(MOORESVILLE, N.C. - October 19, 2011) - The final race of the 2011 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards took place Sunday, October 16 at Toledo Speedway.
The Federated Car Care 200 was only the 8th race---out of the 19 race season—for Cunningham Motorsports. Chrissy Wallace drove the #22 Dodge to a finish of 11th, after a 5th place qualifying effort. Sponsorship from Althoff Trucking, who sponsored Chrissy’s ASA track championship run at I-44 Speedway in Lebanon, MO, and Jeg’s Performance, allowed Wallace the opportunity to work with the Cunningham organization.
The team tested at Caraway Speedway last week in an effort to reacquaint Wallace with the ARCA Series cars. She last raced with the ARCA organization in 2008, competing at Talladega and Pocono—a definite change in track configuration to the .5 mile Toledo Speedway. When the #22 rolled off of the trailer, Wallace hit the track for the first practice session very comfortable, as she told crew chief Paul Andrews, “Everything is handling really, really well.” After the crew made many adjustments throughout the first 45 minute practice, Wallace showed 15th on the speed chart. She found the car more to her liking in the final practice, posting the 8th quickest time, picking up .5 seconds, with a 16.390. After finding another .25 seconds, Wallace posted the 5th fastest qualifying time.
After a two and a half hour rain delay on Sunday, the green/yellow flag flew for the 200 lap event. The first 41 laps were run behind the pace car, in order to continue the drying process after continuous rain. After multiple cautions over the first 30 laps under green flag conditions, Wallace maintained the 6th spot. Wallace ran the fastest lap, turned by all cars, during the race on lap 51.
As the race hit the halfway point, Wallace remained in the top 10, in spite of having difficulty on the restarts with the lapped cars getting bunched up. When the caution came out on lap 118, Andrews called the #22 to pit road for right side tires, fuel, track bar and air pressure adjustments. With the majority of the lead lap cars pitting during this yellow flag, Wallace took the green in 13th. As Wallace was coming out of turn 2, on lap 136, the 02, of Josh Williams, clipped the left rear corner of the Cunningham Dodge, spinning Wallace on the backstretch, causing her to lose a lap. Wallace brought the car to the pit crew’s attention for a track bar adjustment and lined up for the restart on lap 141 in 21st, one lap down. A few laps later the caution flew again, awarding Wallace the Aaron’s Lucky Dog award, since she was the first car not on the lead lap. During this caution Wallace brought the car in for 4 fresh Hoosiers. One more pit stop for the Cunningham crew occurred on lap 159, to repair some cosmetic damage which happened during the previous spin, with Wallace restarting in 20th. From this point until the checkered flag flew, Wallace picked up one spot at a time. The final caution flag waved on lap 198 when the second place car of Ty Dillon spun out then-leader, Brandon Poole. The green flag flew for the final time on lap 205, with Wallace earning the 11th spot.
The top 5 finishers in the Federated Car Care 200 were Chris Buescher, Ty Dillon, Chad McCumbee, Tom Hessert and Grant Enfinger. Dillon won the season-long championship, with Buescher finishing second.
Cunningham Motorsports is looking forward to 2012, with many potential prospects for next season. Look for updates on the 2012 season on twitter @cunningham_race.