Steve Arpin, in the Mike's Hard Lemonade Toyota, earned his second consecutive ARCA Racing Series victory Friday night, winning the Rattlesnake 150 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Arpin, who earned his first career win last Sunday at the half-mile Salem Speedway in Indiana, clinched his second win in less than a week's time after powering by Grant Enfinger off the second turn on a lap 91 restart. Arpin paced the field from there, leading the final 14 circuits around the 1.5-mile Texas tri-oval.
In the end, Arpin outran Craig Goess in a green-white-checkered overtime finish, winning by a mere .326 seconds, taking sole possession of the series championship point lead in the process.
"This is a great, great racetrack," Arpin exclaimed. "We had a really good car all night, and Hoosier gave us a super good tire. What a great way to debut our new sponsor, Mike's Hard Lemonade."
Arpin was also involved in a lap 12, four-car incident between turns three and four, where he spun with Patrick Sheltra, Joey Coulter and teammate Mikey Kile. Aprin's left front fender was slightly damaged, but his Venturini Motorsports team came through for him.
"(Car owner) Billy Venturini and the guys did an awesome job tonite," Arpin explained in victory lane. "We got ourselves in a touchy spot, spun, and the damage affected our aero a bit," Arpin continued. "The team did a great job repairing the car, and giving me a chance."
Arpin, who started 22nd, survived the mishap, and moved into the top-10 by lap 25, where he found himself for most of the night. The Canadian native took the lead on lap 92 and was unchallenged until the last lap when Goess mounted an unsuccessful bid for the top spot.
Goess finished in the runner-up position for the second straight week, and his emotions were both high and low.
"It's great to run good, to run up front, but it's disappointing to be this close and not win," Goess disclosed. "We had a little miscue in the pits, but I don't know whether we could have beat Steve tonight anyway."
Goess led 28 laps during the race before coming to pit road for his second and final pitstop for fresh Hoosier Tires 30 laps from the finish. Goess, in the Greenville Toyota of NC Toyota, came off pitroad in fifth, used the remainder of the race working his way back up to the front. On the final lap, Goess got to the back of Arpin but could not pass, settling for second.
Grant Enfinger, in the BeasleyAllen.com-Stanley Industries Ford, finished third after leading 22 circuits late in the race.
"I think we pretty much made all the right decisions today," Enfinger commented. "I pushed the car a little hard with forty to go, and I think we might have run out of tires. We were running sixth and I felt like it was time to get up there and I really didn't anticipate many guys coming back with tires. Just unfortunate that we were unable to seal the deal again, but we got some good runs in. To come home third without a scratch on the car, and we have done that all four times we have run this car at all the 1.5-mile tracks."
Justin Marks, in the Construct Corps Toyota, finished fourth after leading the first 39 laps, earning the Aaron's Lap Leader award.
"We were having engine trouble, and at the same time, the car was very, very loose," stated Nate Theisse, co-owner of Marks's Win-Tron Racing Toyota. "We over adjusted on the pitstop at halfway, got the car too tight. To finish fourth, despite all that, is a pretty good night."
Robb Brent, in the Orchard Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep Dodge, rounded out the top-five.
"We had a great day today," said Brent. "Our car was awesome; it was really fast. We had a little trouble - we thought an engine was going down, but it was a plug wire on our cylinder. We came in and had to restart 20th halfway throughout. We passed a lot of guys. I got Frank Kimmel and the 29 on the last restart there to get fifth, so we are really pumped. It was a good bounce back from last week."
The field for the Rattlesnake 150 was set by 2009 owner's points when Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell was rained out Thursday afternoon.
Goess earned the Messina Wildlife Halfway Challenge award, with his crew chief Johnny Allen claiming both the Cometic Crew Chief and Klotz Engine Mechaic awards. Arpin claimed the CGS Imaging Hard Charger award, advancing 21 positions. Dakoda Armstrong earned RE/MAX Rookie of the Race honors.
The event was slowed by caution eight times for 43 laps. The most serious looking incident occurred on lap 38 when Tom Berte made hard contact with the inside safer barriers off turn two in a single car spin. Berte was uninjured in the incident.
The ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards heads to Talladega Superspeedway next for the Talladega ARCA 250 Friday, April 23, live on SPEED at 5:00 PM ET. The race will also be carried in live streaming audio at ARCAracing.com.
Official Finish, Rattlesnake 150, ARCA Racing Series
Texas Motor Speedway (4-16-10)
Fort Worth, Texas, (AP) _ The official finish for Friday's Rattlesnake 150 at Texas Motor Speedway for ARCA Racing Series stock cars with starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, type of car, laps completed, and reason out of race, if any:
1. (22) Steve Arpin, Fort Frances, Ont., Chevrolet, 105; 2. (6) Craig Goess, Greenville, N.C., Toyota, 105; 3. (14) Grant Enfinger, Fairhope, Ala., Ford, 105; 4. (4) Justin Marks, Rocklin, Calif., Toyota, 105; 5. (12) Robb Brent, Shelby Township, Mich., Dodge, 105; 6. (3) Frank Kimmel, Clarksville, Ind., Ford, 105; 7. (9) Patrick Sheltra, Indiantown, Fla., Toyota, 105; 8. (7) Bryan Silas, Stuart, Fla., Ford, 105; 9. (1) Nelson Piquet, Brasilia, Brazil, Toyota, 105; 10. (11) Mikey Kile, Westlake, La., Toyota, 105; 11. (24) Chad Finley, DeWitt, Mich., Chevrolet, 105; 12. (10) Dakoda Armstrong, New Castle, Ind., Dodge, 105; 13. (8) Tim George, Jr., New York, N.Y., Chevrolet, 105; 14. (31) Russ Dugger, Owasso Okla., Chevrolet, 105; 15. (34) Jerick Johnson, Faribault, Minn., Chevrolet, 105; 16. (15) Frank Wilson, St. Mary's, W.V., Chevrolet, 105; 17. (13) Nick Igdalsky, Long Pond, Pa., Ford, 105; 18. (29) James Buescher, Plano, Texas, Dodge, 104; 19. (30) Alex Kennedy, Aztec, N.M., Dodge, 103; 20. (23) Tom Hessert, Cherry Hill, N.J., Dodge, 103; 21. (20) Chase Mattioli, Long Pond, Pa., Ford, 103; 22. (27) Nur Ali, Fort Worth, Texas, Chevrolet, 98; 23. (5) Joey Coulter, Miami Springs, Fla., Chevrolet, 95, accident; 24. (25) Alli Owens, Daytona Beach, Fla., Chevrolet, 86, battery; 25. (33) Ricky Carmichael, Tallahassee, Fla., Toyota, 83, Chevrolet; 26. (35) Chad Hackenbracht, New Philadelphia, Ohio, Chevrolet, 78, driveshaft; 27. (16) Darrell Basham, Henryville, Ind., Chevrolet, 50, engine; 28. (32) Sean Corr, Goshen, N.Y., Ford, 48, accident; 29. (28) Tom Berte, New Berlin, Wis., Chevrolet, 36, accident; 30. (18) Brad Smith, Shelby Township, Mich., Ford, 31, rear end; 31. (38) Jason Basham, Henryville, Ind., Chevrolet, 26, engine; 32. (17) Greg Sarff, Columbus, Ohio, Chevrolet, 17, rear end; 33. (21) Barry Fitzgerald, Sykesville, Md., Chevrolet, 17, handling; 34. (36) Tim Andrews, Mooresville, N.C., Dodge, 11, brakes; 35. (37) Marc Easton, Lake Saranac, N.Y., Chevrolet, 9, accident; 36. (2) Chad McCumbee, Supply, N.C., Dodge, 8, handling; 37. (19) James Hylton, Inman, S.C., Dodge, 8, vibration; 38. (26) Rob Jones, Bowie, Md., Ford, 1, engine.
Time of race: 1 hour, 28 minutes, 56 seconds; Margin of victory: 0.326 seconds; Lap leaders: Marks 1-39, Goess 40, Johnson 41-42, Goess 43-69, Enfinger 70-91, Arpin 92-105.
Top-10 ARCA Racing Series Points after Texas (4-16-10)
1. Steve Arpin 865
2. Justin Marks 855
3. Patrick Sheltra 795
4. Robb Brent 705
5. Tom Hessert 700
5. Bryan Silas 700
7. Craig Goess 670
7. Mikey Kile 670
9. Frank Kimmel 665
10. Dakoda Armstrong 590