The ARCA Truck Series Banquet is coming up Saturday night, November 12th, 2011 at the Park Inn Motel in downtown Toledo, Ohio! As we look forward to that night, we will review the top ten points finishers, counting up from 10th to the 2011 ARCA Truck Series champion! Here we take a look at Ash Hawkins., who gained 2070 points and finished third in the standings!
Millersport, Ohio — Ash Hawkins has surrounded himself with engines his whole life, and it didn’t matter how many wheels it had or where it went — he’s wanted to go fast in them! Motocross, drag racing, and he fixes cars for others so THEY can keep going and going fast — the Canfield, Ohio resident is surrounded by vehicles, and has made the ARCA Truck Series home and been a full-time competitor since 2008! He may have missed a race here or there when he first started, but when the #16 is on the track, you can be sure other drivers know when he signs in because you have to take the position — there’s no way he’s even gonna think about giving it to you! But like anyone else, especially in the auto repair business, the soft-spoken competitor is surrounded by vehicles all day, then all night as well! Sometimes knee deep in automotive fluids, you have to fight burnout!
“I’m in the shop all day long fixing cars for eight, ten hours a day. Then I go right back to the shop and work on the truck for another five or six or more,” explained Hawkins earlier in the season. “Sometimes I look around and wonder if it’s worth it. But winning helps, then Joel comes over and we get more done, then someone else, then someone else, then pretty soon, there’s a group of people in the shop and we get everything done pretty quick and then we call it a night we can make it another day!” Ash may be somewhat thankful he didn’t give up on the run for the crown as he finished five points out of second to defending champion Chris Bailey, Jr. and scored his first series win and won his first two Fire Tiger Poles!
The year began the year with a tenth at the PMG 50 at Toledo Speedway in Ohio on May 14th. But two weeks later at Flat Rock Speedway in Michigan, everyone thought it was gonna be his day and was leading when the rains came before halfway, so the results were whipped out and the event was rescheduled! June 25th at the Landrum Springs 50 at Winchester Speedway in Indiana saw a much better result as Ash, who kidded that he had thought of not coming, put his fiancé Kathy’s Chevy on his first ever Fire Tiger Pole! But during the race, Ash got together with Brad Yunker and tore up the right front suspension and had to go behind the wall. The beating and banging continued the next Friday in the Kirsch Automotive/Ed & Co. Racing Supplies 100 at Kil-Kare Speedway near Dayton, Ohio as Ash and Kenny Kirsch traded paint midway through the race, but Ash soldiered on to finish second, which up to that time was his best ever ARCA Truck Series finish! Saturday, July 9th at Columbus Motor Speedway in the Glockner Oil 50, Hawkins chalked up another top five with a finish right behind winner Kirsch, Shawn Szep and Yunker – his chief combatants, among others, later in the year for the title!
The return trip to Flat Rock August 6th was one Ash and Joel would soon forget as they placed seventh. The next weekend, the ARCATruckRacing.com 125 got the green at a new venue – Newport Speedway in Newport, Tennessee and the familiar #16 had an eighth. However, racing fortunes turn and a month later and at Lake County Speedway in Ohio on Labor Day weekend for the Lincoln Welders 100, everyone knew it was gonna be a “protect the bottom” event, and early leader Yunker was putting that strategy to good use – until lap 42 when he slipped up half a lane and the black and green truck raced by and led the rest of the way for their first series triumph! Then for the CGS Imaging 30 at Mid-Ohio, Ash continued the roll by winning his second pole of the year and finished third and placed himself within shouting distance of second in the standings heading into the Lifeguard Medical Supply 50 in the season finale at Sandusky! But during practice, they blew the motor, so they towed home and replaced it and came back to star on the tail and coming up through the pack, Hawkins got into another truck and flattened the left front, but he drove it like that for almost 20 laps before pitting when the rubber started to shred. He returned to the track and placed sixth and was only five points behind runner-up Chris Bailey in the final tally!
Truck owner Kathy was very excited about the season and said, “Our season this year was the best so far. Our team seemed to finally produce a very successful year after all the hard work that Ash and Joel has put into it in the last few years, and Joel has come a long way in his mechanical learnings, being that he is a trim carpenter and knew very little about working on race trucks –actually Ash built his dragster motor and helped him with his mechanical issues, but if you know Ash and Joel like I know them, they never stopped putting their heads together to try and figure out how to get the very best performance out of the truck. As far as myself, as a spotter, I tried to listen more to what Ash needed to hear while he was out there on the race track trying to move up in positions — if he needed to be on the inside of the track or the outside of the track he would discuss this with me before each race — so I guess what I am trying to say is it takes a lot of patience and good communication skills with your team and your driver!”
Come see Ash Hawkins and Kathy Lewis honored at the 2011 ARCA Truck Series Awards Banquet at the Park Inn in downtown Toledo, Ohio! Tickets are still available, and the general public is welcome, Saturday night, November 12th! So get your reservations in today by contacting the ARCA Truck Series. Also at that event, the results of a fan vote for the Door 2 Door Delivery 2011 ARCA Truck Series Most Popular Driver will also be announced! Ballots are being counted until November 1st, 2011 and are available in the 2010 ARCA Truck Series Yearbook & 2011 Press Guide! Look online at that site for information on ordering some.
The ARCA Truck Series featured nine events on its 2011 schedule, and is completing its second full season by the Phoenix Management Group, LLC, (or PMG) of Millersport, Ohio, under a licensing agreement with the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA). The ARCA Truck Series ran its first full season under ARCA’s direction 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 four cylinder, V-6 & Ford crate V-8 powered trucks to asphalt tracks of many sizes under one mile, road courses, 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.
Following the ARCA Truck Series has become easier than ever lately! For in-depth stories, continually log on to ARCATruckRacing.com. For instant “ARCA Truck Series Right Now News Alerts” text messages, please email [email protected] and ask to be added to that list. You can now also follow the series on Twitter at @ARCATruckRacing, there is an “ARCA Truck Series” Facebook page, “ARCA Truck Racing” is on LinkedIn, and you can see race highlights on youtube.com at the ARCA Truck Series page at http://youtube.com/arcatrucks !