Illinois: Series round 14 preview
Off to the Fairgrounds: ARCA Moving To Springfield Dirt Mile (TOLEDO, Ohio) - The allure of the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards, in addition to nearly 60 years of history as the base for competition for seasoned and ...
Off to the Fairgrounds: ARCA Moving To Springfield Dirt Mile
(TOLEDO, Ohio) - The allure of the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards, in addition to nearly 60 years of history as the base for competition for seasoned and developmental drivers alike, includes the wide variety of surfaces the series reaches every year.
Superspeedways visited by the ARCA Racing Series are often the most recognized stops on the schedule for teams and fans, and short tracks are the hallmarks on which the series was born and continues to thrive. Even road courses have taken a strong footing in recent years, with four of the series' 14 road races taking place in the past three seasons alone.
Dirt racing, however, is where the ARCA Racing Series separates itself. The series remains the highest major level of stock car racing to compete on dirt, and this weekend's Allen Crowe 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill. will be the series' first of two dirt races this season and the 329th dirt event of 1,307 total races in the series' history. The race serves a feature event for the Illinois State Fair, which this week celebrates its 158th year.
The 100-lap, 100-mile Allen Crowe 100 is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Central (2 Eastern) on Sunday, August 22, with live timing and scoring and live audio coverage presented by ARCA Nation at ARCARacing.com. 27 previous ARCA races have been held at the Illinois State Fairgrounds; points leader Frank Kimmel (No. 44 Ansell/Menards Ford) is the all-time win leader in Springfield with seven victories between 2000 and 2008. Kimmel leads Craig Goess (No. 81 Greenville Toyota of N.C. Toyota) by 10 points in the series standings, and the top seven drivers are separated by just 105 points in what remains a thrilling championship battle.
The race is named in honor of Springfield native Allen Crowe, who died from injuries sustained in a sprint car accident at New Bremen (Ohio) Speedway in 1963. Past winners include A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, Ken Schrader, Ramo Stott, Don White, Roger McCluskey, Bob Keselowski, Jack Bowsher, Bobby Isaac, Dean Roper and Curtis Turner.
The lone practice is scheduled for 9 a.m. Central, with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell - which has produced 11 different pole winners in 12 qualifying sessions this season - taking place at 11 a.m. Live audio coverage and live timing and scoring of all events will be available on ARCARacing.com.
The Allen Crowe 100 is the 14th race of 20 this season and the third of four in pursuit of the Bill France Four Crown, the season-within-a-season contest which rewards ARCA Racing Series drivers for success on a diverse slate of tracks. The Four Crown schedule is comprised completely of the ARCA Racing Series races scheduled for August, with the final race to be held at the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway on August 27. Joey Coulter (No. 16 Rip It Energy Fuel/Darrell Gwynn Foundation Chevrolet) leads Tom Hessert and Frank Kimmel by 30 points in the Four Crown standings on the strength of his August 7 win at the 0.4-mile Berlin (Mich.) Raceway and a second-place finish on August 15 at the Thunderbolt Raceway road course at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
The ARCA Racing Series features a number of drivers whose backgrounds are in dirt racing, and among the most prominent are Steve Arpin (No. 55 Mike's Hard Lemonade Toyota) and Patrick Sheltra (No. 60 Recycling Services/Ferguson Pipe Dodge). Arpin, of Fort Frances, Ont., near Minnesota, raced mini-Sprint cars early in his career before winning two WISSOTA Modified championships at Emo (Ont.) Speedway, in 1999 and 2001. Arpin rose to prominence in Modified cars in the United States throughout the decade, and won the Minnesota Modified national championship and USAC Silver Crown Series Rookie of the Year awards in 2008.
Arpin has won twice this season, at Salem (Ind.) Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway, and Sheltra hopes to join him on a list which includes 12 different winners in 13 races. Recent results indicate Sheltra's opportunity to be as good as any. The Indiantown, Fla. native has a background in dirt Late Model racing and has followed through with success in the ARCA Racing Series, finishing third in both 2007 and 2009 at the Springfield track.
Ron Cox, a former full-time competitor in the ARCA Racing Series, finished second one year ago and will enter the No. 23 Chevrolet for owner Wayne Hixson. Cox and Sheltra are the highest-returning finishers from last season's race. A.J. Fike, who finished fourth and resides in Galesburg, Ill., will return in the No. 10 Ford for owner Andy Hillenburg. Arpin finished fifth last season, and Will Kimmel (eighth in 2009) and Frank Kimmel (ninth) will also return from last season's top 10.
Other Illinois drivers expected to race are Kelly Kovski of Springfield (No. 17 Ford), Mark Littleton of Arenzville (No. 5 Chevrolet), and Kyle Logue of Cisco (No. 8 Chevrolet) in what will be his first start in the series.