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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)

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Ken Schrader , Jon Herb , Frank Kimmel , Andy Belmont , Bobby Gerhart , Chuck Weber , Ron Cox , Mark Gibson , James Hylton , Norm Benning , Doug Keller , Bill Baird , Bob Schacht