Despite The Szep Spotlight, Others Did Shine At Lake County!
Painesville, Ohio (June 11th, 2016) — When it’s said a driver “won the weekend”, it refers to a competitor whom led practice, took the pole, then won the race. Well Shawn Szep has been in that spotlight the last two weekends starting with Toledo May 21st and now today at Lake County. And if you want to count the rained out Columbus event, he led practice there as well.
However, other drivers are starting to put it together and beginning to shine in 2016.
Let’s start with Billy Strehle. As he began climbing through the practice times at Toledo, he broke a right front center hub and had to be towed back to the pits. Then during the race, his #26 jumped into the lead for five laps before more right front issues which put him out of the race. Let’s jump to Lake County. Despite brake issues in qualifying, Strehle won his heat race (as did his teammate Brian Taylor) and with the inversion of eight, started on the inside of the front row and when the green flag dropped, he was gone! By the middle of the race, he was already lapping trucks. But by lap 40, he was visibly slowing but still maintained the lead. The halfway break at lap 51 gave him a chance to pit. When racing restarted, Strehle rolled off third as the inversion was three. Brad Yunker and Szep were fighting up front but Strehle was right behind. However, Yunker got together with lapped traffic and made contact with the turn one wall and was out for the day which left the race to Szep and Strehle. Nonetheless, the eventual winner would not be challenged.
“The truck was on rails as we started the race,” said Billy, who finished second for the second time in his ARCA Truck Series career, equaling his best. “I think we had the truck to beat tonight. But right before halfway the brake pedal was going to the floor. We were able to get some brakes back when we pitted but it was a good run and thanks to my guys.”
Let’s go to Yunker. He made his 100th start last race at Toledo and finished second there to match his best. This season he’s been focusing on his first win now more than ever and partnered with Steve Perkins SPEAR Motorsports team. During the first half here, Yunker bode his time in third and with the inversion of three, he would start on the inside of the front row. And at Lake County, the inside lane is where you need to be. When racing resumed, Yunker was holding off Szep, who would give him the occasional bump from behind to remind him he was there. But coming up on lap 75, Yunker and Kish got together and, along with Brandon Huff, ended up in the turn one boiler plate. When Yunker was towed back to the pits and he and the team inspected the front end, they realized they couldn’t continue on. Yunker, visibly upset, had to be momentarily stopped from heading toward Kish. Yunker made a point to say “we had a really good truck and Shawn and I were going to have a real good battle at the end. Some people just don’t use their heads or spotters for that matter.”
Following Lake County, the ARCA Truck Series will present six of their events at four new venues this season. Spitzer Speedway (formerly known as Mansfield Motorsports Park) will host two events, August 27th, 2016 and the next is to be determined. The Spitzer Speedway is a half-mile oval race track located in Mansfield, Ohio. It features moderately high banks and a wide racing surface, making it suitable for close racing and passing.
Lorain County Speedway will host two events as well. The first event will be held on July 9, 2016 and the second will be a two day event, October 1-2, 2016. Lorain County Speedway is located in Amherst Township, near South Amherst, Ohio. This track is a 3/8-mile asphalt oval, with 12 degree banking in both turns, and slight banking on the straightaways. It will be at the Lorain County Speedway where additional milestones will be reached. As a company, Phoenix Management Group of Ohio, LLC will celebrate its 60th race during the July event. As part of PMG’s celebration, the annual ARCA Truck Series Family Day at Cedar Point is scheduled for July 10, 2016.
Shady Bowl Speedway, the world’s fastest 3/10th of a mile asphalt speedway, will open its track to ARCA Truck Series on July 2, 2016. Shady Bowl Speedway is located in De Graff, Ohio.
On August 6, 2016 the series will race at Midvale Speedway, in New Philadelphia, Ohio, a 3/10 mile, semi banked, asphalt oval.
Kentucky Motor Speedway, a 1/4 mile paved oval in Whitesville, Kentucky, will host the annual ARCA Truck Series family celebration during Labor Day weekend. Keeping with tradition, the cookout will be September 3, 2016 and the race will be September 4, 2016.
As has been since 2012, the ARCA Truck Series season finale is at Lake County October 15-16th, these dates will mark milestones for Phoenix Management Group of Ohio, LLC. It will be the 11th straight annual event held at the Lake County Speedway. And as a whole, the ARCA Truck Series will celebrate its 200th event during the October race.
So make your plans now to be a part of another historic ARCA Truck Series season!
The ARCA Truck Series just completed its sixth full season presented by the Phoenix Management Group of Ohio, LLC, (or PMG) of Millersport, Ohio in 2015, under a licensing agreement with the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA).
The ARCA Truck Series (ATS) ran exhibition races late in 1998 with the first full season in 1999. Today, the series has grown into one of the most versatile in short track racing, having taken popular four cylinder, V-6 & V-8 sealed crate engine powered trucks to asphalt tracks of many sizes under one mile, road courses, and numerous dirt tracks in its history.
The Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is among the leading and most diverse auto racing sanctioning bodies in the country. Founded in 1953 by John and Mildred Marcum, the organization administers more than 100 events each year.
Following the ARCA Truck Series has become easier than ever lately! For in-depth stories, continually log on to ARCATruckRacing.com. You can now also follow the series on Twitter at @ARCATruckRacing, there is an “ARCA Truck Series” Facebook page, “ARCA Truck Series” on YouTube and “ARCA Truck Racing” is on LinkedIn.