(TOLEDO, Ohio - July 30, 2012) - Frank Kimmel might have taken home the most sought-after trophy Friday at Lucas Oil Raceway, but special awards for the race were split among a variety of drivers and teams.
Brennan Poole's fourth-place finish helped him win top honors for the race in the Team Messina Rookie Challenge. He also extended his season lead in the category over Alex Bowman.
Chad Hackenbracht led 86 laps between Laps 52 and 150, 35 more than Menards Pole Award winner Matt Crafton and twice as many as Kimmel. For that, Hackenbracht won his first Aaron's Lap Leader race award of 2012. He has now led in three races this season and stands fourth in the year-long Aaron's Lap Leader Award standings.
Tom Hessert improved 12 positions from the start before finishing as the runner-up, and earned the CGS Imaging Hard Charger Award for Friday's race for doing so.
"We certainly fought hard for our second-place finish," Hessert said. "The Ken Schrader team brought a solid Federated car, but we certainly had to work for it. I'm pleased to come home second. Of course, I wish we'd won, but it's also nice to see Frank back in Victory Lane after so long."
Hessert said the car was "snug" in practice, and he battled a spectrum of conditions free to tight during the race before settling on a feeling by the race's conclusion.
After missing the race at Chicagoland Speedway, a full 20-race schedule is obviously out the question for Hessert. He gave no clear indications about the rest of his 2012 schedule in a post-race interview.
"I don't know what our plan is," he said. "We came home second tonight and we're pleased with that. We'll move on to the future when we're ready to."
Josh Williams (No. 02 Fields Auto Parts/Southwest Florida Cable Ford) also gained 12 positions, from 25th to 13th, but Hessert earned the Hard Charger Award tiebreaker by finishing higher.
Reed on Top-10 Streak: Ryan Reed finished in the top 10 only once in the first half of the season, racing nine of 10 events before skipping the July 1 event at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Since his return, Reed has finished in the top 10 three consecutive times, capped by a sixth-place finish at Lucas Oil Raceway Friday.
After driving a Toyota Friday, he will compete in the No. 15 JDRF Ford for Venturini Motorsports at Pocono Raceway this weekend.
Basham's Career Celebrated: Darrell Basham received a wooden plaque at Friday's ARCA Racing Series driver meeting, a commemoration of his 300th start in the ARCA Racing Series. Basham has competed in ARCA since 1972 and has been a regular entrant since the start of the 2002, failing to start just three races in that period of over 10 years. The honor was even more special to Basham as it came in his home state; he is from Henryville, Ind. ARCA president and CEO Ron Drager (pictured with Basham at right) made the presentation.
Variety Up Front: In all, six drivers led laps in Friday's Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 200. In order of first lap led, the drivers are Matt Crafton, Chad Hackenbracht, Kevin Swindell, Chad Boat, Mason Mitchell, and Frank Kimmel. No race this season has had as many as six different leaders.
Second Pocono Trip Up Next: After closing Chris Buescher's points lead to 20 at Lucas Oil Raceway Friday, Brennan Poole has to be looking forward to competing at Pocono Raceway. After all, Poole won the Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell with a track qualifying record there eight weeks ago, and then led 77 of 80 laps to win the Pocono ARCA 200, his third career ARCA victory.
Frank Kimmel is another driver with momentum going into Pocono. In addition to his win Friday, Kimmel finished sixth at Pocono in June. His last Menards Pole Award came at Pocono in July 2010.
"I'm looking forward to going back," Kimmel said. "I think we learned a lot in Michigan with this new (tapered spacer) rule we have on these big tracks. The asphalt is a big variable that we didn't understand when we got there and I think once we ran Michigan, we could understand it. I think if it's just a standard race and everybody's head is up, we'll be very, very competitive."
Now, the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards will visit Pocono for the second time in 2012 in the Pennsylvania ARCA 125 on Saturday. The 50-lap shootout on the 2.5-mile oval will begin at 3 p.m. and air live on SPEED. Practice will take place on Friday, from 1:40-3 p.m., and Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell will start at 5:15. ARCARacing.com will provide live timing and scoring coverage of all on-track action. The event will be the 14th of 20 this season.