2016 ARCA Truck Series Champion Shawn Szep Finishes The Season As He Starts It: In Victory Lane At The Lake County Speedway!
October 15th, 2016 (Millersport, Ohio) — Shawn Szep entered the last race of the 2016 ARCA Truck Series season as, for all intents and purposes, the champion since his lead was so much that second place Billy Strehle couldn’t catch him. However, there was still unfinished business and that would be 125 more laps at the Lake County Speedway to close out the year. Szep had already won six of nine and nine of ten Carmen’s Vacuum Pole Awards so to see if the Marysville, Ohio resident would “lay back” would be interesting.
Well, Szep won his ninth fast time trophy and when the Lincoln Welders 125 was over, he would lead 96 of those circuits to claim his seventh triumph which tied him for most on a season with Paul Hahn’s mark from 2008. It was a record breaking year for the 45-year-old!
“Wow! Just to be mentioned in the same breath as Paul is an honor,” said Szep from the Lincoln Welders Victory Lane. “When I first came into this series in 2009 I looked at Paul and knew that not only is he one of the finest people in the garage area but that he was so good that I tried to find out what he was doing and emulate that. It really is an accomplishment to be on his level and I’m proud of that!”
Szep started sixth after rolling that on the Let’sTalkAsphaltRacing.com Dice Roll and let first Brandon Huff, Cody Quarrick and Billy Strehle swap the lead until heading to the top spot on the 30th lap and led until the halfway break at lap 62. And to show how well the season has gone for the 81 team, a young fan rolled a ONE on the inversion dice…which means Szep would stay where he was!
When racing resumed, Szep picked up right where he left off and stretched his margin. Behind him, Strehle, Quarrick and now Brad Yunker and Brian Brewer were fighting for second, the latter two getting together and it sent Yunker to the pits to fix the fender on the caution. But it didn’t matter as Szep would not be beat on this day, winning his fourth race in Painesville! Strehle would end up second for his third finish there on the season followed by Brewer, Yunker, Quarrick and Kim Hughes to round out the lead lap finishers.
“I have to tell you, Randy (Holbrooks, track manager) knows how to do it right! And I just can’t say how much I love this place! The fans here at the Lake County Speedway are so great, the racing is exciting and I just love coming here!”
And as always, Shawn was grateful in his praise of those that helped him. “There are so many great people that are part of SZEP Motorsports and I want to personally thank each and every one! First, thank you to my fiancé Camie for her unconditional support during the long nights in the race shop, the long weekends away at the races, and her willingness to understand how much racing means to me!”
He continued, “thanks to the guys on my crew that work so hard every race to make sure the ‘ol Hot Rod was ready for battle! Jeff, Jim, Jim Jr, Jerry and their families play a very important part to our team’s success! My Crew Chief and great friend Craig Herron, who stuck with me thru the years and his wife Betty for allowing him to always come out and play! I couldn’t ask for any better people to be surrounded by and their long time commitment to SZEP Motorsports is second to none. And I cannot express enough how thankful and fortunate our teams is to have such great partners who help us get to the race track each week! Dave, Tom, Cari and the entire family at Design Engineering INC (DEI) are a big part of our 2016 run for the Championship and I am so happy we were able to accomplish this ARCA Truck Series Championship with them on board!
“A huge thank you to Don Mahaffey Jr. with Hangar 18 Racecars who built us a brand new truck chassis for 2016! Making all the right changes from our prior chassis which allowed us to upgrade to the latest and greatest technology making the #81 a “ROCKET” at nearly every track we went to,” said the champ. Then added, “and speaking of technology, Brian Finney of Finney Racing Enterprises gave us the best shocks in the business and I am very thankful to Ron Drager for the impromptu introduction at Toledo Speedway last year! Ever since, Brian has been providing our shock packages and is a major part of the continued success of our program! Thank you to John at ProStar Designs and Elmer with EA Schaeffer Oil Company who have been with SZEP Motorsports for many many years! John provides support for our team and business websites and does a fantastic job!! Elmer provided our AMSOIL lubricants and I can attest that there is little doubt that AMSOIL products are top shelf! Thank you to Rich at TECHNICOM Electric for one, allowing me to be a part of the success of our Business and two, the passion he shares for the success of SZEP Motorsports!
And Szep concluded, “to every one of my Family, Friends and Fans who came to a race, sent me messages, and ‘liked’ all the FB, IG, and Twitter posts…THANK YOU for the love!”
Shawn Szep and his team…as will all teams at least in the top ten, will celebrate their year Saturday night, November 12th at the Marriott in Dublin, Ohio at the ARCA Truck Series banquet. The event is open to the public and information on how to attend can be found on this website.
The ARCA Truck Series completed its seventh full season presented by the Phoenix Management Group of Ohio, LLC, (or PMG) of Millersport, Ohio in 2016, 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 the popular V-6 & the sealed Ford & Chevy crate V-8 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.