Toledo II - Rookie drivers spotlight

ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookies Invade Toledo Speedway on September 1 TOLEDO OH (8-24-06)--When it comes to driver development, many people instantly think of teams such as Evernham Motorsports, Roush Racing and Robert Yates. All of...

ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookies Invade Toledo Speedway on September 1

TOLEDO OH (8-24-06)--When it comes to driver development, many people instantly think of teams such as Evernham Motorsports, Roush Racing and Robert Yates.

All of these racing organizations, after all, have fielded very successful efforts in the ARCA RE/MAX Series in recent years, with drivers such as Erin Crocker, Pete Shepherd and Stephen Leicht.

However, when the ARCA RE/MAX Series, now in its 54th year of competition, rolls into Toledo Speedway on Friday evening, September 1, many race fans will notice a new trend developing in the national stock car tour, as several veteran ARCA RE/MAX Series teams have found resounding success this season with their own developmental drivers.

Ryan Foster, Ryan Howard and Blake Bjorklund are just a few of the young guns that race fans will see at Toledo this year. All three are in the midst of a very challenging Rookie-of-the-Year battle along with Brett Rowe, Dexter Bean and Justin Allgaier. Rowe is the 2005 ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series champion and former ALWTS winner at Toledo while Allgaier, fresh from his thrilling victory on the Springfield, Illinois mile-dirt, has twice finished second at Toledo, most recently to Ken Schrader in May.

Lowell, Arkansas' Ryan Foster, at just 19-years-old, has found himself in the top-5 in ARCA RE/MAX Series points despite missing the season-opening event at Daytona Int'l Speedway in February. The young rookie is competing this year for Frank Kimmel Racing. Kimmel, a seven-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion, has nine career victories at Toledo so Foster should be aptly armed with advice from his veteran mentor.

Although Tipp City, Ohio's Ryan Howard is only a rookie, he is already a veteran of ARCA RE/MAX Series competition at Toledo. In May, he finished 13th in an ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Toledo after starting 23rd. He's running the entire 2006 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule for veteran driver Mark Gibson. Gibson, who currently resides in Winder, Georgia, made his 300th career ARCA RE/MAX Series start in 2005, and has four career wins.

In addition, Blake Bjorklund has entered the race in a No. 32 Dodge for Country Joe Racing, the same team that fielded cars for 2005 ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie-of-the-Year Joey Miller last season. Bjorklund, a native of Isanti, Minnesota, finished a career-best third at Michigan Int'l Speedway in June and earned the Pork Pole Award at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan in July. The 20-year-old driver is a graduate of weekly Late Model competition in Minnesota.

The Hantz Group 200 at Toledo Speedway is LIVE on SPEED at 9pm Eastern. Tickets are available in advance by calling the track at (419) 727-1100. For more information on the ARCA RE/MAX Series, visit www.arcaracing.com.

-credit: arca

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Series ARCA
Drivers Frank Kimmel , Mark Gibson , Erin Crocker , Robert Yates , Justin Allgaier , Joey Miller , Stephen Leicht , Ryan Howard , Pete Shepherd , Ryan Foster , Blake Bjorklund , Dexter Bean