ARCA Trucker Gullatta in Charge on Springfield Mile-Dirt SPRINGFIELD IL (8-16-08) -- Nick Gullatta fought off Norm Weaver for much of the way, then, turned back a late-race charge from Steve Christman to win the ARCA Lincoln Welders Trucks ...
ARCA Trucker Gullatta in Charge on Springfield Mile-Dirt
SPRINGFIELD IL (8-16-08) -- Nick Gullatta fought off Norm Weaver for much of the way, then, turned back a late-race charge from Steve Christman to win the ARCA Lincoln Welders Trucks Series Best Western Challenge Saturday afternoon at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.
With Christman working Gullatta from the inside and outside over the last five laps, Gullatta maintained position, never flinched and beat Christman to the final stripe by less than a length, a margin of victory of .189 seconds.
Gullatta, in the Thomson Automotive-Mr. Heater-Enerco Chevrolet, led the final 19 laps of the 30-lap main event on the Springfield mile-dirt to earn his 8th career series victory.
"We knew had to get to the front in a hurry so we could take care of our right rear (tire)," said Gullatta. "Steve (Christman) always gets stronger as the race goes on, so we knew he'd probably be right there, and he certainly was there at the end. This is such a big deal for me, personally, to come here and win. I'm aware of the history this place holds, all the great winners over the years; this one is special. We were third here two years ago and second last year, so this win is right in line."
Christman, in the Bagman Racing Chassis-R&B Fabrication Chevy, tied his career-best finish in second. "I had fun out there today," said Christman. "We could get to the quarters on Nick's truck, but unless I used my bumper -- and I wasn't going to -- we weren't going to get by him. Worked out fine. Congratulations to him -- gotta be a big win for him."
Norm Weaver, who gave up the lead to Gullatta on the 12th lap, finished third in the Dan Cava Toyota-Safety Clean-Lifeguard Medical Toyota.
Mark Otting was fourth in the Tri County Fuels-Mycogen Seeds Chevrolet in front of current point Paul Hahn, who finished fifth in the Hahn's Powder Coating-Fox Auto Parts-Howe Racing Chevrolet. Hahn, also earned his 16th career 2BKool Fast Qualifier award, making the Canton, Michigan driver the all-time pole winner in ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series competition.
Otting led from the onset from his inside front row starting position and immediately opened up a 10-length advantage over the pack. Weaver, on the charge from the sixth starting position caught Otting on the fifth lap and slipped underneath the former leader in turns three and four to lead the seventh lap. Gullatta soon also slipped underneath Otting and quickly caught Weaver and began challenging for the lead. Gullatta finally made his move to the inside of Weaver on the 11th circuit in time to the lead the 12th lap. Gullatta then held back continual attempts from Weaver before he turned back the final challenge of Christman to earn the prestigious victory.
Two-time series champion Robbin Slaughter was sixth ahead of Mike Young in seventh. John Wes Townley, utilizing the race as a dirt track learning experience for the next-day ARCA RE/MAX Series race, finished eighth. Bill Withers and Ash Hawkins were ninth and 10th respectively.
The ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series swings back through Illinois next weekend for a 30-lap main event at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds mile-dirt Sunday afternoon, August 24th.