Schrader out-shoes ARCA South Bostonians. SOUTH BOSTON VA (7-3-02) by Don Radebaugh -- Winston Cup veteran Ken Schrader, in his own Federated Auto Parts Pontiac, turned in a near-perfect performance Wednesday night at South Boston ...
Schrader out-shoes ARCA South Bostonians.
SOUTH BOSTON VA (7-3-02) by Don Radebaugh -- Winston Cup veteran Ken Schrader, in his own Federated Auto Parts Pontiac, turned in a near-perfect performance Wednesday night at South Boston Speedway culminating with another ARCA RE/MAX Series victory in the Big Daddy's Liberty 200.
"The car was perfect right off the trailer," said Schrader in victory lane. "The Federated Auto Parts crew definitely got the job done tonight. Neat little racetrack. We tested here a little while back but it's my first race here. You know, you really have to be on top of your game over here in the ARCA series anymore. If you're off a tick, you'll get beat; it's that simple. Fortunately we were right on tonight. But this feels great. We haven't been to victory lane much lately and we're sure enjoying this one."
Schrader, on his way to Daytona for qualifying on Thursday for the Pepsi 400, was fastest in practice, won the Old Milwaukee Pole award and led 177 of 200 laps en route to his ninth career RE/MAX Series victory in his 25th attempt.
Although Schrader dominated the event, Frank Kimmel, who finished second in the Advance Auto Parts-Pork Ford, was never far from the eventual winner. In the closing laps, Kimmel planted his bumper inches away from Schrader's Pontiac and took a few runs at the leader in traffic falling short at the final stripe by about a length.
"We sure ended up a lot better than we started out," said Kimmel. "We were a little off on the handle at the start but the crew adjusted me back in the game. The car was real good at the end, but maybe not quite good enough to out-run Schrader. We wanted to beat him (Schrader) bad, but running second to one of the best will do just fine."
And while Schrader pitted just once for fuel and tires only, Kimmel, survived an early-race spin, pitted four times for a variety of adjustments and continually battled back for his hard-fought runner-up finish.
Billy Venturini, in the Hawk Saw Blades-Permatex Chevrolet, was stout all night turning in an impressive third place finish, the only other driver to finish on the lead lap.
The series, making its first-ever appearance on the .4-mile oval, put up its share of excitement with plenty of passing, side-by-side racing and the typical short-track fender-benders that produced six cautions for 30 laps. In all, there were six lead changes among four drivers to also include Kimmel, Jason Jarrett and Damon Lusk.
Lusk, who led 19 laps early on, was very much a factor before a skirmish with Jarrett sent him to the garage area for repairs after his WP Motorsports Chevrolet bounced off the wall. Lusk lost 72 laps after the exchange and eventually returned to finish a disappointing 19th. In addition, Lusk, with half the season now complete, lost the point lead to Kimmel.
Two-time Daytona ARCA 200 winner Bobby Gerhart, making only his 4th appearance of the season and first-ever at South Boston, finished fourth in the James Chevrolet with Mt. Juliet, Tennessee rookie standout Chase Montgomery, also making his first South Boston appearance, trailing in fifth. As a result, Montgomery won the ARCA Highest Finishing Rookie honors and moved to fifth in points behind Kimmel, Lusk, Chad Blount and Jarrett.
Blount, currently locked in an ultra-tight Rookie of the Year battle with Montgomery, shared the front row with Schrader for the start in his first South Boston appearance and was running in the lead pack before a turn two wreck ended his stellar run well-shy of the finish. Blount was credited with 22nd finishing position as well as the Landrum Spring Hard Luck award.
Jarrett, in the ML Motorsports Pontiac, finished sixth in front of Andy Belmont who finished seventh in the Odoban Grease Control Ford. Ron Cox, with new sponsorship from national restaurant chain Buffalo Wild Wings, finished a solid eighth with Randy VanZant, in the Devers Auto Body Pontiac, trailing in ninth. AJ Henriksen, in the Fastenal-Engineered Components Chevrolet, completed the top-ten finishers.
In addition to Schrader's winner's take-home pay, the Fenton Missouri-born driver also picked up the National Pork Board Pole-Win Bonus as well as the Loctite Halfway Leader award. Brack Maggard, making his career-first RE/MAX Series start, won the Hoosier Racing Tire Hard Charger award for advancing the most positions, from 28th to 17th.
The ARCA RE/MAX Series next heads back to Kentucky Speedway for the Blue Grass Quality Meats 200 Friday night, July 12th.