Par-A-Dice in Springfield for Bill Baird By Don Radebaugh Springfield, IL - August 21, 1999 - Current ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series point leader Bill Baird rolled the dice on fuel mileage Sunday afternoon at the Illinois State Fairgrounds...
Par-A-Dice in Springfield for Bill Baird By Don Radebaugh
Springfield, IL - August 21, 1999 - Current ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series point leader Bill Baird rolled the dice on fuel mileage Sunday afternoon at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, out-dueled Frank Kimmel in a classic ARCA dirt track dogfight and cashed in big to win the 17th annual Par-A-Dice 100.
To the cheers of a near-capacity crowd, the Sturgis, Kentucky driver, having lost the lead to Kimmel on the last lap, regained it off the fourth corner and out-dragged the defending ARCA champ to the final stripe by a fender to record his career-fifth ARCA triumph in his 41st attempt. JaniKing Ford driver Mark Gibson, who started 15th, crossed the line in a tight tow for third ahead of UMP National Late Model champion Ed Dixon and Centralia, Illinois driver Joe Cooksey who brought his Maurtco Powder Coating Chevrolet home in fifth.
"We wanted this one bad," said Baird in victory lane. "We led nearly the whole thing so the last thing I wanted to see was Kimmel next door on the last lap. But he got a run on me in traffic off two and got underneath us. The only thing I could do from there was to follow him into three, haul it down in there nice and smooth so I could come off four the way I know we needed to, and fortunately it worked. I want to thank all the fans. They pay the bills and it always makes me feel good to give them the kind of racing they deserve and pay to see. Hats off to my crew chief Keith Strunk and the whole crew for making me look so good on raceday, Par-A-Dice Casinos for sponsoring the race, and ARCA for bringing racing back to its roots giving us a chance to go dirt track racing. The track was beautiful today. Now we want DuQuoin." The checkered flag for Baird, who never came down pitroad, fluttered in the nick of time as less than a half gallon of fuel was discovered in Baird’s thirsty Saturn Machine-Spee Dee Pop-Valvoline Chevrolet during post race inspection.
Baird led 88 of the 100 lap grind but nearly lost it all on the final round when Kimmel’s Advance Auto Parts Chevy showed up inches away from the leader’s back bumper bent on going to victory lane. To compound matters for Baird, and with Kimmel looming large in his rear view mirror, the eventual winner fell upon a lapped car just as he drove into turn one, opted for the high side and got hung out to dry as Kimmel raced through underneath off turn two and into the lead. So Baird, in no mood to accept his latest hand, filled Kimmel’s mirror in turn three, and sneaked his fender inside of the leader off turn four. As Kimmel chased his slightly loose Chevy with a fishtail off four, Baird snagged the bottom rail and powered alongside while every fan in the house rose to greet the door-to-door drag race to the finish. An extremely pleased Baird pocketed $16,770 for his hard-fought victory including the Auto Value Halfway Leader honors.
Kimmel, who pitted once for fuel only, drove his Chevy back through the field, passed Baird for the top-spot and led laps 68 through 78 before Baird, with a nifty inside move in turn one on a restart, reassumed command.
Bob Strait, driving Ken Rowley’s ride, won the Talladega Pole Award, led the first lap and mixed it in with the top five for 89 laps until engine troubles relegated the 14-time series winner to 23rd in the final running order. Norm Benning ran with the leaders all day long in his RV Coachmen-Car Mate Trailers Chevrolet after qualifying third, and finished sixth recording career high-marks in both categories. Bloomington, Illinois driver Eric Smith finished seventh in front of Bobby Gerhart’s Kewadin Casinos Chevy in eighth followed by the Dura Lube Chevy of Jeff Finley and Andy Belmont, who steered his America Online Ford to a tenth place finish. Soddy Daisy, Tennessee’s Ron Cox, the last car on the lead lap, finished 11th in his first Springfield dirt mile appearance garnering the STP-Prestone Highest Finishing Rookie honors. Gerhart, who was forced to start his back-up car near the tail end after burning a piston earlier in practice, was awarded the Midwest Hoosier Tire Hard Charger award for advancing the most positions.
The ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series continues along its final short track leg of the year this Sunday afternoon August 29th at Winchester Speedway in Indiana for the Winchester ARCA 200 with an entry list that includes 6-time ARCA winner and Winston Cup veteran Ken Schrader.
Series Point Leaders: Bill Baird 4160, Frank Kimmel 3760, Bobby Gerhart 3560, Mark Gibson 3310, Joe Cooksey 3290, Bob Schacht 3110, Cavin Councilor 2975, Ron Cox 2965, Andy Belmont 2935, Norm Benning 2845.
1999 ARCA BONDO/MAR-HYDE SERIES EVENT #15 Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield Illinois, 8-22-99 Official Results, Par-A-Dice 100
FIN STR CAR POS POS NO DRIVER/RESIDENCE TEAM & CAR LAPS STATUS 1 2 52 Bill Baird/Sturgis KY Saturn Machine-Spee Dee Pop-Valvoline Chevy 100 Running 2 4 46 Frank Kimmel/Jeffersonville IN Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet 100 Running 3 15 59 Mark Gibson/Winder GA JaniKing Ford 100 Running 4 11 99 Ed Dixon/Washington MO Oakwood Homes-Budweiser Chevrolet 100 Running 5 6 51 Joe Cooksey/Centralia IL Maurtco Powder Coating Pontiac 100 Running 6 3 84 Norm Benning/Pittsburgh PA Car Mate Trailers-Coachmen RV Chevrolet 100 Running 7 8 9 Eric Smith/Bloomington IL Southtown Motorsports Ford 100 Running 8 24 5 Bobby Gerhart/Lebanon PA Kewadin Casinos Chevrolet 100 Running 9 10 83 Jeff Finley/Lansing MI Dura Lube Chevrolet 100 Running 10 9 40 Andy Belmont/Penndel PA America Online-York Heating & Cooling Ford 100 Running 11 23 23 Ron Cox/Soddy Daisy TN Northgate RV & Parts Chevrolet 100 Running 12 16 10 Curt Piercy/Normal IL GA Rich & Sons Mechanical Chevrolet 99 Running 13 13 21 Tracy Leslie/Mt Clemens MI Zinsser Paint Products Ford 99 Running 14 22 76 Mike Lorz/Midlothian IL Dura Lube-Local #399 Chevrolet 98 Running 15 14 75 Bob Schacht/Mooresville NC Engineered Components Ford 98 Running 16 19 30 Mark Voigt/Marine IL State Representative Ron Stephens Chevrolet 98 Running 17 33 2 Doug Keller/St Joseph MO Doug Keller Racing Chevrolet 97 Running 18 30 24 Chuck Weber/Mesquite TX Cardinal Tool Company Chevrolet 97 Running 19 27 19 Cavin Councilor/Naples FL Mothers Against Drunk Drivers Chevrolet 95 Running 20 26 8 Alan Bigelow/Winchester IN SP Tools-Race City Grill Chevrolet 95 Running 21 29 98 Jim Eubanks/Dexter MO Eubanks Trucking-Amoco Pontiac 94 Running 22 34 48 James Hylton/Inman SC James Hylton Racing Ford 91 Running 23 1 27 Bob Strait/Mokena IL Budweiser-Hendren Racing Chevrolet 89 Engine 24 25 06 Dennis English/Benton KY State Line Metals Pontiac 81 Running 25 21 90 Jon Herb/Indianapolis IN Invincible Sportswear Ford 76 Running 26 7 20 Todd Coon/E Peoria IL Mid City Truck Repair Chevrolet 75 Engine 27 17 0 Richard Hampton/Seymour IN Hoosier Online-Voyager Comm-Texaco Chevy 61 Accident 28 20 47 Rich Hayes/Springfield IL Rich Hayes Mobile World-Duffy Pontiac 53 Accident 29 18 88 Dean Roper/Fair Grove MO Pace American Trailers Pontiac 37 Engine 30 5 56 Dill Whittymore/Seymour IN Mt Olive Pickles Chevrolet 36 Rear End 31 32 73 George Glick/Grove City OH Valley Crossing Ford 14 Brakes 32 35 4 David Boggs/Rock Hill SC Power Alliance Pontiac 14 Electrical 33 31 53 James Tuggle/Decatur IL Sundown Lounge-Logan Auto Body Chevrolet 12 Handling 34 28 32 Randy VanZant/Brookville OH Mike's Body Shop Pontiac 10 Oil Leak 35 12 22 Billy Thomas/Phenix City AL JW Miller Land & Timber Chevrolet 9 Accident
85 Wes Russell/Muncie IN Russell-Gerhart Racing Chevrolet DNS
TALLADEGA POLE AWARD: Bob Strait 35.044 (102.720 mph) MRGN OF VIC: .011 seconds CAUTIONS: 8 for 35 laps TIME OF RACE: 1:20:15 AVG SPEED: 74.766 mph LAP LEADERS: Strait 1 (1); Baird 2-67, 79-100, (88); Kimmel 68-78 (11)