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Apr 29, 2013 - 06:39 PM
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ARCA Post-Race Notes & Quotes from Salem Speedway
Posted by: newsla on Apr 29, 2013 - 06:32 PM
ARCA Post-Race Notes & Quotes from Salem Speedway

Hurray for Hessert; back to back winner at Salem, Cunningham Motorsports three out of five
Tom Hessert earned his second consecutive victory at Salem Speedway Sunday, and his third overall in ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards competition. Hessert won last September at Salem, driving for Ken Schrader Racing. His victory this year came aboard the No. 77 Barbera's-sponsored Cunningham Motorsports Dodge. Cunningham Motorsports has now won three of the last five ARCA races at Salem with Hessert, Alex Bowman in 2012 and Dakoda Armstrong in 2010. The last driver to win back-to-back races at Salem was Justin Allgaier in 2007 and 2008. Hessert also moved to third in championship point standings, trailing leader Frank Kimmel by 55 points headed to the next event on tour - the 51st Int'l Motorsports Hall of Fame 250 at Talladega Superspeedway Friday, May 3. Hessert, who started 16th, also earned the CGS Imaging Hard Charger Award for advancing the most positions during the race.


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Career day for Gallagher
It was a career day for Las Vegas, Nevada's Spencer Gallagher, who finished a career-best second in the No. 23 Allegiant Air Chevrolet. Gallagher tracked down Salem track master Frank Kimmel for the lead under 10 laps to go, but gave it up to Tom Hessert on the final lap. "I love this track," Gallagher said. "It's a great place to race. What you saw there at the end was the difference between four tires and two. What I was afraid was going to happen, happened. This Allegiant Air team did a heck of a job today," he said. "I am going home with a nearly destroyed race car and we still finished second."

Kimmel Racing two in the top-five
Kimmel Racing also had a good day, finishing third and fifth with Will Kimmel (third) and newcomer Travis Swaim (fifth). Swaim, the 2012 UARA-STARS late model champion, made his career-first ARCA start at Salem. "I can definitely say that this is the most challenging track I've ever driven on," Swaim said. "But I'll tell you; I've never had so much fun in a racecar. ARCA's a first-class organization, and I'd love to have the opportunity to come back and run some more races. If we can find sponsorship, we'll be back. I'd love to try this place out again." Swaim's older brother Mike Swaim won an ARCA race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1998.

15-year-old Weatherman is Scott Rookie of the Race; credits spotter Hillenburg
Kyle Weatherman, a 15-year-old high school freshman out of Wentzville, Mo., was quite impressive in his ARCA Racing Series debut, finishing fourth in the No. 11 United Nissan-Cash Back-St. Charles Dodge. Weatherman gave a good deal of credit to 1995 ARCA Racing Series champion Andy Hillenburg, who served as Weatherman's spotter. "Andy Hillenburg made all the difference out there," Weatherman said. "He helped me through the traffic and where to run late in the race, and Michael Harper my crew chief did an awesome job setting up the car." Weatherman was all smiles after the race. "I had a blast. This race was everything I thought it would be and I learned a lot from the veterans. We knew we had a great car and I am really happy for the whole team that we finished in the top five. The entire crew worked really hard to make this day happen." Weatherman, by virtue of his successful day, earned the Scott Rookie Challenge Rookie of the Race Award. Weatherman's next ARCA Racing Series event will be the Menards 200 at Toledo Speedway May 19.

Despite frustrating day for Frank Kimmel, leaves with point lead to Talladega
Nine-time Salem winner Frank Kimmel, who hasn't won at Salem since September of 2008, looked like he was on his way to what would have been his 77th career win before Spencer Gallagher wrestled the lead away from Kimmel in lapped traffic under 10 laps left in the scheduled distance. "This car's been fast everywhere," Kimmel said, after entertaining a horde of his home-track fans beside his battered Ansell-Menards Toyota on the Salem frontstretch. "It was a really good day for us, to lead a lot of laps and actually, the car didn't have a scratch on it until right there at the end -- so it was just a frustrating day.

"Milka (Duno) cost us all our lead -- I don't know what she was doing. She was [a lap] down and with the leaders coming, late in the day like that you expect her to get out of the way -- and I thought she was. I thought she moved over on the front straightaway and then she pinched me into the wall going into Turn 1. I got up into the bad stuff (marbles) and then Spencer got a run on me and he run all over me all the way down the backstretch and I don't understand that, because we had plenty of room to keep going and I don't know why he was hitting on me like that." Gallagher made contact with Kimmel all the way down the backstretch before pulling ahead in Turn 3. "I think that messed something up on the left front tire because it wouldn't turn any more after that," Kimmel said. "And then I went into Turn 1..."

On that next lap, going into Turn 1, eventual race winner Tom Hessert made contact with Kimmel, spinning the nine-time ARCA champion into the outside wall, bringing out the final caution and setting up a green-white-checker finish. "Tom just ran over me -- he didn't even give me a chance," Kimmel said. "So I don't get it." After Kimmel's trying day, he did manage to wrestle the point lead away from rookie Mason Mingus, who fell to second in the series standings after an unscheduled pit stop for a caved in fender relegated the Brentwood, Tenn. driver to six laps down.

Career-best finish for Milka Duno
Caracas, Venezuela's Milka Duno also posted a career-best finish, coming home eighth in the No. 35 CanTV-Milka Way-Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet. "It was a great race for me," Duno said. "I was driving as hard as I could and I was determined to advance. You have to race as fast as you can on every single lap on a short track like Salem - it's like each lap of the race is like a qualifying lap. Venturini Motorsports was just awesome today - everybody - from every member of the crew to the spotter. They gave me a good car and then got me through this race with a very good finish."

Career-best finish for Jason Basham
Jason Basham also finished a career-best 14th in the Darrell Basham Racing Chevrolet. The car that Jason drove was prepared just in time, compliments, in part, of Frank Kimmel, who spent Wednesday night installing the engine alongside Darrell Basham's fiancé and crew chief Sandy Sparrow. Sparrow spent weeks, prior to Kimmel's assistance, preparing the car while Darrell went over the road in his 18-wheeler to earn a living.

Boston earns pole, leads laps with help from his friends
Scott Rookie Challenge contender Justin Boston earned his career-first Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell, and the led the first 59 laps before ultimately finishing ninth. Venturini Motorsports team manager Billy Venturini stepped back aboard the pit box for the race to serve as Boston's crew chief. Venturini had not planned to do crew chief duties this season but after two races, he found himself in the familiar position this weekend. "I have hired someone for Talladega," Venturini said Saturday. "I'm not sure he will be able to go to Talladega yet, but that is the plan." Brennan Poole, who finished third in championship points in 2012 driving for Venturini Motorsports, spotted for Boston during Sunday's race.

Fifteen and counting
For the first time in series history, three 15-year-old drivers started an ARCA Racing Series event - Kyle Weatherman (finished fourth), Kyle Benjamin (finished 11th), and Anderson Bowen (finished 20th). All three drivers earned top-10 qualifying positions for the race; however, Benjamin lost five laps early on for exiting pit road through the wrong exit. Bowen was involved in a hard crash in turn one, and did not finish the race.

Bowen treated and released
Anderson Bowen was involved in a hard crash with Josh Williams in turn one. Bowen walked to an ambulance, and was later transported to local area hospital for observation. "CT scans are clear," Bowen Tweeted Sunday night. "X-Rays are good as well. We should be going home shortly." Team public relations personnel confirmed that Bowen was released Sunday night. Bowen was making his second ARCA Racing Series start for Cunningham Motorsports.

Onto Talladega, live on SPEED, live timing and scoring at ARCAracing.com
Straight from a short-track match at Salem Speedway, the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards has a tight turnaround for Talladega. After competing in the 93rd ARCA race at Salem on Sunday, April 28, the series immediately steers for Talladega where the 51st annual Int'l Motorsports Hall of Fame 250 is set for Friday afternoon, May 3. All of the on-track activity at Talladega will be featured in Live Timing and Scoring at ARCAracing.com. The event is also live on SPEED, and live at WTDR Thunder 92.7 FM radio.

ARCA Champ Chris Buescher to be honored at Int'l Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards champion driver Chris Buescher will be among the list of inductees to be inducted into the Int'l Motorsports Hall of Fame Thursday evening during the Int'l Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Talladega Superspeedway. Buescher's likeness will officially be added to the ARCA Wall of Fame, which was rededicated with a brand new design just last year. The ARCA Wall of Fame includes an impressive assortment of imagery representing 60 years of ARCA racing dating back to 1953. The ARCA Wall of Champions features all 30 different ARCA champions from 1953 forward, Buescher to be the latest addition.

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