Cup Star Laps Entire Field and Leads All But One Lap at MIS
He’s a regular in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, but Friday afternoon it was all ARCA for David Stremme, who handily won the Hantz Group 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series event at Michigan International Speedway. Stremme lapped the entire field, and was the only driver to complete all 100 laps of the 200-mile event.
“I used to do that a lot,” said Stremme, referring to the fact that he lapped the field. “But as you move up, there’s more competition. The ARCA series is tough, so this is pretty cool, but my focus is on the Cup race this Sunday.”
It marked the first time since Frank Kimmel’s 2002 victory over Robert Burroughs at Nashville Superspeedway that an ARCA RE/MAX Series race finished with only one driver on the lead lap.
It was also the first time since Scott Goodyear’s 1994 victory in a CART Indy Car that a race at Michigan finished with only one car on the lead lap. Stremme’s victory also marked the 10th time a winner lapped the field at Michigan.
Just seven laps later, however, Stremme lapped Wease, and never looked back. Wease, an open-wheel standout making his second ARCA RE/MAX Series attempt this weekend, settled for second.
“We feel pretty good about it,” Wease said of his finish. “We pretty much just got beat by experience today. This is the longest race I’ve ever run, so I feel it went pretty well. We had such a long green run there and kind of got stuck behind some slower cars. I think that’s how Stremme kind of got away from me there.”
Rookie-of-the-Year contender Blake Bjorklund, in the No.
David Stremme climbs from his dominant car in MIS Victory Lane. (B. Costanzo Photos)
In addition, Stremme established a new race record speed of 145.956 mph, eclipsing the old mark of 142.461 mph set by Ron Barfield in 1996.
Stremme took the lead on lap one, and led a total of 99 laps of the 100 lap race, relinquishing the top position only once on lap 42 to pit, taking on four tires and fuel in the Rusty Wallace-owned Hantz Group-Nu South Lemonade Dodge.
The South Bend, Indiana native used the wide, quick Michigan racing surface to weave in and out of lapped traffic. By the halfway mark, he was one of only two drivers on the lead lap. The other driver was Penske developmental driver Billy Wease, in the No. 27 Kodak Dodge.
32 Country Joe Homes-Red Line Synthetic Oil Dodge, finished third after qualifying fourth. Bjorklund’s crew chief, Mike Chaffee, was awarded the SK Tools Crew Chief of the Race award.
“I am just happy to finish in one piece,” said Bjorklund. “This is our first top-five and it sure feels good. I know I had some help from above. This race is dedicated to my grandpa Bjorklund, who passed away almost a year ago. Thanks to my crew and especially my crew chief. We sure needed it after our streak of bad luck.”
Bjorklund was the only top-five finisher that is not affiliated with a NASCAR developmental program, as Evernham Motorsports’ Erin Crocker, in the No. 98 Hamburger Helper Dodge, finished fourth, marking the highest finish by a female at Michigan since Christi Passmore’s fifth place finish in 2004.
Brewco Motorsports’ Brad Coleman rounded out the top-five in his No. 62 Federated Car Care Ford.
Only two cautions, for 14 laps, slowed the pace. The first caution occurred on lap 56 when Brett Rowe, in the No. 90 Day Enterprises Chevrolet, experienced engine problems. At the same time, Scott Lagasse, Jr., in the No. 4 Dodge Motorsports Dodge, lost an inner-liner. Lagasse eventually finished ninth, two laps down, while Rowe was relegated to 38th in the final running order.
The second caution occurred on lap 72 after Dexter Bean, in the No. 6 Five Star Telegram-Boo Koo Energy Chevrolet, brushed the turn three wall. He was uninjured and finished 35th.
The only time Stremme lost the lead was when he came to pit road.
Ken Weaver, Josh Krug, Mario Gosselin, Lagasse Jr. and Justin Marks rounded out the top-10.
Marks earned the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger award for advancing the most positions.
Chuck Weber, who had earned his career-first Pork Pole award on Friday, finished 24th in the No. 24 Cardinal Tool Company Ford, four laps down. Stremme also earned the Hurst Fastest Lap of the race award.
From Michigan, the ARCA RE/MAX Series heads to Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas for the Kansas Lottery $200 Grand on Saturday, July 1, 2006. The event will be broadcast on SPEED at 3:00 pm on Sunday, July 2nd.
MICHIGAN HANTZ GROUP 200 RESULTS
DRIVER / HOMETOWN
David Stremme/South Bend IN
Billy Wease/Mooresville NC
Blake Bjorklund/Isanti MN
Erin Crocker/Wilbraham MA
Brad Coleman/Houston TX
Ken Weaver/Dallas TX
Josh Krug/Omaha NE
Mario Gosselin/St. Marie Quebec
Scott Lagasse/St. Augustine FL
Justin Marks/Rocklin CA
Brian Keselowski/Rochester Hills MI
Billy Venturini/Chicago IL
Ryan Mathews/Lake Geneva WI
Ryan Foster/Lowell AR
Bobby Gerhart/Lebanon PA
Brent Sherman/N. Barrington IL
Brad Keselowski/Rochester Hills MI
Todd Bowsher/Springfield OH
Frank Kimmel/Clarksville IN
Damon Lusk/Kennewick WA
Tim Schendel/Sparta WI
Johnny Leonard/Cape Coral FL
Michael Simko/Clarkston MI
Chuck Weber/Mesquite TX
Ryan Howard/Tipp City OH
Mike Buckley/Ann Arbor MI
Howard Bixman/Holly MI
Jason Hedlesky/Clinton MI
Darrell Basham/Henryville IN
Norm Benning/Pittsburgh PA
Tim Mitchell/Fayetteville TN
Brad Smith/Belleville MI
Patrick Sheltra/Indiantown FL
Phillip McGilton/Marion IL
Dexter Bean/Westby WI
Dawayne Bryan/Winter Haven FL
AJ Henriksen/Mooresville NC
Brett Rowe/Barboursville WV
Ricky Sanders/Stockbridge GA
Justin Allgaier/Springfield IL
Mike Harmon/Birmingport AL
PORK POLE AWARD: Chuck Weber 39.185 (183.744 mph)
MRGN OF VICT: 1 lap
TIME OF RACE: 1:22:13
LAP LEADERS: Stremme 1-41, 43-100 (99); Wease 42 (1)
CAUTIONS: 2 for 14 laps
AVG SPEED: 145.956 mph
Billy Wease (#27) was competition for Stremme's (#61) only competition.