Shawn Szep Closes Out The ARCA Truck Series Run At Columbus; Wins His Fifth Out Of Six!
Obetz, Ohio (July 23rd, 2016) – Point leader Shawn Szep has owned the 2016 ARCA Truck Series season. There’s no two ways about it…he has been almost perfect. He has shattered the record for best start to a campaign in the first six races. He has won five out of six Carmen’s Vacuum Pole Awards (taking the first three, then the next two) but also set the record for most poles in a row at five (two last year and three this year), and has visited five out of six Lincoln Welders Victory Lanes (pulling into the first two, then winning these next three) and finished second at Angola. He has also led 440 laps coming into Columbus and tonight tied the all-time record for races led in a row at seven (both Chad Poorman and Jeff Myers, Jr. held the previous mark alone until tonight. However, both did it in one year while Szep led Lake County last year and six races this year).
“I was asked about the success we are having in 2016. We have been fortunate this year for sure. Avoiding trouble on the track and issues with the truck have been minimal but we had a power steering line rupture in practice today. Fortunately that happened when it did as we were able to get the Hot Rod fixed up before qualifying. If that would have happened during the feature, it likely would’ve but us out! But this Hangar 18 Racecars chassis and our Finney Racing Enterprises Shock Package are hooked up,” said the race winner, who then added with a chuckle, “and oh yeah…my Crew Chief Craig Herron ain’t too shabby either!”
Again, unless he led every lap, you can’t get much better than that.
But Szep also set a record that no one will ever be able to beat: he won the final ARCA Truck Series race at the Columbus Motor Speedway. It is widely well known that the facility has sold out to the city and this year will be the last for racing at the track that opened in 1946. In the 1980’s the series got its start as what was then called the Pro-4 series, utilizing four cylinder engines. In 1990, ARCA bought the organization and it eventually evolved into the ARCA Truck Series in 1999. And 2010 was the first season that the Phoenix Management Group of Ohio, L.L.C. took over the overseeing of the series. And the Marysville, Ohio resident (a northwestern suburb of Ohio’s capital city) Szep got his racing start before joining the Air Force and moving away.
Said Szep, “this win tonight is going to be one of the most special wins for me…our last race at Columbus Motor Speedway. I’ve got a lot of memories here and appreciate all the fans that came out to support the track in a scorching hot day! As well, thank you to the Knuckles family for all they have done for racing in Columbus for so many years! I will miss this track!”
Szep, Brad Yunker and Brandon Huff became the only drivers to race in all four events at Columbus, starting at the maiden voyage in 2011. And now Szep retires the track as the series all-time leader with two wins in those four green flags (Kenny Kirsch, Jr. and Myers took the other). And it was Huff, Myers and Yunker who gave Szep a run for his money tonight to make it as hot on the track as it was in the air! Myers was the early leader but was overtaken by Szep and he held it at the halfway break. After the field returned for the second half, it didn’t take Szep long to get back to the front. Behind him, early leader Huff, Myers, Billy Strehle and Brian Taylor gave him all he could handle. However, the #81 DEI/Technicom Electric/Amsoil/Prostar Design Chevy V8 motored on to his eighth win since taking his first ever in race number two last season at Lake County!
“This was a tough race tonight,” stated the 45-year-old victor. A lot of green flag laps and man was it hot! But you forget about all that when the green flag drops and concentrate on hitting tour marks every lap. Put the Hot Rod on the outside grove and was able to take advantage early on So many people to thank who help us get to Lincoln Welders victory lane! Rich and his family from Technicom Electric are here tonight along with John and Amanda from ProStar designs! And it wouldn’t be complete unless I mention all that DEI does for us!”
Finishing behind third place Myers unofficially was Holley Performance Rookie of the Year candidate Taylor; with Yunker fifth and the last truck to place on the lead lap. Across the line first one lap down was series veteran Randy Moyes, Jr. in sixth (which ties his best finish), with Strehle seventh completing 71 laps after having trouble, another Holley Performance Rookie of the Year Tyler Kish at 70 circuits, while Kent McCloskey DNF’d after 33 laps as did Armani Williams in 10th. Jeff Smith was not able to take the green flag despite practicing earlier in the day.
The ARCA Truck Series continues on after this event and goes back to the always exciting Angola Motor Sport Speedway in Angola, Indiana on the Michigan/Ohio/Indiana border next Saturday night for another 75 lapper. Chad Poorman won there last month.
On August 6th, 2016 the series will return to another “old friend” at the Midvale Speedway in New Philadelphia, Ohio, a 3/10 mile, semi banked, asphalt oval for the first time since 2004!
The trucks will also try again after a mechanical postponement last month at Spitzer Speedway cancelled that show in Mansfield, Ohio but will be ready for the next one on Saturday night, August 27th.
Kentucky Motor Speedway, an almost half mile paved oval in Whitesville, Kentucky just east of Owensboro, and keeping with tradition, will host their annual ARCA Truck Series family celebration during Labor Day weekend. The cookout will be September 3rd, 2016 and the race will be contested the night of September 4th, 2016.
And Lorain County Speedway in South Amherst, Ohio comes back to the schedule for a Sunday afternoon offering on October 2nd. Szep was just victorious there in the last event.
As has been since 2012, the ARCA Truck Series season finale is at the Lake County Speedway during the October 15-16th weekend. Szep has won the last three events staged there dating back to 2015!
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.