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Kimmel Catching Katona In All-Time ARCA Wins; News & Notes From Elko; Onto Pocono For Open Testing Wednesday
Posted by: newsla on Jun 03, 2013 - 03:24 PM
Kimmel Catching Katona In All-Time ARCA Wins; News & Notes From Elko; Onto Pocono For Open Testing Wednesday

Frank Kimmel inched ever so closer to Iggy Katona's all-time win mark Saturday night at Elko Speedway, earning his 78th career victory in his 454th ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards start. Kimmel is now just one win away from tying Katona's all-time mark of 79 career victories. "It's only one more, but you never know when you are going to get another one," Kimmel said. After six races this year, Kimmel also became the first repeat winner on tour with wins at Talladega and Elko. Kimmel also stretched his point advantage over Mason Mingus by 60 points headed to the next event on tour - the Pocono ARCA 200 Saturday, June 8.


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Cunningham Motorsports Solid at Elko
Cunningham Motorsports had a big night at Elko, earning the second and third positions in the final running order with Tom Hessert and 2012 ARCA Midwest Tour champ Jonathan Eilen, respectively. Eilen, from nearby Hampton, Minnesota, never led a lap but Hessert led twice for 54 laps. Hessert was slowly catching Kimmel in the closing laps, but ran out of time over the last 58 laps, all of which went green. "We definitely had something for him, but we needed a caution or something to bunch of the field," Hessert said. "I'm happy with second, but then again I'm disappointed. It's bittersweet. When you finish second, you always think maybe you could have finished first."

Schrader Wins 16th Career ARCA Pole at Elko; Another Busy Week Ahead
After earning his 16th career ARCA Racing Series victory a couple weeks ago at Toledo Speedway, Ken Schrader added his 16th career Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell Saturday at Elko Speedway, placing the Fenton, Missouri in a tie for 10th on the all-time ARCA pole win list alongside Ramo Stott, Bob Schacht and Bob Strait. Schrader eventually finished fifth at Elko after leading 75 laps, including the first 64, which brings his career total to 2,138 laps led in 35 races. From Elko, the 58-year-old driver sped off for a dirt track in Quincy, Illinois where he raced his dirt modified Sunday night. From there, Schrader travels to an appearance at a Chevy dealership in Bloomington, Illinois Wednesday before he addresses students at the University of Northwestern Ohio Thursday. Then it's back to his dirt modified for a race Friday night at Limaland Motorsports Park and again at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Indiana Saturday night. Between four ARCA races, the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series, and an abundance of dirt modified racing, he's on-track to race in 80-plus events in 2013.

From Start & Park to a Solid Sixth Place Finish, Williams Climbs to Fourth in Points
What started out as a planned start-and-park, turned into a solid sixth place finish for Port Charlotte, Florida's Josh Williams, who drove the No. 17 Roulo Brothers Racing Ford in Saturday's Akona 250. After qualifying fourth, and racing as high as third, the Roulo Brothers called an audible from the pit box and allowed Williams to run the entire race. "I had a great car, the best car I've ever driven," Williams said. "The Roulo Brothers really know how to prepare a race car and are phenomenal in this series. I had a great time out there. The car was so good."

Basham Gets Big Assist from Minnesota's Joey Miller
Former ARCA Racing Series winner Joey Miller, from nearby Farmington, Minnesota, had hoped to race in the Akona 250 at Elko, but couldn't get his car ready in time; so he did the next best thing and jumped in with both feet to help series veteran Darrell Basham for the weekend. Miller offered up his shop for Basham and brought his own crew guys to the race who serviced Basham's car. Basham finished a respectable 15th when it was all said and done.

Boston Ties Career-Best
Justin Boston tied his career-best finish of fourth at Elko. The Baltimore, Maryland rookie, who drives for Venturini Motorsports, also finished fourth last time out at Toledo Speedway. "We had a great car," Boston said. "We were really good when we took two tires, but that last set, when we took four, we just didn't have it. It was a good finish for us. I'm proud of our guys for preparing this car."

Rookies Praytor, Meunier also Post Career-Best Finishes
Mobile, Alabama's Thomas Praytor finished a career-best 10th in Wayne Hixson's Realtor-sponsored Chevy. His previous best finish was 16th at Mobile Int'l Speedway. Louisville, Kentucky rookie Mark Meunier, driving for Carter 2 Motorsports, also finished a career-best 16th in his second series start.

From Elko to Pocono; Open Testing at Pocono Wednesday
From the smallest track on tour at Elko (3/8ths-mile) to one of the biggest at Pocono (2.5-miles), many ARCA Racing Series teams are steering straight for Long Pond, Pa. from Elko to participate in the ARCA-sanctioned open test at Pocono on Wednesday, June 5, in preparation for the Pocono ARCA 200 on Saturday, June 8. As many as 20 drivers are expected for the open test, including 17-year-old drivers Chase Elliott, Erik Jones, and Taylor Ferns. Elliott and Jones are expected to make their superspeedway debuts in the Pocono ARCA 200.

In addition to ARCA teams searching for more track time ahead of the Pocono ARCA 200, the test will serve as an opportunity for rookies to participate in the open test in an effort to gain experience on Pocono's unique 2.5-mile triangular layout.

"We recognize that our sport is generating a greater number of younger drivers with a broader base of experience," said ARCA President Ron Drager.

"Effective in 2013, we've worked with Pocono Raceway and Kentucky Speedway to adjust the minimum age to participate at tracks over a mile in length from 18 to 17 at those facilities. It effectively provides an opportunity for pre-qualified 17-year-old drivers to participate in ARCA Racing Series races at those tracks. The approval process is detailed and stringent, but by virtue of the number of ARCA Racing Series races they have driven in and their participation in the ARCA Open Test at Pocono, both Chase Elliott and Erik Jones have earned the opportunity to participate. We expect that more drivers will work toward that eligibility going forward."

Venturini Motorsports is scheduled to test six drivers at Pocono, including Erik Jones, Taylor Ferns, Justin Boston, Milka Duno, AJ Henriksen and Brennan Poole.

Win-Tron Racing is also testing with Mason Mingus and 2009 ARCA Racing Series champion Justin Lofton, who will serve in an advisory role to Mingus. Mingus's crew chief Mark Rette was also Lofton's crew chief during Lofton's championship run in '09.

Cunningham Motorsports is also scheduled to test with two teams at Pocono. Tom Hessert, who runs the No. 77 Dodge fulltime for Cunningham, will join Will Kimmel as a teammate at Pocono. Kimmel plans to make his debut with Cunningham in the No. 22 Dodge in Saturday's Pocono ARCA 200, and will lead off the effort in the open test Wednesday.

Others expected to test include Nick Igdalsky, Roulo Brothers Racing's Mason Mitchell, Sean Corr, Spencer Gallagher, James Hylton and more.

This year's Pocono ARCA 200 is the 56th ARCA race held on Pocono's 2.5-mile triangle since the series debut in 1983. The event will precede the next-day Party in the Poconos 400 Presented by Walmart NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

While ARCA's tenure at Pocono is impressive, so too is the list of winners over the years. It includes Tim Steele, Bob Schacht, Mike Wallace, Blaise Alexander, Kerry Earnhardt, Ryan Newman, Casey Atwood, Casey Mears, Scott Riggs, Frank Kimmel, Travis Kvapil, Justin Allgaier, and Joey Logano to name a few.

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