Justin Allgaier Earns 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship Justin Allgaier entered ARCA Championship Weekend at Toledo Speedway third in the ARCA RE/MAX Series point standings, 110 points outside of first, but exited the race with a series' high...
Justin Allgaier Earns 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship
Justin Allgaier entered ARCA Championship Weekend at Toledo Speedway third in the ARCA RE/MAX Series point standings, 110 points outside of first, but exited the race with a series' high sixth win and his career first ARCA RE/MAX Series championship after a series of on track altercations eliminated point leader Scott Speed and second place contender Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. from the championship race.
It was a fitting way to end the season for the 22-year-old Springfield, Illinois, native, who recently signed a contract with Penske Racing and will be departing the ARCA RE/MAX Series for the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2009. Allgaier made his career first ARCA RE/MAX Series start in 2002 and Sunday's Hantz Group 200 presented by Belle Tire and Federated Car Care marked the conclusion of his third full year of ARCA RE/MAX Series competition. He was joined on the championship stage by a large contingent of supporters, including his car owner/father Mike Allgaier, his mother Dorothy and his wife Ashley. Allgaier's championship winning season was highlighted by race wins on a diverse combination of racetracks, including Salem Speedway, Cayuga Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway, New Jersey Motorsports Park and Talladega Superspeedway.
He became the first Illinois-based driver to earn an ARCA RE/MAX Series championship since Chicago, Illinois native Bill Venturini did so in 1991. He joins Bill Baird as the only driver besides Frank Kimmel to earn the ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship in the last ten years.
Celebrate Good Times!
How do you celebrate an ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship? In the case of Justin Allgaier and his family-owned team, you celebrate with a seven hour/500 mile drive from Toledo Speedway in Ohio to the team's race shop in Springfield, Illinois. The team departed Toledo Speedway directly after Sunday's race to drive home in the team van.
The official championship celebration will take place at the ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship Awards banquet at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, Kentucky, on December 6th. The event is open to the public and tickets are available.
Up for Grabs...
There is only one time in the past 20 years in which the point leader heading into the final event of the ARCA RE/MAX Series season failed to clinch the title. In 1989, Bob Brevak entered the final event of the year 15 points ahead of Bob Keselowski but lost the title by 65 points to Keselowski. In 1995 Bobby Bowsher and Andy Hillenburg were tied in the point standings heading into the 19th and final event of the year at Salem Speedway and Hillenburg clinched the title by 45 points.
Scott Speed entered Sunday's race 90 points ahead of Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in the point standings and 110 points ahead of Justin Allgaier. Speed was the point leader at the conclusion of the nine consecutive races leading into Toledo. Stenhouse led the point standings for the seven races prior to Speed's tenure at the top of the standings for a combined total of 15 races in which either Speed or Stenhouse were the point leaders at the end of an ARCA RE/MAX Series race event. That's 71 percent of the race season.
The largest points spread in the final championship standings occurred in 2001 when Frank Kimmel won the title over Jason Jarrett by 1,180 points.
Frank Kimmel Maintains Top-5 Streak
Although Frank Kimmel was unable to clinch a record 10th ARCA RE/MAX Series championship this season, his second place standing in the final points marked his 12th consecutive season of finishing within the top-5 in the final point standings. Kimmel has only finished outside of the top-5 once in the last 16 years, posting an eighth-place finish in the final point standings in 1996-his first year driving for Larry Clement. Kimmel competed in just 15 of 25 races in '96, posting three victories among ten top-5's and 12 top-10's.
Kimmel, a 20-year veteran of the ARCA RE/MAX Series tour, has 74 career victories, three of which were earned in 2008. He is currently second to Iggy Katona (79 career victories) on the all-time win list.
Busy Weekend for Allgaier, Townley, Ragan, Schrader
Four drivers competed in race events more than 500 miles apart this weekend, including Hantz Group 200 presented by Belle Tire and Federated Car Care race winner/2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Justin Allgaier, who made his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut for Penske Racing at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Friday night before heading to Toledo for ARCA Championship Weekend. John Wes Townley and his RAB Racing team also competed in both the ARCA RE/MAX Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series this weekend. Ken Schrader and David Ragan raced in Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race before competing in the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Toledo Speedway on Sunday.
Lofton Earns SIM Factory Pole Award at Toledo: Breaks Track Record
SunTrust Rookie Justin Lofton, in an Eddie Sharp Racing Dodge, broke the ARCA RE/MAX Series qualifying record at Toledo Speedway this weekend with a 15.860-second lap around the .5-mile short track, eclipsing the ARCA RE/MAX Series' previous qualifying record of 15.891 seconds, set by Win-Tron Racing's Andy Hanson in May. It was the Westmorland, California native's second SIM Factory Pole Award of 2008. Lofton led 75 of 200 laps in Sunday's Hantz Group 200 presented by Belle Tire and Federated Car Care but finished 12th, two laps down after cutting down a right front tire on lap 171 while leading.
Eddie Sharp Racing earned seven SIM Factory Pole Awards in the ARCA RE/MAX Series this year with drivers Lofton, Scott Speed and Ken Butler, III.
Full Time Series Competitors Fair Well at Toledo
Despite entries from NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers David Ragan and Ken Schrader and competition from local area Late Model standouts such as Phil Bozell and Michael Simko, final finish positions one through eight were comprised of full time ARCA RE/MAX Series competitors, including race winner Justin Allgaier, Matt Carter (second), Frank Kimmel (third), Patrick Sheltra (fourth), Tom Hessert III (fifth), John Wes Townley (sixth), Bryan Silas (seventh) and Tayler Malsam (eighth).
ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship Awards Banquet on December 6th
Join the ARCA RE/MAX Series in celebrating the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series and champion Justin Allgaier at the ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship Awards Banquet at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, Kentucky, on December 6th. The event is open to the public and tickets are available by calling the ARCA home office (734) 847-6726.