Not even Mother Nature could stop Steve Wallace from securing an ARCA RE/MAX Series victory at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday.
Wallace, in the Nu South Lemonade-Hantz Group Dodge, withstood numerous rain delays, several periods of caution, and a hard-charging fellow rookie to win the Harley-Davidson of Cincinnati 150 by .229 seconds over Brewco Motorsports’ Brad Coleman.
“We sat on the pole today,” said Wallace. “We broke the track record and we won the race. A pretty good day.”
After setting a new track record and earning the Pork Pole Award earlier in the day, Wallace would go on to dominate the fifth ARCA RE/MAX Series event of 2006, leading 63 of 103 laps on the cold and rainy May Kentucky day.
In fact, just about the only thing hotter than Wallace this weekend was his victory lane burnout (right), which left an actual trail of flames in the infield grass after some of the rubber he put down caught fire.
The race was lengthened by two laps to accommodate a green flag finish after a lap 96 incident in which Brandon Knupp spun on the frontstretch.
When the race resumed on lap 101, Coleman got within a half-length of Wallace’s rear bumper but could not find a way around the eventual winner.
“Today was great,” said Coleman. “Probably one of the longest days I ever had at a racetrack. Just too much rain.”
lapped cars tonight were absolutely horrible. They wrecked Frank Kimmel and they just about wrecked me. It was horrible.”
The Tri-State Motorsports team went to work, bringing the no. 46 down pit road several times to make repairs to Kimmel’s racecar, which now looked more like a modified than a full-bodied stock car.
Soon after, raindrops began to fall on the speedway again, causing the red flag to wave with Wallace leading the event, followed by Scott Lagasse Jr. and Justin Allgaier.
Justin Allgaier, in the Hoosier Tire Midwest-Trashman-USAF Chevrolet, finished fourth, while Frank Kimmel’s teammate, Ryan Foster, finished fifth in the no. 47 Frank Kimmel Racing Ford. Chuck Weber, Blake Bjorklund, Billy Venturini, David Odell and Josh Krug rounded out the top 10.
Persistent showers backed up the start of the event 3 hours, relegating the race to a 6:00 pm start time. However, the diverse touring series would only make 32 laps around the 1.5-mile speedplant before another bout of inclement weather would force ARCA RE/MAX Series officials to put out the red flag.
However, those first 32 laps contained their share of headlines, as Wallace and Kimmel, in the no. 46 Pork the Other White Meat Ford, found themselves battling back and forth for the lead throughout many of the race’s initial laps.
The landscape of the race would change drastically, however, on lap 24, when Kimmel, a four-time Kentucky Speedway winner, found himself in the turn three wall racing Wallace for the lead in lapped traffic.
“We went down the back stretch four wide and the lapped cars backed off and me and Frank collided,” said Wallace. “These
Steve Wallace's burnout actually caught the rubber on fire at Kentucky. (High Sierra Photos)
Shawn Parker earned SK Crew Chief of the Race honors for his efforts in helping Coleman achieve a second-place finish. Coleman would earn the Hurst Shifters Fastest Car of the Race award and was also the highest-finishing rookie. Billy Venturini earned Hoosier Tire Hard Charger honors.
HARLEY DAVIDSON OF CINCINNATTI
Kentucky Speedway, Sparta, KY
1Steve Wallace/Mooresville NC
2Brad Coleman/Houston TX
3Matt McCall/Denver NC
4Justin Allgaier/Springfield IL
5Ryan Foster/Lowell AR
6Chuck Weber/Mesquite TX
7Blake Bjorklund/Isanti MN
8David Odell/Lawrenceville GA
9Billy Venturini/Chicago IL
10Josh Krug/Omaha NE
11Dawayne Bryan/Winter Haven FL
12Dexter Bean/Westby WI
13TJ Bell/Sparks NV
14Jeremy Clements/Spartanburg SC
15Justin Diercks/Davenport IA
16Ryan Howard/Tipp City OH
17Damon Lusk/Kennewick WA
18Josh Allison/Martinsville IN
19Chris Cockrum/Conyers GA
20Bobby Gerhart/Lebanon PA
21Brandon Knupp/Sidney OH
22Brett Rowe/Barboursville WV
23Howard Bixman/Holly MI
24Jason Hedlesky/Clinton MI
25Andrew Myers/Newport Beach CA
26Norm Benning/Pittsburgh PA
27Frank Kapfhammer/Louisville KY
28Frank Kimmel/Clarksville IN
29Todd Bowsher/Springfield OH
30Darrell Basham/Henryville IN
31Brad Smith/Belleville MI
32Johnny Leonard/Cape Coral FL
33Mike Harmon/Birmingport AL
34Scott Lagasse/St. Augustine FL
35Ken Weaver/Dallas TX
36Terry Jones/Amherstburg ON
37Ricky Sanders/Stockbridge GA
38Todd Hansen/Minneapolis MN
39Mario Gosselin/Lake Wales FL
40Tim Mitchell/Fayetteville TN
41Donny Lia/Huntington NY
It would be a full one hour and forty-five minutes later when racing would resume. Wallace continued his lead on the restart, with Allgaier and Lagasse battling for second.
Terry Jones would bring out the caution after tagging the turn four wall, giving the leaders the perfect opportunity to pit.
With the leaders taking on fresh tires and gas, Andrew Meyers, foregoing the opportunity to pit, assumed the lead. However, that decision would be ill-fated as the gamble caused Meyers to run out of gas on lap 67 while the field was under caution.
Matt McCall, a developmental driver for Robert Yates Racing, finished third in the no. 55 Citifinancial Ford.
“It was a good race,” said McCall. “Pit stops were really awesome. Robert Yates Racing gave us a good opportunity and you got to make the best out of it."
Wallace won his second-career ARCA race and first at Kentucky.