All Tied Up Eddie Sharp Racing's Justin Lofton and Cunningham Motorsports' Parker Kligerman are tied at the top of the ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship Point Standings following the South Jersey Building Trades 150 at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
All Tied Up
Eddie Sharp Racing's Justin Lofton and Cunningham Motorsports' Parker Kligerman are tied at the top of the ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship Point Standings following the South Jersey Building Trades 150 at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Both Lofton, a second-year veteran of the Series, and Kligerman, a 19-year-old rookie, ran in the top five throughout much of the race, with Kligerman finishing second after starting last and battling for the win with teammate Patrick Long throughout the last five circuits of the 67-lap race and Lofton finishing sixth despite running off course after contact with another competitor on the last lap. Lofton and Kligerman have dominated the 2009 ARCA RE/MAX Series, combining to win 66 percent of the Series races this year. Each have taken turns at leading the Series' point standings, with point spreads ranging from 150 to zero points.
"We've been fighting real hard to come back from what I think was at one time 75 points which was a pretty large deficit with only five races left," said Kligerman. "But we knew we could gain a lot of points this weekend and we came into this weekend with the mentality to lead laps, lead a lot of laps and hopefully come out of here with the maximum amount of points and we got probably about ten shy of that so we're close and that's a good effort by the whole Cunningham Motorsports Crew."
Just three races remain in the 2009 ARCA RE/MAX Series-the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic 200 at Salem Speedway on September 19, the Kansas Lottery 150 at Kansas Speedway on October 1, and the Rockingham ARCA 200 at Rockingham Speedway on October 11.
TOP TEN UNOFFICIAL ARCA RE/MAX SERIES POINTS AFTER THE SOUTH JERSEY BUILDING TRADES 150 AT NEW JERSEY MOTORSPORTS PARK (Race 18 of 21; 9/13/09);1) Justin Lofton, 4520; 1) Parker Kligerman, 4520; 3) Frank Kimmel, 4165; 4) Joey Coulter, 3980; 5) Patrick Sheltra, 3740; 6) Craig Goess, 3695; 7) Bryan Silas, 3675; 8) Steve Arpin, 3545; 9) Robb Brent, 3500; 10) Tom Hessert, 3495.
First Time's the Charm
With his victory in Sunday's South Jersey Building Trades 150, Patrick Long joined a prestigious list of drivers who have won in their career first ARCA RE/MAX Series start to include Phil Parsons, Kyle Petty, Joe Ruttman, Tim Richmond, Kyle Busch, Casey Atwood, Travis Kvapil and Joey Logano, among others.
"I grew up as a NASCAR Fan even though I was from Southern California," said Long. "I went to Bristol for my first time at six years old in 1988 and the guys [on ARCA's first time winner's list]-Kyle Petty and Phil Parsons-were running so it's been a tremendous opportunity to add my name to the record books here in the ARCA RE/MAX Series. But I don't know. Where to go from here? I'm an awful busy person on the other side of the tracks racing road racing. I have my next race, the Petit Le Mans, coming up in about a week's time so I'm going to be pretty busy over there. My number one commitment is with Porche but it has been a huge honor to be able to run in my off weekends in stock cars and I've learned a lot and I hope to come back and do it soon."
Drivers who have won in their career-first ARCA RE/MAX Series Start:
Atwood, Casey Pocono Raceway 7/27/2002
Barnes, Chuck Toledo Speedway 9/1/2006
Busch, Kyle Nashville Superspeedway 4/11/2003
Buscher, James USA Int'l Speedway 3/24/2007
Butler, Tobey Salem Speedway 4/20/1996
Gosselin, Mario Lowe's Motor Speedway 5/22/1999
Hawkins, Matt Iowa Speedway 4/19/2008
Hornaday, Ron Atlanta Motor Speedway 11/20/1999
Irvan, Ernie Atlanta Motor Speedway 11/18/1989
Irwin, Kenny Daytona Int'l Speedway 2/8/1998
Kvapil, Travis Pocono Raceway 6/11/2005
Logano, Joey Rockingham Speedway 5/4/2008
Long, Patrick New Jersey Motorsports Park 9/13/2009
Miller, Joey Nashville Superspeedway 8/14/2004
Parsons, Phil North Wilkesboro Speedway 5/18/1980
Petty, Adam Lowe's Motor Speedway 9/30/1998
Petty, Kyle Daytona Int'l Speedway 2/11/1979
Richmond, Tim Daytona Int'l Speedway 2/8/1981
Riggs, Scott Pocono Raceway 6/12/2004
Ruttman, Joe Michigan Int'l Speedway 7/20/1980
Sagor, Buckie Dayton Speedway 5/10/1953
Smith, Stanley Michigan Int'l Speedway 8/17/1991
Although they entered the race as teammates for the Cunningham Motorsports Team, both first-time ARCA RE/MAX Series competitor Patrick Long and championship point contender Parker Kligerman had aspirations of visiting victory lane at New Jersey Motorsports Park-even if that meant battling each other in the closing laps of the race.
"When that green flag dropped I knew there was roughly five laps remaining and I was going to drive it intense because I knew that that kid [Parker Kligerman] has so much aggression," said Long. "Parker is just a guy with an eye of a tiger. He wants to go forward whether that's on the dirt or the short tracks or the road courses so I knew I had to drive it absolutely to every inch and I could hear my spotters telling me he was somewhere between three car lengths and right on my bumper back and forth through all of the corners so I was just driving it to the limit because I was going to go down fighting. I was either going to stick it in the wall or win it. I wasn't going to putter around and hold him up or let the 6 car get into him so I was just driving it at my very, very limit and in turn five I just dropped my left side tires into the dirt and then I went sailing through the dirt and all I was trying to do was get the car whoa'd down so that I wouldn't take anyone else out when I came back on. It was one of those fate things where the car just landed going the right direction and a little bit of that was car control and a lot of it was luck."
With their first and second place finishes at NJMP, Cunningham Motorsports became the first team to finish 1-2 in the ARCA RE/MAX Series since August of 2007 when Eddie Sharp Racing's Michael McDowell won the Pennsylvania 200 at Pocono Raceway and teammate Josh Wise finished second.
During his post-race interviews with the media, New Jersey Motorsports Park race winner Patrick Long credited the No. 4 Cunningham Motorsports Team led by crew chief Paul Andrews, acknowledging that the race ending could have looked much different if it wasn't for some speedy work by the guys on the crew.
"With five laps to go when the track went yellow my Crew Chief, Paul Andrews, and Team Owner, Mark Gibson came to me and said 'do you want tires or do you want to try to hang out front'? And I said 'listen, if they're taking tires we have to take tires. We cannot try to just keep the track position and hold them off because there is such an advantage to new tires. We've got to come down pit road and we've got to beat them out' and it was literally inches to beat that 77 [Parker Kligerman] out and I think that if they would have beat us out on pit road it would have been hard to get by him. He just drove really, really great and smart and he knew that I was kind of going for broke out there. Known that I was in front of him, there was less risk. If I'm behind him I have to be the overtaking car and there's a chance of taking the points championship contender out so I needed to stay in front and that's a tribute to the team."
Long crossed the finish line 0.311 seconds ahead of Parker Kligerman.
Making the Calls
Spencer Pumpelly finished third in his career first ARCA RE/MAX Series race on Sunday in the No. 09 HPT Chevrolet. Andy Lally, who competed in last year's ARCA RE/MAX Series race at New Jersey Motorsports Park, served as Pumpelly's spotter for this year's event and TRG Motorsports owner Kevin Buckler was among those on top of the team's pit box making race calls.
Fulltime ARCA RE/MAX Series competitors Robb Brent and Tim George Jr. posted their career best Series finishes this weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park, finishing fourth and fifth, respectively. Both drivers have road course racing backgrounds.
Salem Speedway Full of History, Tradition: Next Stop on ARCA RE/MAX Series Tour
The ARCA RE/MAX Series returns to its short track roots on September 19 for the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic at Salem Speedway in Salem, Indiana. The high-banked half-mile has been a legendary and classic staple on the schedule since the first race there in 1955, when the touring stock car series was known as MARC.
Over the years, several drivers closely rooted to Salem Speedway and the old Fairgrounds Motor Speedway in nearby Louisville, Kentucky, have contributed to the history and heritage of ARCA. Among them, drivers such as Bill Baird, Jesse Baird, Leonard Blanchard, Bill Clemons, Elmer Davis, Dave Dayton, Charlie Glotzbach, Willard Googe, Andy Hampton, Richard Hampton, Ralph Jones, Bill Kimmel Sr., Buddy Medlock, Larry Moore, Sparky Moore, Jerry Norris, Charlie Paxton, Ken Reiter, Jim Robinson, Sandy Satullo, Jack Shanklin, John Sommerville, Wayne Trinkle, Jack Wallace, Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Watson, Buddy Webb, Hubert West, Dill Whittymore, A. Arnold, N.D. Copley, Woody Fisher, Dick Freeman, Bruce Gould, Bill Green, Jesse Griffin, Ferrel Harris, Ralph Latham, Lamarr Marshall, bobby Sands, Les Snow, John Stout and Roy Wathen.
In respect and admiration for the pioneering era of ARCA and its roots in the Kentuckiana area, many of the living ARCA drivers from the area are expected to participate in pre-race festivities during this year's Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic at Salem Speedway. The race marks the 19th of 21 events on the 2009 schedule and rolls off at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday, September 19. Live timing and scoring, live audio and live video of all on-track activity at Salem will be available at www.arcaracing.com.
Kimmel Looking for Win at Home Short Track
Frank Kimmel is the all-time ARCA winner at Salem Speedway with nine victories at the half-mile short track and the defending fall race winner at Salem. Kimmel, who in addition to being the all-time active Salem Speedway ARCA winner is also the all-time active ARCA RE/MAX Series winner, has 74 career wins and is just five wins shy of tying Iggy Katona as the winningest driver in ARCA RE/MAX Series history but has not made a trip to victory lane since Salem last year.
Busy Stretch includes Bill France Four Crown
Salem is the third of four races in the 2009 Bill France Four Crown Series, a separate point fund within the 21-race ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule that tests drivers on a challenging combination of venues, including a dirt track (The Southern Illinois 100 at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, September 7), a road course (The South Jersey Building Trades 150 at New Jersey Motorsports Park, September 13), a short track (The Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic at Salem Speedway, September 19) and a speedway (The Kansas Lottery 150 at Kansas Speedway, October 1). Heading into Salem, Parker Kligerman leads the Bill France Four Crown Standings over Frank Kimmel.
In previous years, the Bill France Four Crown Series consisted of three diverse races on the schedule and was known as the Bill France Triple Crown. The Series has honored a Bill France Champion at the Championship Awards Banquet each consecutive season since 1984.
ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series Championship to be Determined at Salem ARCA is gearing up for an all-ARCA weekend at Salem Speedway, as both the ARCA RE/MAX Series and the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series will compete at the half-mile short track. Salem marks the last race of 2009 for the regionally touring truck series, which features performance-modified 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder cast iron engine blocks, bumper-to-bumper racing chassis and protective roll cage assembly constructed by ARCA-approved manufacturers, and template stock appearance bodies. Heading into Salem, Paul Hahn leads the Championship Points.