Toledo, Ohio, 9-19-99 - Among some extremely stout participants, Steve Thinnes stood on the gas Sunday afternoon at Toledo Speedway charging from the ninth position to victory lane to capture the ARCA/UMARA sanctioned 30 lap main event while Gene...
Toledo, Ohio, 9-19-99 - Among some extremely stout participants, Steve Thinnes stood on the gas Sunday afternoon at Toledo Speedway charging from the ninth position to victory lane to capture the ARCA/UMARA sanctioned 30 lap main event while Gene Lee Gibson, even despite mechanical troubles, reigned as the ARCA Auto Value Midget Series champion for the second consecutive season. With IRL and USAC Midget drivers Ronnie Johncox and Andy Michner inches away waiting to pounce on their opportunity to take charge, Thinnes never bobbled on his way to the winner's circle taking his 3rd series victory of the season. "I knew if I bobbled even a little, those guys would race by me like I was standing still," said Thinnes in victory lane. "I knew they were there because I could hear them, and I had a good idea who they were so we had to work it hard to the end. I'd like to thank ARCA and UMARA for all the racing and all the fans that came out to see us. This place is the closest thing to a superspeedway that we get and it's awesome to drive. If they'll have us back, we're definitely coming." Johncox finished a length away in second with Michner in his immediate rears for third. Second generation driver Brice Kenyon was fourth and ARCA Midget standout Gary Harrell raced hard from the 15th position to complete the top five.
Defending ARCA Auto Value Midget Series champion Gene Lee Gibson was relegated to the 21st finishing position in the main event completing only one lap resulting from a blown engine. Regardless, Gibson had already accumulated enough points throughout the year to earn his second consecutive ARCA Midget Championship title. "It always feels great to be lucky enough to be the champion," said the second generation open-wheel standout. "We've always sort of bounced around racing a lot of different classes from supermodifieds to Silver Crown cars without ever really chasing any particular crown so these are extra special. I'd like to thank my father who's always been an inspiration to me, and is really the brains behind the chassis design and set-up. I'd like to thank my wife who puts up with this racing grind. We're racers from the start, and that's not going to change so it's important to me to have someone who understands that. I'd like to thank ARCA for a great series and Auto Value for the title sponsorship, and UMARA. They're a great bunch to race with and we sure enjoy the co-sanctions and the extra competition. They always bring plenty." Former ARCA Midget champion and veteran Jerry Nemire led at the onset from his outside front row starting position and began to pull away from the field and looked strong up through lap eight before the engine expired making way for Thinnes who had already raced his way to the front. Thinnes then refused continual challenges for the remainder of the event to earn the well deserved victory. Jason Fuller, with his sixth place finish, won the 1999 ARCA Auto Value Midget Series Rookie of the Year honors. Veteran Nick Fornoro finished seventh ahead of two-time ARCA Midget Champion Rick Harrell who finished eighth. Phil Rutledge and Rich Corsen completed the top ten.
1999 ARCA AUTO VALUE MIDGET SERIES EVENT #14 Toledo Speedway, Toledo OH Official Results, 9-19-99 FIN STR CAR POS POS NO DRIVER/RESIDENCE TEAM & CAR LAPS STATUS 1 9 48 Steve Thinnes UMARA 30 Running 2 6 8 Ronnie Johncox/Jackson MI Johncox Motorsports VW 30 Running 3 10 26 Andy Michner/Indianapolis IN USAC 30 Running 4 11 69 Brice Kenyon/Lebanon IN McLeodUSA Esslinger Hawk 30 Running 5 15 4 Gary Harrell/Temperance MI R&M Towing-TJ Roofing-Kayo Lumber Hawk 30 Running 6 5 9 Jason Fuller/Plymouth IN Suspension Spring-Pro Shocks-Hogue Hawk 30 Running 7 8 3 Nick Fornoro Gary Mullings Motorsports 30 Running 8 16 1 Rick Harrell/Lambertville MI Kayo Lumber-Total Prep Solution Hawk 30 Running 9 12 97 Phil Rutledge/Troy MI The Vette Shop-Duggan's Irish Pub Pont 30 Running 10 17 15 Rich Corsen UMARA 29 Running 11 2 87 Matt Estep UMARA 29 Running 12 19 55 Don Moore UMARA 28 Running 13 21 24 Dave Thompson/Minooka IL Savage Racing-MAC Tools VW 24 Ignition 14 14 5 Larry Gibson/Richwood OH Gilliland Body Shop-Dotson's Chevy 24 Handling 15 7 38 Dave Baumgartner/Ottawa Lake MI Autocraft Engines-Linne Enterprises Frd 23 Handling 16 1 16 Jerry Nemire/Erie MI Nemire-Yager Racing Brayton Beast 8 Engine 17 13 3 Mike Astrauskas/Sand Lake MI Doherty Sales Autocraft Beast 8 Engine 18 20 92 George Wessell Wessell Motorsports 8 Handling 19 18 97 Ike Beesley Beesley Racing 5 Engine 20 3 61 Aaron Fike/Galesburg IL UMARA 5 Accident 21 4 0 Gene Lee Gibson/Richwood OH Gibson Racing Autocraft 1 Engine FAST QUALIFIER: Andy Michner 15.980 seconds HEAT WINNERS: Dave Baumgartner, Larry Gibson, Nick Fornoro NEXT EVENT: Championship Awards Banquet 11-13-99