VENTURINI'S BLACK FLAG LEADS TO SCHRADER WIN By Don Radebaugh
Billy Bumps Kimmel, Schrader Sneaks In There
the pass in lapped traffic on lap 121. But Kimmel soon opted for another pit stop for tires while Schrader reclaimed the top-spot. Schrader led up through lap 167 before Kimmel, who had come from the back for the second time, passed Schrader on a restart. But, Schrader, unwilling to give up the fight, worked Kimmel lap after lap, inches apart while Venturini reeled in both setting the stage for the dramatic conclusion.
Several cautions for 79 laps for a variety of wrecks kept the crowd plenty busy in between some spectacular green-flag runs that saw side-by-side racing, inches apart throughout the field. One of the cautions involved series veteran Ron Cox who, after running in the top-five much of the afternoon, made heavy contact with the turn four wall. Cox was okay and received the Landrum Spring Hard Luck award as a consolation.
Leading Rookie of the Year contender AJ Fike charged from the 25th starting position to finish 6th in the Super Fitness-Ray Farms Pontiac with Brent Sherman trailing in seventh in the Hickory Farms-Serta Mattress Ford. Norm Benning finished a solid eighth in his own unsponsored Chevrolet ahead of Steve Cronenwett, who steered Wayne Peterson’s Nealco-Reid’s Auto Color Chevrolet to the finish in ninth.
Mike Buckley, who started 23rd, finished 11th earning the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger award for advancing the most positions.
The next event for the ARCA RE/MAX Series will be the Quaker Steak & Lube 100 from Lowe’s Motor Speedway Thursday night, May 27 LIVE on SPEED Channel at 9 pm eastern. The race follows NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Bud Pole Qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600.
At the onset, 17-year-old outside polesitter Justin Allgaier out-hustled Pork Pole winner Schrader and took the early lead. Allgaier led through lap 12 before his transmission failed handing the Springfield, Illinois high-schooler an early out. Kimmel, who started third, had already found his way around Schrader and assumed the lead. But Kimmel’s luck would too fail him when his right rear tire went flat during a caution. Kimmel dipped into the pits for a two-tire stop while Schrader inherited the lead. Schrader led up through lap 82 before opting for his only pit road service stop for four tires and fuel. That set-up Reid as the leader with Kimmel in tow. Kimmel worked the stubborn leader high and low for several laps before he finally made
A winner’s trophy for Ken Schrader, more trying times for Frank Kimmel and a black flag for Billy Venturini; and that was only part of the fascinating story Sunday afternoon at Toledo Speedway where the ARCA RE/MAX Series played before a packed house.
Schrader's team pits the #99 at Toledo (OH).
Drager (ARCA President) of the ARCA series; they put on a heck of a show. We’re off to go test our dirt car.”
In the end, Schrader held off Jason Jarrett in a spirited door-to-door, two-lap shootout to win the thrilling Hickory Farms 200 presented by Federated Car Care. Rookie Boston Reid, in his first series attempt, looked very sharp, led laps and finished third in the BGR Research Chevrolet.
It was Schrader’s 11th career RE/MAX Series victory in his 31st attempt. “We sort of backed into that one,” said Schrader who led 106 of 204 laps. “The way things played out, I didn’t think I’d be racing Jason Jarrett for the win, but there was some over zealous driving out there that helped our situation. Big thanks to Federated Auto Parts and Ron
Schrader’s over zealous description was, no doubt, earmarked for Venturini who, after a brilliant drive, was running third behind race leader Kimmel and Schrader inside of ten laps remaining. Venturini, super-hungry for his first series win, chrome-horned his way past Schrader and zeroed in on Kimmel. With three laps remaining, Venturini landed against Kimmel’s back bumper headed into turn one causing Kimmel to spin. With caution on the speedway, Venturini came around seemingly as the new leader only to receive the black flag equating to a stop and go on pit road.
That set the stage for the green-white-checker finish with Schrader showing the way over Jarrett. When racing
resumed, Jarrett, with ten lead-lap cars in tow, brought the crowd to its feet when he charged to the high-side of Schrader in turn one. But Schrader’s car stuck better on the bottom than Jarrett’s did up top and marched ahead for the final circuit. Less than a length made up the distance between the two at the final stripe, as Jarrett picked up his third runner-up finish at Toledo in the Bennigan’s-Gladiator GarageWorks Chevrolet.
“My crew kept yelling for me to go up top,” said Jarrett. “Schrader’s car seemed to work best right on the bottom, but we had our car working just as well in the second groove. Felt like we were gunna pull it off for a while but Schrader got off the corners better than we did. It was a lot of fun I’ll tell you that. I knew I could race with him (Schrader), so we gave it our best.”
Billy Venturini (#25) moves Frank Kimmel (#46) out of the way for the lead late in the race, resulting in a black flag from officials.
Ken Schrader won at Toledo (OH) on Sunday thinaks to a black flag. (ARCA Photos)