Witham Tames Toledo, Wins Second Consecutive ARCA Truck Contest 9-15-01 TOLEDO, OHIO --ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series veteran Johnny Witham posted his third feature win this season and second consecutive victory on Saturday at the newly-paved...
Witham Tames Toledo, Wins Second Consecutive ARCA Truck Contest
9-15-01 TOLEDO, OHIO --ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series veteran Johnny Witham posted his third feature win this season and second consecutive victory on Saturday at the newly-paved half-mile oval of Toledo Speedway. It was a perfect day for the Hamilton, Ohio driver, as he scored the Old Milwaukee Pole Award, Cloyes Gear Halfway honors, and led every lap of the 50-lap event to take the checkered flag.
"There were guys right on my bumper the whole time, pushing me pretty hard," Witham said. "We just kept the West Park Food Distributors Ford down low, and made them go to the outside, and everything worked out fine. I'm loving it!"
After putting pressure on Witham for much of the race, Grove City, Ohio driver Jack Weethee finished a close second in the Weethee Builders-Amerihost Inns-Den's Automotive Ford.
"Well, since I started third I didn't have to go far," said Weethee with a laugh. "The race went very good for me, but one more position would have been nice. But it was a nice finish, I was right on him. I just set back and hoped he would slip, but he didn't. If I can finish at seventh in the points after all the bad luck we've had, I'll be tickled."
Jeff Speakman, Piqua, Ohio, finished a close third after qualifying 10th in the Pennzoil-National Auto Lube Ford. Fort Wayne, Indiana driver Pete Wormcastle finished fourth in the Preferred Inc. Painting and Roofing-Witwer Racing Chevrolet, one spot in front of his father, Joe Wormcastle, also of Fort Wayne, in the Witwer Racing Engines Chevrolet.
Columbus, Ohio's Bill Withers snagged sixth in the Mannings USA-Hall Electronics Ford Ranger, while hometown racer John Kasmierski, Toledo, was seventh in the Sonic Racing Ford, earning Ed and Company Hard Charger honors after a disappointing qualifying run put him at 22nd on the starting grid.
Last year's ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series rookie of the year, Chad Guinn, Erie, Michigan, grabbed eighth after a broken right-front wheel nearly sent the BFI-Made In Toledo Clothing Company-Northland Collision-Coastal Coating Systems Ford into the wall late in the race when Guinn was chasing Witham for the lead. Also suffering a bout of bad luck, current points leader Robbin Slaughter, Columbus, Ohio, notched a ninth place finish with a borrowed engine after the recently repaired motor in his Carmen's Vacuum-Napa Auto Parts Ford broke during Friday's practice. Fort Wayne, Indiana's Kyle Witwer rounded out the top-10 in the Witwer Racing Engines Chevy after qualifying 13th.
After qualifying 17th, Toledo, Ohio's Kendra Lake took 12th in the Mike Bales Ford in her first start this season. She was followed by ARCA RE/MAX sensation Jason Jarrett, Hickory, North Carolina, at 13th in the Braun Auto Group Ford. Clarksburg, West Virgina's Norman Weaver, the sole Toyota competitor in the ARCA truck series, earned his best qualifying effort this season at sixth in the Jasper Import Engines-Fasttrucks.com Tacoma, only to crash in the front stretch on the second lap, sending him to a 19th place finish.
The 2001 ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series championship is still up for grabs as the points battle comes to a close this Saturday, Sept. 22, for a 50-lapper on the quarter-mile paved oval at Flat Rock Speedway, Flat Rock, Michigan.
Series notes - The unofficial top-10 in the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series championship points race are: 1. Robbin Slaughter (2555) 2. Bill Withers (-65) 3. Johnny Witham (-80) 4. (r)Brett Oakley (-100) 5. Chad Guinn (-115) 6. Tully Esterline (-230) 7. Jack Weethee (-305) 8. Dave Reeb (-340) 9. (r)Darren Jones (-425) 10. (r)Mark Otting (-450). The ARCA truck competitors will be honored with a banquet at the SeaGate Center, Toledo, on Saturday, Nov. 10, with the ARCA Auto Value Midget Series.
- Although he has been struggling recently, consistency is key for current points leader and 2000 ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series champ Robbin Slaughter as he continues to dominate the series this year, having tallied three wins, two pole awards, 10 top-10 finishes and six top-fives.
- Only one points race remains in the 2001 truck series schedule- Flat Rock Speedway, Sept. 22. A non-points race will be run at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, Oct. 6.
- Six new track records have been set this season by ARCA truck drivers including newcomer Brett Oakley, blasting the old record of 21.14 seconds at Illiana Motor Speedway with a time of 21.02. (Oakley is currently leading in 2001 ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series rookie of the year point standings.) Other 2001 record-setting drivers include Johnny Witham, 15.545 at Dixie Motor Speedway, 17.139 at Toledo Speedway; Jack Weethee, 17.270 at Crystal Motor Speedway; and Jeff Speakman, 14.434 at New Paris Speedway.
- Last year's rookie of the year, Chad Guinn, holds tight to first place on the all-time series winners listing with nine victories. Other current ARCA competitors on the list include Slaughter (8), John Witham (5), David Clay (3), and six drivers with one each: Tully Esterline, Paul Hahn, Dave Reeb, Jeff Speakman, Jack Weethee, and Bill Withers.