ARCA Racing Series Standings Showcase Record Competitiveness (TOLEDO, Ohio) - One key statistic promoting the increased competitiveness of the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards is the total of 11 race winners - 10 of them ...
ARCA Racing Series Standings Showcase Record Competitiveness
(TOLEDO, Ohio) - One key statistic promoting the increased competitiveness of the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards is the total of 11 race winners - 10 of them first-time winners - in 12 events this season. Impressive as that story is, it may not be the most telling.
With eight races remaining in 2010, Craig Goess (No. 81 Greenville Toyota of N.C. Toyota) leads Frank Kimmel (No. 44 Ansell/Menards Ford) at the top of the point standings, 2830 to 2820, a slim 10-point margin. However, Kimmel, who is in pursuit of his record 10th series championship, is far from the only driver in the immediate hunt for the title.
Justin Marks (No. 32 Construct Corps Dodge), who has led the points alone after five of 12 races and shared the lead after another, fell to third place after the August 7 race at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway, but sits just 30 points below Goess before Sunday's Garden State ARCA 150 presented by American Red Cross at New Jersey Motorsports Park's 2.25-mile Thunderbolt Raceway.
In the past 10 years of ARCA Racing Series competition, no top three with eight races remaining have been separated by as little as 30 points - or even as low a margin as 100 points. In fact, the closest margin for the top three drivers in the series with eight races to go came in 2008, when Scott Speed led Matt Carter and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Stenhouse was 110 points behind Speed. As is famously known, none of the three drivers won the title that year; Justin Allgaier, then in fourth place, emerged as the champion that autumn.
In 2006, Kimmel and Gerhart were tied for the series lead at this point in the season, but even then the drop to third-place driver Ryan Foster was 405 points.
The low margins don't stop in the top three. Currently tied in fourth place are Tom Hessert (No. 77 Cherry Hill Classic Cars Dodge) and Patrick Sheltra (No. 60 Recycling Services/Ferguson Pipe Dodge), each only 60 points below Goess's standard.
Again, 2008 showcased the closest top five of the last decade at the eight-to-go point: Kimmel sat 220 points short of Speed, a far greater margin than exists today.
Rookie Dakoda Armstrong (No. 22 Ferrellgas Dodge) and Mikey Kile (No. 25 Venturini Motorsports Toyota) fill out the top seven in the current standings, with Armstrong 85 and Kile 105 points below the lead.
To compare, the 2000 season featured the tightest top seven of the last decade, with Bobby Gerhart 460 points short of Kimmel with eight races remaining in Kimmel's second series championship season.
Moreover, the variety of winners this season has left the margin at the top very slight throughout the year. Marks' 70-point lead after the season's ninth event at Iowa Speedway is the largest to date; on only one other occasion in 12 races has the leader's margin over second place exceeded 35 points.