CRA SLM Star Wins First ARCA Race in First Career Start
ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Chuck Barnes, Jr., in C.E. Clower’s No. 35 Crown Spray Power Chevrolet, led veteran Frank Kimmel around Toledo Speedway in the closing laps of the Hantz Group 200 presented by Belle Tire and It’s Mighty Ezy to win in his career-first series attempt.
The 24-year-old driver also became the 16th different winner in 18 events in 2006, setting a record for the most different winners in a single season for the 54-year-old ARCA RE/MAX Series sanction. Barnes also became the 11th first-time winner this season, which is also a RE/MAX Series record.
Barnes is most familiar for competing in the CRA Super Series and in Late Models near his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, where his close proximity to Kimmel allowed for the free-flow of knowledge and information.
“I live just twenty minutes away from Frank, so he’s always just kind of helped me out,” said Barnes. “I get a lot of my late model secrets from him. Frank has introduced me to a lot of people, so he’s been a big help in that way, too.”
While the victory marked Barnes’ career-first ARCA RE/MAX Series victory, it was also a first-time trip to victory lane for his car owners’ C.E and Tammy Clower and the TC Motorsports Team. The Clowers have competed in the series sporadically for the past four years.
“At Kentucky Speedway this year, I was introduced to the Clowers through a sponsor and that’s how I got this ride. This is
Brian Keselowski, a former Late Model competitor at Toledo Speedway, finished fifth in the Holloway Motorsports-Dusty’s Collision Ford after leading 100 out of 202 laps. The Rochester Hills, Michigan driver chose an interesting pit strategy, staying out on the track until lap 160, even though the rest of the leaders pitted for tires and fuel on lap 111.
“Considering that we were running on 150-lap-old tires that was a really good finish,” said Keselowski. “We just had real bad luck tonight. If not for that last deal with the 4 car I think we would have won that. At least we showed we can go out here and run. We just need to do it more. I had a lot of fun tonight and if I would’ve been able to make it on gas, I could have run the whole race on one set of tires.”
“Chucky’s a heck of a kid and a good racer,” said Kimmel. “I knew that once he got under a good car he would be tough to beat. We had a good points day. Bobby (Gerhart) sort of had some problems there. I’m really looking forward to heading to DuQuoin on Monday. You know, Schrader is coming and we always battle pretty good down there on that mile clay.”
Bjorklund, in the Country Joe Racing-Red Line Oil Dodge, beat Allgaier to the checkers by a nose to finish third. Allgaier settled for fourth in the Century Trading-AG Tech-USAF Chevrolet.
“I had a really god car,” said Bjorklund. “We were really good on the long runs. At the end there, we started to gain ground on Frank Kimmel. The car was tight on restarts.”
Chuck Barnes, Jr. hoists the winner's trophy at Toledo. (B. Costanzo photos)
Supply, North Carolina resident and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver finished 14th, one lap down.
On lap 12, Kevin Swindell and Amber Cope tangled in turn three and David Boggs slid into the accident, which left turns three and four partially blocked. Boggs was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation. The Rock Hill, South Carolina driver was able to exit the No. 93 Drew White Motorsports Chevrolet under his own power.
Keselowski earned the Pork Pole award earlier in the day. His father and crew chief, Bob Keselowski, earned SK Hand Tool Crew Chief of the Race Honors. Bjorklund was the highest finishing rookie.
From Toledo, the ARCA RE/MAX Series steers for the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds for a Labor Day thriller on the Magic Mile dirt. The Southern Illinois 100 begins at 1 p.m. Central time.
HANTZ GROUP 200
Toledo Speedway, Toledo, OH
FIN DRIVER/HOMETOWN TEAM & CAR LAPS STATUS
1 Chuck Barnes/Louisville KY Crown Spray Power Chevrolet 202 Running
2 Frank Kimmel/Clarksville IN Pork The Other White Meat Ford 202 Running
3 Blake Bjorklund/Isanti MN Country Joe Racing-Red Line Oil Dodge 202 Running
4 Justin Allgaier/Springfield IL Century Trading-AG Tech-USAF Chevrolet 202 Running
5 Brian Keselowski/Rochester Hills MI Holloway Motorsports-Dusty's Collision Ford 202 Running
6 Michael Simko/Clarkston MI Hantz Group Chevrolet 202 Running
7 Ryan Howard/Tipp City OH Williams Bros Lumber Chevrolet 202 Running
8 Josh Wise/Indianapolis IN Dodge Motorsports Dodge 202 Running
9 Billy Venturini/Chicago IL Hawk Saw Blades-Hummers Gone Wild Chevrolet 202 Running
10 Todd Bowsher/Springfield OH Safe Auto Insurance Ford 202 Running
11 Kevin Swindell/Bartlett TN Dodge Motorsports Dodge 202 Running
12 Gary Sherman/Lansing MI Cleary Motorsports Chevrolet 202 Running
13 Brent Sherman/Barrington IL Serta Mattress Ford 201 Running
14 Chad McCumbee/Supply NC DirectBuy.com Chevrolet 201 Running
15 Jason Hedlesky/Clinton MI Hardcore Motorsports Chevrolet 201 Running
Fellow local driver Michael Simko, in the No. 65 Hantz Group Chevrolet, finished sixth.
“I really want to thank the Hantz Group for coming on board for three short track events,” said Simko. “I just hope we impressed them enough to come back next year. That was a long race and I’m glad we could bring it home in one piece after battling all day like that.”
Ryan Howard, Josh Wise, Billy Venturini and Todd Bowsher rounded out the top ten.
Chad McCumbee led laps two through 54 before cutting a right front tire in the DirectBuy.com Chevrolet. The
an old Dale Earnhardt, Sr. car so it’s kind of like a good luck charm. My dad’s a racer too, and on that last green-white-checker he just told me to calm down and hang on to it. That’s how I got through those last few laps.”
The race was lengthened by two laps to accommodate a green-white-checker finish after Darrell Basham spun in the Anti Monkey Butt Powder Chevrolet on lap 196. The late-race caution, one of 13 cautions for 77 laps during the 200-lap event, left Barnes, Kimmel and Justin Allgaier in the top three spots for the final restart. When the green flag waved for the two-lap dash to the checkers, Barnes, who led the final 42 laps, began to pull away from Kimmel while Allgaier and Blake Bjorklund battled for third. In the end, Kimmel, who led seven laps earlier, could not muster up the steam to catch Barnes, and finished second in the Pork The Other White Meat Ford two lengths away.
Barnes takes the checkered flag.
Brian Keselowski (#29) made contact with Kevin Swindell (#4) going for the lead.