Xenia, OH (July 1st, 2011) — Paul Hahn won the last ARCA Truck Series (presented by the Phoenix Management Group) event run here in 2008. However, it didn’t seem like he forgot much of how to run the odd-shaped Ohio oval as he again found victory lane in the Ed & Co./Kirsch Automotive 100 lap race at the well-known facility east of Dayton. And it didn’t get lost on the three-time champion that what worked before, would probably work again under the hood!
“Kil-Kare! What a unique track! Came here with basically the same setup as in ’08 (where he also led 29 laps) and pretty much did the same things as then,” explained the pilot of the #7 Turbo Air Drying/Hahn’s Collision/Fox Auto Parts Chevy. “Except back then, I started more toward the back and had to work my way up.”
Kenny Kirsch, Jr., put his Kirsch Automotive/NAPA Legends Batteries Chevy on the Fire Tiger Pole with a new track record lap at 14.120 seconds (Hahn had set the previous bar in 2008 with a 14.127 seconds). As part of the ARCA Truck Series inversion process, Kirsch was then required to throw the dice and they came up six so that’s where he started. That put veteran Ron Wells, who led practice consistently lap after lap and with his fastest being a 14.266 over Hahn’s 14.285, at the pole position with Tim Schafer (also quick in practice and then knocked off the pole by friend Kirsch – with both being backed by Kirsch Automotive) right alongside and Hahn in third. At the wave of the green flag, Wells, in his #6 Oakley Blacktop/D & M Auto Parts Chevy, then jumped into the lead and “was just playing with ‘em” as he held Hahn at bay by at least three to four Trucks lengths lap after lap.
On lap 10 Craig Meyers Classic Coupes/Regency Kennels Dodge, lost a tire and spun through the front stretch, prompting the first caution of the night. Some resulting suspension damage kept him from getting going again which required a push and in the meantime, leader Wells stalled on the backstretch. Although in the ARCA Truck Series caution laps do not count, a competitor still must maintain his position, and Wells now also required assistance from Keith Wyss, rolled into his pit and the crew was able to refire the engine. However, the diagnosis was issues in the fuel pump, and it wouldn’t be long before he joined Meyers and Mike Young on the sidelines.
The race restarted with Hahn now in the lead on lap 11, with Schafer, Ash Hawkins, Kirsch, DJ Safety Rookie of the Year hopeful Shawn Szep, Nathan Trepkowski, Brad Yunker, Frank Wilson Jr., another DJ Safety Rookie of the Year candidate Brandon Huff and 2010 ARCA Truck Series champ Chris Bailey Jr. in tow, and, this being the Fourth of July weekend, the driver’s didn’t disappoint as the fireworks were about to start – Hawkins, Kirsch and Szep got together fighting for third coming off of turn two, the former two getting together forcing Szep’s THIKtees.com Chevy to turn around to miss them both. Kirsch sustaining heavy right front damage while Hawkins drove through the grass to save his A & K Racing Chevy. Hawkins and Kirsch were then sent to the tail.
On lap 17, Chief Starter Mike Bridge threw the green flag and Schafer was all over Hahn’s bumper for the first few laps, but that familiar “whine” as the Canton, MI resident applied power could be heard from behind headphones and Hahn slowly began to pull away again. Szep then moved in on Schafer in a fight for runner up, with Wilson in the Advocare Ford V-8 power next, followed by Trepkowski, Yunker, Kirsch and Huff nose to tail. On lap 33, Szep cleared Schafer, the next one in line to try and catch Hahn as Kirsch climbed into fifth on Wilson’s bumper, and then passing him at circuit 34 and was now working Schafer.
On some laps, Szep would close, other laps the distance would maintain, but one thing was for certain – Hahn would have to have trouble if he was to lose on this night. However, trouble was what others were experiencing as Wilson dropped out on lap 43 with brake issues. When the caution came out on lap 51, Trepkowski’s B & J Auto Parts Chevy went by with an obvious miss, then exited the event a couple of laps later.
The green was unfurled again at lap 52 and Kirsch got the quick jump on Szep and it was his turn to chase leader Hahn. Szep, however, apparently had trouble with the transmission, getting passed first by Schafer, Yunker, Hawkins and by lap 56 had fallen all the way to sixth. Yunker’s Owens Community College/CGS Imaging Chevy then made his move, passing Schafer for third on lap 64. However, the yellow was again displayed on lap 68 for turn two debris (which was quickly cleaned) and racing resumed on lap 69. Kirsch, trying to keep up with Hahn, spun down the frontstretch, prompting the caution again. He pitted and his crew started pulling on right front sheet metal and he returned to the action. Schafer reinherited second again, and Szep was again right behind with Hawkins now third and Yunker fourth. Runner up was the fight to watch as Szep worked Schafer’s rear deck. On lap 81, Kirsch almost spun again on the frontstraight and pitted, where the crew again went to the right front but it was to no avail as he was now out due to handling.
Szep finally got around Schafer on lap 77 as Hawkins, now fourth, and Yunker fifth, drew some attention with some aggressive moves and by lap 84, both got by Schafer. On lap 92 Huff, running sixth and trying to work on Schafer for fifth, spun backwards into turn one in his Early’s Crane Rental and Service Chevy but got going again which got Bailey his second lap back of the night in his C.A. Bailey Excavating/Ed & Co. Racing Supplies Chevy, and lined everybody up for the final restart of the night on lap 93.
As racing resumed, the fight for second got as warm as the evening air as Szep, Hawkins and Yunker began their shoving match. At the end of 100 laps, Hahn crossed the line first to win his second race in a row (and his first since his second championship winning season of 2008, a year in which he also took four in a row as well, making it seven total) but Hawkins and Szep got together at the line with Hawkins completing his comeback to second while Szep went spinning across the line, but not before beating Yunker for third to the white stripe, his best ever ARCA Truck showing and was also the highest finishing DJ Safety Rookie, Huff claimed fifth for his best ARCA Truck Series finish, as well as the Ed & Co. Racing Supplies Hard Charger Award. Bailey placed sixth and Schafer took seventh. Fellow DJ Safety Rookie of the Year candidates Marcus Jones (in his Best One Tire/Jones & Sons Chevy) and Russell Henderson (in the Kentucky Builders Ford) took eighth and ninth, also making this Henderson’s best ARCA Truck Series finish. And, as the highest finishing Ford, Henderson took that $100.00 Ford Challenge bonus.
With United States flags waving prominently in victory lane on this holiday weekend, and in the paint job on his “Silver Bullet”, the ARCA Truck Series all-time leading winner with 28 (four more than second place and fellow three-time champion Chad Guinn) did not forget what time of year it was. “Everyone on the team worked hard. We’re glad to be back here at Kil-Kare and thank all the fans for coming out tonight and we hope to be back again and hope you all have a Happy Fourth of July weekend!” He also helped give his dad, car owner and crew chief Rick Hahn another pair of Georgia Boots (which is awarded to the winning crew chief, as well as a fan in the stands who enters via an entry form at the ARCA Souvenir Trailer on the grounds at every ARCA Truck Series event and drawn by the winner in every ARCA Truck Series victory lane), as well as taking another Safety Kleen Crew Chief of the Race Award and that flowing “Star Spangled Banner” presented by the Series.
The next event for the ARCA Truck Series will be this Saturday night, July 9th at Columbus Motor Speedway, the first time the Series has ever competed at it’s home track. Practice begins at 4:30 P.M., while two laps of Fire Tiger Pole Qualifying goes off at 6:00 P.M. and the green flag for the Glockner Oil 75 lap event while be waved at approximately 8:30 P.M.!
The ARCA Truck Series features 10 events at 9 tracks on its 2011 schedule, and is operated for the second season by the Phoenix Management Group, LLC, under a licensing agreement with ARCA. The ARCA Truck Series ran its first full season under ARCA sanction in 1999, after evolving from the Pro-4 Series, which was sanctioned by ARCA for the previous nine years. Today, the series has grown into one of the most versatile series in short track racing, having taken popular V-6 & V-8 powered trucks to asphalt tracks of many sizes under one mile, a road course, and numerous dirt tracks in its history.
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.
For more information please contact kschwarze@arcatruckra[email protected] or go to ARCATruckRacing.com