ARA: Newport Speedway race report, results, points

NEWPORT, TENNESSEE - Scott Kilby, of Statesville, North Carolina, driving the A&H Windows Chevrolet Monte Carlo set the quick time in qualifying, started on the pole and won the Thunder in the Mountains 250, American Racing Association (ARA) Kool...

NEWPORT, TENNESSEE - Scott Kilby, of Statesville, North Carolina, driving the A&H Windows Chevrolet Monte Carlo set the quick time in qualifying, started on the pole and won the Thunder in the Mountains 250, American Racing Association (ARA) Kool Seal Challenge Series event, at Newport Speedway on Saturday night, October 20. In a race that saw five lead changes among four drivers, Kilby finally emerged as the winner of the $5000 first place money in the final ten laps of the event. It was Kilby's fifth win of the season.

Sixteen year-old Danny O'Quinn, Jr., from Coeburn, Virginia, in the O'Quinn Trailer Sales Chevrolet looked to be the fastest driver in time trials, until Scott Kilby - the final car to qualify - turned the high-banked 4/10th-mile track with a final lap of 13.218 seconds. Kilby's fast lap nudged O'Quinn to the outside of the front row. Kilby won the Battery Supply of Virginia Pole Award and started on the inside of the front row for the 250-lap event.

"The bonus points for the pole took the pressure off of us as far as the series championship," Kilby said. "Because of the reputation of the toughness of this track we decided to start up front and hopefully stay out of trouble. At that point, the only way to lose the championship was to be the first car out of the race."

At the fall of the green flag, the challenge was on as Danny O'Quinn raced from his outside position into a brief lead on the first lap. Kilby regained the front spot on the second lap as a tight pack pushed and shoved for position behind the race leader.

There were eight cautions, including a competition caution at the halfway mark in the 250-lap race. The most critical for the points championship was the third yellow flag which came on lap 45 as Keith Bumgarner, of Conover, North Carolina, second in points coming into the race, tangled with Scott Campbell, of Clyde, North Carolina, while racing for position.

Bumgarner had qualified eighth in the Country Chair Ford Taurus and had suffered with brake problems throughout the race. The accident ended Bumgarner's championship hopes. Until that point, Bumgarner had finished every lap of every ARA Kool Seal Challenge Series race during the entire 2001 season.

By lap 69, Keith Stiltner, from Grundy, Virginia, in the Race Mining Pontiac had worked his way from a sixth place starting spot into the lead. Stiltner held the lead through the competition caution at halfway and on through lap 168 when he fell out of the event with an overheating racecar.

"I ran over a piece of drive shaft or something when the caution came out for the 122 car (Dennis Queen of Waynesville, NC)," Stiltner said. "This was a tough race to get to the lead, and even tougher to keep the lead."

As Stiltner slowed, Stephen Leicht, from Asheville, North Carolina, in the Action Racing Collectables Ford Taurus went to the front, but was passed before the start-finish line by defending series champion Greg Marlowe, from Troutman, North Carolina. Marlowe, in the Southern Pride Chevrolet Monte Carlo, led from lap 169 until lap 240 when he coasted into the pits with a blown motor.

After falling as far behind as sixth position, Scott Kilby had climbed back into second spot. When Marlowe brought out the final caution, Kilby regained the lead and went on to win.

"Fifty laps from the end, we didn't think we'd win this race," Kilby said. "My car got too loose in the first half of the race. I really had to run too hard early to try and keep the lead. After a while, I just had to slow down to keep from spinning out. In the first part of the second half we weren't real pleased with the changes we had made to the car. But, it came around."

Finishing in second was Lee Tissot from Arden, North Carolina in the Madison Florist Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Tissot started 14th in the car owned and driven on a weekly basis at Newport by Mitch West.

"I had a pretty good car," Tissott said following his career best ARA finish. "The only problem we had was a spin with Mark Ketron. He got a little excited and we got together. He really didn't mean to do it. The racing was just that close all night. Late in the race, the other cars started sliding sideways and mine didn't. I guess that's because I'm used to running these 250 lappers."

Ketron, from Kingsport, Tennessee, driving the McDonalds Chvrolet Monte Carlo also recovered from the caution on lap 114 to finish third - also a career best ARA finish. Westley Huffman, from Blythewood, South Carolina, finish fourth in the Pre-Paid Legal Chevrolet. And, Tim Weaver from Statesville, North Carolina, in the Got Jesus Chevrolet finished fifth.

The victory clinched the 2001 ARA Kool seal Challenge Series Championship for Kilby. It is the first national title for the veteran stock car racer.

"I'd just like to express my appreciation to the people that started this series and those that are working to see it continue to grow," Kilby said. "I always knew that I had what it took to win a national title. This series gave me a chance to prove it.

"The competition was tough this year, and the good part is that this A&H Windows Team won the championship. The bad part is that the competition will only get tougher as more racers discover this series."

<pre> UNOFFICIAL ORDER OF FINISH Thunder in the Mountains 250 American Racing Association Kool Seal Challenge Series Newport Speedway Newport, Tennessee Saturday, October 20, 2001


1       1       30      Scott Kilby     Stateville NC           250
2       14      27      Lee Tissot      Arden NC                250
3       5       26      Mark Ketron     Kingsport TN            250
4       4       5       Westley Huffman Blythewood SC           250
5       13      79      Tim Weaver      Stateville NC           250
6       3       99      Stephen Leicht  Asheville NC            250
7       10      101     Pete Silva      Leicester NC            249
8       12      0       Brian Ramsey    White Pine TN           249
9       15      40      Scott Campbell  Clyde NC                248
10      17      8       Ed Surrett      Asheville NC            244
11      18      13      Johnny Dixon    Parrottsville TN        244
12      9       07      Greg Marlowe    Troutman NC             240
13      16      1       Robbie Henry    Maryville TN            233
14      2       01      Danny O'Quinn Jr Coeburn VA             195
15      6       22      Keith Stiltner  Grundy VA               169
16      7       122     Dennis Queen    Waynesville NC          130
17      8       95      Keith Bumgarner Conover NC               54
18      11      10      Jimmy Doyle     Hendersonville NC        13

Battery Supply of Virginia Pole Award - Scott Kilby 13.218 seconds

Lead Changes: 5 among 4 drivers Kilby - Pole O'Quinn - 1 Kilby - 2-68 Stiltner - 69-168 Marlowe - 169-240 Kilby - 241-250

Cautions: 8 for 47 laps

UNOFFICIAL FINAL 2001 POINTS American Racing Association Kool Seal Challenge Series

  1. Scott Kilby        Statesville NC  544
  2. Keith Bumgarner    Conover NC      509
  3. Westley Huffman    Blythewood SC   433
  4. Greg Marlowe       Troutman NC     429
  5. Keith Stiltner     Grundy VA       342
  6. Frampton Ferguson  Furman SC       299
  7. Stephen Leicht     Asheville NC    292
  8. Tim Weaver         Statesville NC  293
  9. Danny O'Quinn      Coeburn VA      284
 10. Andy Loden         Troutman NC     217


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Series Stock car
Drivers Stephen Leicht , Danny O'Quinn , Tim Weaver