Painesville, Ohio (June 2nd, 2012) — At 64 years young, some people are ready to retire, take it easy, travel to far away lands! For Ft. Wayne, Indiana resident Steve Christman, that thought hasn’t even crossed his mind! And it was evident as he held off the strong ARCA Truck Series mounts of Shawn Szep and Danny Jackson at Randy Holbrooks Jr’s. Lake County Speedway for his first series win since 2009! “Oh no, I enjoy working on cars, I work full-time,” said the soft-spoken driver of the yellow #99 Blaine Miller owned Chevy! “It was a tough race, but this was fun right here!”
It could almost be deemed the perfect weekend for the ARCA Truck Series, from the close field of loyal competitors, to the almost picture perfect cool breezes and sunshine and colorful wispy clouds, and Danny Jackson won his season leading third straight Gunr4sr.com – iRacing Pole Award in front of the tremendous crowd that always greets the truckers when they come to northeastern Ohio! His lap was Series record of 12.955 — only two tenths of a second off the all-time track record — but his inversion was 10 so Chad Poorman started on the inside front row and led from the outset, leaving the battle behind him for runner-up between Ash Hawkins, Chris Bailey, Cody Quarrick, Shawn Szep, Christman, Jackson, Marcus Jones and Mansfield, stretching out his lead to almost a straightaway at one point in the race!
With Lake County’s tight quarters, beating and banging happen quite often, and getting down toward the finish it was happening here, but sheet metal gets loose when that happens and comes off, and on lap 61, the yellow was out for debris (caution laps do not count in the ARCA Truck Series) and Szep pitted when officials told him his exhaust pipe was hanging loose. The green flag waved and Jackson was now second, followed by Hawkins. On lap 67, Christman went under Hawkins and got by and Bailey tried to follow but he and Hawkins got together and the caution was out again for the resulting spin.
As racing resumed, Christman was on Poorman’s tail with Quarrick and Mansfield right behind. In the pack, Jones, who lost a lap earlier in the race, and Hawkins, got together and Jones went through the turn two grass momentarily but kept going and quickly came back on the track and no caution was needed. On lap 91, Christman saw his opportunity — as the pack was catching lapped traffic, Poorman slipped up the track slightly and Christman dove underneath. Quarrick attempted the same move but Poorman came down and again, the caution was out for the spin. When Mike Bridge’s green flag restarted the event, Christman looked like a rocket up off the corner but the other truck gaining attention and moving forward was Szep, who moved into second, holding off Jackson, Bailey and Jones and would finish that way, proving no match for Christman, who took his fifth series checkered flag!
“The high side just wasn’t working tonight. So we had to use that bottom. Chad — it was great racing with him and he’s going to win more races, and I’d have been ok with finishing second to him, but he slipped up just a little bit and I was able to get by! But his time is coming!” It appears Steve Christman’s time isn’t finished yet either!
Szep, Marysville, Ohio: “It’s hard to pass here and you have to be a little aggressive. Maybe there are some guys who thought I was too aggressive, but we’ll take a second place, especially to a guy like Christman and congratulations to him! We’ve had a rough year so far, but I’m just happy with the result and would like to thank THIKtees.com, Pro Star Designs, NAPA, AMSOIL and EA Schaffer Oil Company and also my crew chief Craig Herron deserves a lot of the credit for the great run!”
Danny Jackson, Batavia, Ohio (#5 Widow Wax/Red Bank Transport/Lykins Companies/Hart’s Machines Service Chevy): “I don’t know where that 81 truck (Szep) came from! Kind of a rough race, we had a truck capable of winning and got it to third. Got yelled at for being a little rough, but you can ask anybody – if I got into anybody, they’ll tell you we all got it gathered back out, and kept racing. I started points racing when I fell back there but I don’t think we missed it (the set-up) but we did get a little loose up off (the turns).”
Poorman, Montpelier, Ohio (#3 Gearhart Timber Management Chevy): “Little rough out there, but the #99 got under me — I screwed up a little bit coming off of four and Steve got by me and then the #25 got in there a little deep and spun us. You can be mad about but I’m not mad! Then we had a right front going flat, but at least we had a truck we could race with, compared to the last couple of weeks! It was fun, it was a good race!”
Quarrick, Uniontown, PA (#25 Quarrick Racing S347JR Ford V8): “Kept all the fenders on it, finished ninth, but had a bit of a learning experience not knowing all the series rules (with the contact with Poorman and being sent back for it), and we won’t let that happen again! We’re there in site of the leaders, and now we just got to finish the job to get that first win! We’re close, the competition is so close, one little slip and they’re there, but one little slip and we’re there (in victory lane)!”
Jones (#55 Best One Tire/Jones and Sons S347JR V-8 Ford): “Our first top five! It was a lot of fun, and we hope from now on to do a lot better but this one we’ll take it! And just got the payoff for it, so maybe I’ll go copy that check and frame it!”
Race Notes: runner-up Szep celebrated his birthday the day before the race and said with a sly smile, “I just turned 29″! Also, his Chevy finished its first event of the year after suffering through two straight DNF’s at Toledo and Flat Rock, and it also matches his career best finish from Columbus last year; with his fifth place, Wheatland, Indiana’s Jones proves that you should “never give up” – his S347JR V-8 Ford and Hawkins got together late in the race and drove through the grass, and as late as the last caution, he was a lap down, but Jones got the free pass and recorded his “best”; Carter gave away a broken piece of sheet metal of his step-dad Mike Szoka’s #18 Ken’s Auto Body Chevy to a Lake County fan after the event.
Qualifying Notes: Jackson won his third straight Gunr4sr-iRacing.com Pole Award with a track record of 12.955 over Quarrick’s 13.147 seconds! The point leader had praise for the facility! “I actually like (this track)! It’s a tight little paper clip but it’s a lot of fun! Tom (Cumbow, Series General Manager) and Robbin (Slaughter, Series Operations Manager) do a great job and I just wish there were more trucks here, but this is a great series and we’re having a great time!” He then rolled two on the dice, but if a driver rolls anything under a six they must roll again, so Jackson rolled again and had a three and five and was inverted to 10th! Third fastest was Christman, Bailey, Szep, Poorman, Carter, Hawkins, Huff, Mansfield, Jones and Yunker. After qualifying, Mansfield and Carter made post-time trial changes and were forced to the rear of the starting line, moving everyone else up two spaces. Jackson also led Quarrick in practice with a lap of 13.061 to 13.087 seconds.
The ARCA Truck Series completed its second full season presented by the Phoenix Management Group of Ohio, LLC, (or PMG) of Millersport, Ohio in 2011, 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 V-8 crate 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.
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