Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Southern Illinois 100 Takes ARCA Racing Series Back to Dirt
at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds
|Credit to ARCA Media site|
The Southern Illinois 100 presented by Federated Auto Parts at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds has existed since 1950 and been run in consecutive years every year since 1954, meaning that Monday's event will be the 59th over a history that includes winners like Fred Lorenzen, Jack Bowsher, A.J. Foyt, and Rusty Wallace, not to mention recent ARCA stars like Frank Kimmel, Parker Kligerman, and 2010 winner Steve Arpin.
Practice for the 16th race of the 19-event 2011 ARCA Racing Series season will begin at 9 a.m. Monday, with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell following at 11 a.m. and the 100-lap, 100-mile race going off at 1 p.m. The Southern Illinois 200 is the second of two dirt mile events on this season's schedule. All times are Central Daylight, and ARCARacing.com will feature live timing and scoring coverage and live audio coverage of all on-track events.
ARCA began its affiliation with the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds and the Southern Illinois 100 in 1983, and the event has taken place on Labor Day for each of the past 10 years, dating back to 2001.
Kimmel, driver of the No. 44 Ansell/Menards Ford and a nine-time ARCA champion, is the all-time win leader at the dirt oval with five victories (2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008). The Southern Illinois 100 will be his 60th start since his last win, which came at Salem Speedway in September 2008, only days after his most recent DuQuoin win.
In all, Kimmel has 13 dirt victories - including five at DuQuoin - and finished seventh on the similar Springfield, Ill. mile nine days ago. With a series-high 14 top-10 finishes in 15 races, Kimmel is undoubtedly a driver to watch at DuQuoin.
Only two drivers stand above Kimmel in driver points: Ty Dillon (No. 41 Hemelgarn/CIPT Chevrolet) leads Chris Buescher (No. 17 Reliance Tool/David Ragan Ford Ford) by exactly 400 points, and both have reason to believe a trip to Victory Lane could be in store following a rare Monday afternoon event.
Dillon finished a career-worst 13th at Springfield, but will carry a series-high seven wins and a wealth of dirt racing experience into the event. Buescher, meanwhile, finished eighth at Springfield but has five runner-up finishes this season, including one Friday at Madison International Speedway in Wisconsin. A two-time winner last season, Buescher is still looking for a breakthrough victory in 2011.
Chad McCumbee (No. 1 ModSpace Ford) certainly figures to be a contender, having just won at Springfield. Tom Hessert (No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet) will enter DuQuoin with second-place finishes in each of his last two dirt starts.
Will Kimmel (No. 68 Messina Wildlife Management/Menards Ford) is the nephew of Frank Kimmel, and he will aim to improve on a sixth-place finish at DuQuoin in 2010 and a fourth-place run at Springfield earlier this month.
Another dirt specialist entered is Kelly Kovski (No. 39 Central Illinois Security/Schluckebier Farms Chevrolet), who finished ninth last season at DuQuoin and sixth at Springfield this year. Kovski is typically the crew chief at Allgaier Motorsports for top-five contender Grant Enfinger (No. 36 Hoosier Tire Midwest/RaceTires.com Dodge), making his entry as a driver even more appealing.
Other notable entries include two-time World of Outlaws Late Model Series champion Josh Richards (No. 25 Joy Mining Machinery Chevrolet), who is often regarded as one of the world's finest dirt drivers, and Andrew Ranger (No. 53 Van Dyke Baler/Bollegraaf Ford), a road course ace who won at New Jersey Motorsports Park earlier this season.
Thirty-five cars are currently entered.
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards features 19 events at 16 tracks on its 2011 schedule. The series has crowned an ARCA national champion each year since its inaugural season in 1953, and has toured over 200 race tracks in 28 states since its inception. The series tests the abilities of drivers and race teams over the most diverse schedule of stock car racing events in the world, annually visiting tracks ranging from 0.4 mile to 2.66 miles in length, on both paved and dirt surfaces as well as a left- and right-turn road course.
Founded by John Marcum in 1953 in Toledo, Ohio, the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is recognized among the leading sanctioning bodies in the country. Closing in on completing its sixth decade after hundreds of thousands of miles of racing, ARCA administers over 100 race events each season in two professional touring series and local weekly events.