schrader holds off Bill Baird for Salem ARCA honors by Don Radebaugh
Salem, Indiana, 9-12-99, - Ken Schrader survived a wild one on the storied high banks of Salem Speedway Sunday afternoon as well as a last lap charge from Bill Baird to win the Eddie Gilstrap Motors 200 taking his seventh career ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series victory.
Schrader had a five length lead over Baird with less than ten laps to go when the caution flag flew for the seventh and final time when Joe Cooksey and Robbie Pyle mixed it up on the backstretch setting up a two lap dash to the checkers. To complicate matters for Schrader, Baird had just been down pit road 10 laps prior to get four new tires to finish out the 200 lap contest while Schrader’s skins were nearly 50 laps old. When the green flag waved, Baird planted his Saturn Machine-Spee Dee Pop Chevy inches away from Schrader’s bumper and stalked the eventual winner before making his move on the last lap off turn four. Baird stood the sold-out crowd on end when he put his right front fender under Schrader’s left rear quarter only to fall one length back at the final stripe giving way to the Concord, North Carolina Winston Cup veteran whose higher line carried more momentum down the final stretch. "Baird’s the last guy I wanted to see in my rear view mirror on new tires or old tires," said Schrader in victory lane. "But we were lucky enough to hold him off there in the end. He had new stickers and I knew he’d take an honest shot at us, he just ran out of time. As beat up as his car was, I was a little surprised to see it working so well but he sure gave us all we could handle and worked us hard right to the end. We really had to thread the needle through that crash in three and four, and I know a lot of them weren’t quite so lucky. I want to thank all the fans, Salem Speedway and ARCA for having me. We always have a bunch of fun over here."
Baird, who also won the Talladega Pole award, battled back all afternoon after getting tangled up early on in a multi-car wreck in turns three and four involving most of the frontrunners including Frank Kimmel, Dill Whittymore, Tracy Leslie and Kendall Indiana Late Model Series point leader Brian Ross who was making his ARCA debut in the #67 Biomet Chevrolet. "The wreck up there knocked the tow completely off the car," said current point leader Baird. "But this crew worked all race long to get it back and set me up nearly perfect in the end. Just fell a little short. But we’ll take second. It works just fine on the road to the championship." Kimmel, who now trails Baird by a whopping 730 points with just three races remaining, also sustained significant damage in the incident and kept his Advance Auto Parts-Jacobi Financial Services crew extra busy all afternoon in an effort to readjust his badly beat up Chevy. However, Kimmel’s crew, who had won the Ronald McDonald House Children Charities Pit Stop Challenge the day before, tweaked his machine back into shape allowing the defending champion to race back towards the front only to be knocked down again when the Jeffersonville, Indiana hard charger cut a right front tire and found the turn three Salem cement effectively taking his handle away for good. Kimmel struggled home to a 21st place finish. The incident also eliminated Whittymore, who had qualified third for the race, and Ross, as well as Rick Groetsch who triggered the accident when he spun in his own oil after the engine expired in his Watson-Green Motorsports Ford.
Several cautions kept the players on pit road busy for the duration as everyone took advantage of the yellow flag laps to service their cars while the order trackside shuffled continually allowing several drivers to lead including Leslie, Eric Smith, Andy Belmont and Mark Gibson, as well as Schrader and Baird. But in the end it was Schrader who led the most laps; 104 in all, in an Oakwood Homes Chevy Monte Carlo that he had recently purchased from Winston Cup team owner Andy Petree who had fielded the same car for Schrader to run the Watkins Glen and Sears Point road courses on the Winston Cup tour in past events. Jeff Finley, fresh from his career-first victory on the DuQuoin dirt, was a factor all afternoon and ran as high as second in Ed Rensi’s Dura Lube Chevrolet eventually finishing third two lengths behind runnerup finisher Baird while Gibson guided his JaniKing Ford home in fourth ahead of Leslie, in Jack Bowsher’s Zinsser Paints Ford, who fought back to complete the top five. Belmont finished strong in sixth in his America Online Ford in front of Smith and Bobby Gerhart, who after starting 25th in his back-up Kewadin Casinos Chevy, hustled it home in eighth to win the Hoosier Tire Midwest Hard Charger award for advancing the most positions. Osceola Mills, Pennsylvania driver Tim Bainey finished ninth in Jim Gardner’s Chevy garnering the STP-Prestone Highest Finishing Rookie honors and Cooksey completed the top ten in his Maurtco Powder Coating Chevy.
CURRENT POINT LEADERS: BILL BAIRD 4870, FRANK KIMMEL 4140, BOBBY GERHART 4085, JOE COOKSEY 3875, MARK GIBSON 3760, BOB SCHACHT 3555, ANDY BELMONT 3550, CAVIN COUNCILOR 3430, RON COX 3395, NORM BENNING 3290.