Rookie Stenhouse Stellar at Pocono From ARCA PR
Speed, Loftin and Allgaier All Put Up Good Fights in ARCA Race
ARCA RE/MAX Series point leader Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. survived a late-race restart and a last-lap charge from a Red Bull to win the wild Pocono 200 Saturday afternoon at Pocono Raceway.
“It was pretty tough,” said Stenhouse, who also earned the SunTrust Rookie of the Race award. “My restarts – I’ve been getting better. You had some people shifting; you had some people not. We were almost three-wide there going into turn one so I’m sure it was pretty exciting for the fans. I didn’t like it but we ended up pulling through it and ended up with the win.”
Stenhouse, in the no. 99 Roush Fenway Racing-Con Way Freight Ford, also became the first repeat winner in 2008 after eight events.
“I’m pretty excited about that (winning two races). Hopefully we’ll be the first to win three next week at Michigan. That’s what we’re shooting for.”
Speed, in the Red Bull Toyota, battled back from two cut tires to get within striking distance of Stenhouse, only to fall short by five lengths at the final stripe. The Manteca, California driver also made up more than 20 positions inside of 10 laps from the end to earn his second place finish.
“We were 25th with seven laps to go, and finished second,” said Speed, who was also the Aaron’s Lap Leader of the Race for leading the most laps (39). “I mean I definitely didn’t make too many friends out there but that was definitely an epic end to the race. Period. To be honest it was very surprising to be able to catch the 99 as much as we did. I mean we must have caught him a second a lap for the last two laps.”
SunTrust Rookie of the Year contender Tayler Malsam finished a career-best third in the Dodge Driver Development Dodge.
“I saw quite a bit from my view in the car,” said Malsam. “Definitely didn’t expect to finish in
the top-three but I sure am glad it worked out the way it did. I’m hoping for some of the same
at Michigan next weekend.”
Malsam was referring to the final restart with two laps remaining when Justin Lofton, looking
for his career-first win, was positioned second behind Stenhouse with Robb Brent also in tow.
But Lofton’s machine got loose in turn one following a mad scramble among the top-10 cars
on the frontstretch. With Brent hard on the brakes to avoid Lofton, who eventually spun down
into the infield grass, a hole opened for Malsam and Bobby Gerhart, both of whom charged
underneath for position. Gerhart, in the Lucas Oil Chevrolet, ended up fourth.
“It’s been kind of a rough start this year, so this finish is especially gratifying,” said Gerhart.
“We were tight all day. I’ve not run as good as I would have liked to this year and then on top
of it, we’ve just been at the wrong place at the wrong time on several occasions. Either got fed
up or been victimized by other people’s issues.”
Justin Allgaier, without first, second and fourth gears, somehow finished fifth in the AG Tech-
Hoosier Tire Midwest Chevrolet.
“I really feel like we let this one slip away,” said Allgaier. “Felt like we had them covered today but you can’t win on a track you shift on with a broke transmission. In the end we were fortunate to finish fifth.”
Prior to his transmission issues, Allgaier posted the Accel Fastest Lap of the Race after leading 20 laps and was the Klotz Halfway Leader.
SIM Factory Pole Award winner Speed led the first 12 laps before Allgaier took control. Once Allgaier got out in front, the Springfield, Illinois driver opened up a big advantage before giving up the top-spot on lap 29 when he and the rest of the front-runners came down pit road for first-round pit stops.
Justin Lofton (#20) makes a final effort to take the lead from Ricky Stenhouse (#99). (ARCA / Bob Costanzo Photo)
Let the celebration begin as Ricky Stenhouse becomes the first repeat winner of the 2008 season.
Speed’s crew chief Patrick Donahue earned the Cometic Crew Chief of the Race honors. Brian Kaltreider started 29th and finished 13th to earn the Casite Hard Charger award.
Top-10 ARCA RE/MAX Series Points After the Pocono 200 at Pocono Raceway (6-7-08):
1) Ricky Stenhouse Jr 1790; 2) Matt Carter 1720; 3) Scott Speed 1690; 4) Justin Allgaier 1660; 5) Tom Hessert III 1655; 6) Frank Kimmel 1630; 7) John Wes Townley 1600; 8) Tayler Malsam 1520; 9) Patrick Sheltra 1475; 10) Ken Butler III 1445.
Next up for the ARCA RE/MAX Series: Michigan Int’l Speedway
The ARCA RE/MAX Series will follow up their appearance at Pocono with more superspeedway-style action when the series makes its annual appearance to Michigan Int’l Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan’s Irish Hills for the Racing for Wildlife 200 on Friday afternoon, June 13th. The Racing for Wildlife 200 is LIVE on SPEED at 5:00 PM Eastern. Arcaracing.com will feature live timing and scoring beginning at 5:15 p.m. on Friday.
When racing resumed, Bryan Silas and Dexter Bean, both electing not to pit, exchanged the lead for three laps before Speed reassumed command on lap 33. Speed led up through lap 47 before giving it up for an unscheduled pit stop to get four new tires – mainly a left-front, which had gone flat. Then a caution came in the nick of time for Speed, who was able to stay on the lead lap as a result. Speed quickly charged back into the lead on lap 53 but gave it up again on lap 65 for the same problem. Brent then led for a couple laps before Stenhouse emerged as the final leader on lap 67. Stenhouse then led the final 20 circuits, which included six overtime laps to accommodate the ARCA-mandated green-white-checker finish.
Brent, Bean, Dominick Casola, Michael Phelps and Gabi DiCarlo completed the top-10 respectively.
Allgaier (#16) keeps in front of Schrader as the checkers fly.