For Immediate Release:
Monday, October 10, 2011
Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge Award Humbles Buescher;
News & Notes from ARCA Racing Series at Kansas Speedway
(TOLEDO, Ohio) - Chris Buescher had watched Ty Dillon score four wins in speedway races this season, making his own lead in the Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge dissolve and disappear.
After winning the Challenge Friday night, though, Buescher said that accepting one of ARCA's top honors is humbling for him and his team.
|Credit to ARCAracing.com|
Buescher (No. 17 Reliance Tool/David Ragan Ford Ford) opened the season and his speedway campaign with a second-place finish to Bobby Gerhart (No. 5 Lucas Oil Chevrolet) at Daytona, and followed with a fifth-place run at Talladega. Runner-up results at Chicagoland and Pocono in June moved him to a 30-point lead in the special standings over Ty Dillon (No. 41 Hemelgarn/CTECH/CIPT Chevrolet), despite Dillon's wins at Talladega and Chicagoland.
But Dillon's pass of Max Gresham (No. 25 Gresham & Associates/World Crown 300 Toyota) on the final lap at Michigan two weeks later served notice to Buescher that taking the Hoosier award would not be so simple. Buescher's new advantage was just 10 points, following a fifth-place run that day.
A steady diet of short track racing in July kept the Challenge standings and Buescher's narrow lead the same until August 6, when Dillon won again at Pocono. Buescher finished third, 10 points behind Dillon, meaning the two drivers would be tied going to the Challenge's final race at Kansas.
Dillon, who will clinch the overall series championship by merely starting Sunday at Toledo Speedway, led 76 of the first 81 laps in the Kansas Lottery 98.9 and appeared to be well on his way to accepting another championship honor at the ARCA Racing Series banquet in December. Contact from a lapped car, though, removed him from contention, and Buescher took advantage.
He drove to the front of the field by passing Gresham on a late restart, and could have taken the Challenge with a victory if not for Alex Bowman's (No. 55 St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Toyota) dash from fourth place with two laps to go. Still, Buescher's second-place finish against Dillon's result five positions behind gave Buescher a final 25-point advantage.
"It's a really humbling award for all of us, really," said the winner, wearing a Hoosier hat and trademark neck band while speaking to gathered press in the Kansas Speedway media center Friday night. "I'm happy to get it, and I'm thankful. I think we had a little luck finally go our way this race, as far as getting this championship. It's one of those deals that you'll take them how you can get them. It's obviously a lot of effort in finishing in the top five in every one of them. We're real happy to get (the award)."
Though Buescher won the Challenge without winning once in the seven races on paved ovals one mile or longer - a feat last accomplished by Erin Crocker in 2007 - his consistency proved worthwhile.
"We're always close," said Buescher, whose Roulo Brothers Racing work is part of his role as a Roush Fenway Racing development driver. "It's a matter of, 'Will things fall our way?' or guys not blowing by us like we're tied to a stump. It's been a really good year for us. I wish we could have gotten the Four Crown too, but we had a little bad luck on the road course (New Jersey), unfortunately.
"We at the Roulo Brothers and I feel like we really deserve this Superspeedway Challenge. We worked really hard for it, and it's something that we're not really known for. It's huge."
With the Challenge behind him, Sunday's season finale at Toledo Speedway gives the 18-year-old Texan a final shot at this third win of the season, following victories in DuQuoin, Ill. and Salem, Ind. in recent weeks.
"(Toledo) is a place where we struggled in my first year, but we've really come into," Buescher said. "It's started to grow on me, that's for sure. We'll have the same car that we won both races (in 2010) with. It's a really good car and works really well at that particular track. I have a lot of history with it, as well, going back to the days when (Ricky) Stenhouse ran it.
"It's a track that's been really good to us. It suits my driving style pretty well. It suits that particular car we have very well. We're hoping to make some improvements to it, and hope to get out there and start testing."
Championship One Start Away: Late contact from a lapped car forced Ty Dillon into the wall late in the Kansas Lottery 98.9, erasing his chance at contention after his dominant performance early in the race. Though Dillon lost his shot at the Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge Award, he tightened his grip on a greater prize: the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship.
Dillon now leads Buescher by 335 points, meaning that merely entering and starting Sunday's Toledo ARCA 200 presented by Federated Car Care at Toledo Speedway - the season finale - will make him the 29th champion in ARCA Racing Series history.
"It was a great race," said Dillon. "I'm really happy for my guys. It's a good day for Chevy and my whole team. Our guys dominated all night: restarts, during the race, pit stops, just the whole race.
"I'm just really disappointed that a car that's getting lapped every three laps can't get out of your way, so that's as far as I'm going to go on that incident."
Dillon won the Aaron's Lap Leader Award for leading 76 of 99 laps, and won the Messina Halfway Leader Award for holding the race lead at the halfway point.
He won at Toledo Speedway in May, and will go there with a chance to secure his series-leading eighth victory of 2011. A win would make him only the 33rd driver in series history with 10 or more wins.
Every driver in the top 10 kept their position. Frank Kimmel (No. 44 Ansell/Menards Ford), Grant Enfinger (No. 36 BeasleyAllen.com/Hoosier Tire Midwest Dodge), and Chad McCumbee (No. 1 ModSpace Ford) follow the two leaders.
Tim George Jr. (No. 31 Applebee's/Potomac Family Dining Group Chevrolet), Tom Hessert (No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet), Chad Hackenbracht (No. 58 Tastee Caramel Apples Chevrolet), Sean Corr (No. 82 Empire Racing Ford), and Darrell Basham (No. 34 Darrell Basham Racing Chevrolet) hold the sixth through 10th positions.
Currently, the closest margin between any two top-10 drivers is 70 points, George's deficit to McCumbee for fifth. Hessert trails George for sixth by 80, and Corr trails Hackenbracht for eighth by 90.
The full and official ARCA Racing Series point standings will be released Tuesday.
Bowman Hopeful for More Races: Alex Bowman has only made two starts in the ARCA Racing Series, and his success in both has him wanting more.
"I hope we can make it to Toledo or Daytona," he said. "I'd love to run more races, but as we all know, a lot of it's about funding. It's something we're looking for to run more races."
Chris Buescher, who finished second, is another driver hoping Bowman gets another chance.
"I was in a little bit of shock," he said about Bowman's Lap 97 pass after driving from fourth place. "I had no clue there was anybody that fast coming up. I really did not have any warning. When we got by (Gresham) on the restart, I really thought we could hold him off. Next thing I know, I had this guy blowing by me. It was discouraging, but at the same time, we're happy to finish second."
Buescher then turned to Bowman, who was seated next to him in the Kansas Speedway interview room.
"Congratulations to Alex. I believe I've finished second to him twice now. I hope if you go to Toledo we can get you there."
Bowman's move from USAC midgets to stock cars may look like a breeze for the 18-year-old Tucson, Ariz. driver, but he insists that it's not.
"It's not easy," he said. "I have to attribute a lot of this to Venturini Motorsports. You look at them, and everyone who's gotten in their cars has won. Toward the middle part of the race when we were going backward, that was the only time I ever complained about a really bad car in the time I've been testing and driving for Venturini. It's always spot on, and I just can't thank them enough. They make my job a heck of a lot easier."
Friday Night Pleases Enfinger: Grant Enfinger drove Allgaier Motorsports to third place in the Kansas Lottery 98.9, and said after the race that he enjoyed the chance to race in prime time under Kansas Speedway's new lights.
"Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't be too thrilled about third place, but we've had such bad luck the last few weeks and we've really struggled on the bigger tracks this season," he said. "We've made a lot of gains with this Allgaier Motorsports car. It's a car we haven't raced this year; it's been a long time since they ran it. Overall, it was a pretty good day for us."
Enfinger said that racing on a Friday night instead of a Thursday, as in 2010, "made for a better show" despite the minor logistical and scheduling challenges associated with racing in conjunction with the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series.
Gresham, Gale Shine at Kansas: Max Gresham's fourth-place finish completed a day in which he won the Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell, his second this year and his third in 12 career starts. Venturini Motorsports has now won seven poles this season, equaling seven from Richard Childress Racing.
Cale Gale (No. 33 Rheem Chevrolet) drove his Kevin Harvick, Inc. car to fifth place, his sixth top-five finish in nine career ARCA Racing Series starts.
Dufault Wins CGS Hard Charger Award: Maryeve Dufault (No. 12 Race Engines Plus/Dodge Motorsports Dodge) participated in an ARCA Racing Series event for the first time since the August 6 race at Pocono, and yet again won the CGS Imaging Hard Charger of the Race Award.
Dufault improved 14 spots from a starting position of 32nd to finish 18th. Her rise was greater than that of any other driver who did not use a provisional to start the Kansas Lottery 98.9.
Lofton Rebounds for Career High: Matt Lofton (No. 16 Strutmasters.com Chevrolet) finished sixth in the Kansas Lottery 98.9, a career high in five starts between 2010 and 2011. Lofton had to rebound after spinning in Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell earlier in the day and starting with a provisional from the 36th position in a 38-car field.
Drivers Meet Fans at Kansas City Cabela's: Activity for the race weekend started Thursday with setup and inspection in the ARCA Racing Series garage, which was followed by a driver autograph session at a Cabela's store near Kansas Speedway.
19 drivers participated in the session and met fans for one hour: Alex Bowman, Colin Braun, Sean Corr, George Cushman, Maryeve Dufault, Milka Duno, Grant Enfinger, Charles Evans Jr., Spencer Gallagher, Buster Graham, Max Gresham, Chad Hackenbracht, James Hylton, Scott Lagasse Jr., Michael Leavine, Matt Lofton, Jared Marks, Chad McCumbee, and Ryan Wilson.
Season Finale at ARCA's Home Track Up Next: The Toledo ARCA 200 presented by Federated Car Care at Toledo Speedway will close the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season, completing a schedule of 19 races over speedways, short tracks, dirt tracks, and a road course.
Grant Enfinger, who finished second to Ty Dillon there in May, is looking forward to the finale at the track located just six miles and over a state border from ARCA's home office in Temperance, Mich.
"Toledo's one of my favorite tracks," he said. "It's where I really started my racing career in the ARCA Racing Series, and it's the first place I had (sponsor) Beasley Allen on my car in ARCA. I hope we have a good car. We'll have the same car we ran there earlier in the year, so hopefully we'll have another good run and be in contention to win."
Toledo Speedway will host two practices on Saturday, October 15, with one from noon to 12:45 p.m., and the second from 1:40 to 2:25. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell will decide the final ARCA pole winner of 2011 at 4 p.m., preceding a USAC Midget feature and a USAC Silver Crown feature to close the first day of the track's championship weekend.
On Sunday, October 16, an on-track autograph session for all fans from noon to 1 p.m. will precede the 200-lap, 100-mile Toledo ARCA 200, which will start at 2 p.m.
Advance discount tickets for the Menards 200 are available at Toledo-area Menards stores, including locations in Sandusky, Findlay, and Defiance. Race fans can save on ticket prices through October 14.
Toledo Speedway is located at 5639 Benore Road in northeast Toledo, just off I-75 and Alexis Road near the Michigan/Ohio border. More information is available by calling (419) 727-1100 or by visiting ARCARacing.com.
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.