Local Favorite John Gearhart Wins His First ARCA Truck Series Race At Angola!
Angola, IN (July 30th, 2016) – John Gearhart added his name to the family of ARCA Truck Series winners tonight as he won his first ARCA Truck Series event at the Angola Motorsport Speedway in the ARCATruckRacing.com 50 lapper, the seventh series event of 2016. It was his ninth series race in three seasons. “We finally got one! I’ve always felt like the bridesmaid! But we finally got one,” laughed the soft-spoken winner. He then added, “I sure wouldn’t mind if the ARCA Truck Series ran more races here!”
In a V6, Gearhart started fifth and was content to ride third for the first ten laps of the event while first Brian Taylor and then Brandon Huff traded the lead. Gearhart moved into second but then Tyler Kish spun off of turn four on lap 15 and it brought out the only caution flag of the event. When the race restarted, Gearhart jumped out to the lead on the high side but lost it the next time by to Shawn Szep as he slid out of the groove. However, on the very next lap, Gearhart moved back around Szep and into the lead as Szep began to fall back through the field. Huff moved into second and dogged Gearhart first in the high lane and then the low, both running side by side for the better part of 20 laps. Brad Yunker made it an all V6 top three as they all raced ever so close for the next 11 circuits.
The Angola event in June was viewed as one of the best series events anyone had ever seen, and this one was no different as competitors were two and three wide almost around the entire track lap after lap. And Szep was no different and began to slowly make his way back through the field. Having fallen all the way to fifth and almost a half track behind, the six time 2016 winner went into fourth on lap 28, moved into third on lap 32 and Gearhart, Huff and Szep diced side by side and nose to tail until five laps to the finish. Szep tried using the low line but Gearhart, who has probably run more circles at Angola than anyone, used the high lane momentum to keep Huff (who was directly behind him) and Szep (on the low side) at bay, especially using lapped traffic which began to play a factor and Gearhart used them as “rolling picks” with about five to go. Szep did cross the line in front of Huff by inches for second with two circuits left, but Huff beat him back to the line for runner-up and the crowd about tore the grandstands down as the #8 flashed by and into his first Lincoln Welders Victory Lane!
Angola, a track almost literally on the both borders in northeastern Indiana with Ohio and Michigan and was built by his grandfather in 1964, Gearhart still lives in Angola today and runs the local division at the speedway, and was surrounded by family, friends and well-wishers in victory circle! “Boy, there’s so many people to thank,” said the ARCA Truck Series 41st different winner, who’s previous best came right here last month with a fourth. “My little brother (fellow ARCA Truck Series competitor) Todd is here, my family, my mom. It’s so hard to think of everyone to thank but I’m glad they’re here tonight! And thanks to the fans for coming out tonight.” The winner continued, “I’d also like to thank Paul Vanderhoff who owns this truck and his company Engine Rebuilders of Toledo!”
Unofficially matching his best lap leader performance from June with 34, Gearhart has now led in five races. It was his fifth top five and he has produced a top ten in every ARCA Truck Series start he has competed in. Gearhart, who also won his heat race tonight, which made it his second such in 2016 (his first came here in his lone series start in June) concluded, “I’d really like to thank Tom and Robbin for doing such a great job on running this series. They do a good job and I’m glad to be a part of it!”
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 series will also try again after a mechanical postponement last month at Spitzer Speedway in Mansfield, Ohio 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 September 4th, 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.
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.