A lot of things describe what you feel when you win, joy,
elation, jubilation. Mike Root won the ARCA Allegiant Air Gold Cup Stan Yee
Memorial 150 at Flat Rock Speedway and added a couple unusual reactions, such
as baffled, dumfounded and mystified. Root was nearly lapped earlier in the
race, only to come on late in the event to win his second Gold Cup feature ...
the 150-lap feature a couple years ago. The largest Gold Cup field this season,
34 Super Late Models, were on hand.
“We struggled pretty tight ... but it let me stand on the
gas and it took off. It’s quite a surprise finish for me. The last two times
here I’ve broke a rocker (arm) or crashed. This is a racy track and most of the
time you can run two wide. Most of the drivers are respectful. The competition
gets better and better. I’d like to thank my sponsors Universal Graphic
Solutions (USG), Creatingaccents.com, Renegade, Amsoil, Ace Auto Body, Extreme
Images and Buck the Dog. I was a little nervous what would happen but the car
stuck,” An hour later, Root was still shaking his head that he won. “I was so
close to being lapped, that I still don’t believe I got up there.” We talked
how the double file restarts really help a driver being able to move up through
If Root was shocked and dumbfound, Scott Hantz was the most
dejected driver after the race. "That one really hurts, led around 100
laps tonight and lost it with three to go. It’s by far the best car I’ve ever
had here. Those cautions there at the end really hurt us but overall a great
run for us. Really got to thank my crew for their hard work the past few days
with us running three races in four nights really wears on you. We'll tune on
it a little and just get her ready for Toledo in a few weeks" said a
disappointed "Hurricane" Scott Hantz driver over the Top Speed
Fabrication, Parr Racing, and Hurricane Racing #72.
Harold Fair Jr. had the same car he won the Joy Fair
Memorial 100 last month at Flat Rock. “We had to run too hard to get there (to
the front). To run in the top three-five, you take what you can get. It was a
good run in the end,” said the driver of the Royal Truck and Trailer,
Performance Engine. Senneker Performance #71.
Paul Pelletier finished fourth after having to go to the
rear after a spin on lap 106. “We had a good car and it was good race without a
lot of wrecks. Congratulations to Mike on his win. We got up to second before
that and we dropped a wheel off the track trying to avoid a lapped car and
spun. Think we might passed the most cars tonight, other than Mike, but we got
back to fourth and were right behind the battle for the lead. I want to thank
my sponsors, Fraza Forklifts, Dusty's Collision, Exotic Automation, First
Impressions Cement, ABC Plumbing, Berringer Law, Duane's Roadrunner's,” said
the Trenton, Mich., driver
Mike Simko finished fifth after moving up late in the race.
“It was great to finally put together a whole race and have a good finish to
show for it. We started the race a little too tight but the car was really good
after about 100 laps. We couldn't go to the outside at all, so I had to use the
bottom all night, and luckily almost every restart I was an odd position. I
really have to thank my uncle, Tom. He owns the car, and prepares it for every
race. He did a great job. Also have to thank my dad (Dave), who also is my
spotter. It's his motor in the car, making it a big family affair!” said the
driver of the Mound Steel & Supplies, Diamond Racing Products #15. This may have been his career best finish here
but I have to check.
Jeff Ganus was in the car normally driven at Toledo’s Gold
Cup races by JR Roahrig. It’s been over 20 years since car owner Bobby Blount
had been to the track. Ganus had a terrific side by side battle with Scott
Hantz for the lead that went on lap after lap. In the end he led four laps
before dropping back. His ninth place finish doesn’t tell how well the Westside
Michigan driver ran. “We tightened up the car for the long run. We were pretty
decent but with 20 to go the right front tire came apart. All the other three
tires looked pretty good,” said the driver of the All Star Performance, Lane
Automotive, AP Race Engines, Midnight Blue Towing, Landrum Springs, Wildwood,
Sweet Manufacturing, Senneker Performance #16.
Dakota Carlson came into the race the points leader and for
the last three races that has spelled disaster for that driver. For the
previous four races, by race end there has been a different driver leading
points than was leading at the start of the event. “We had a really good car
for about 70 laps and then its like it was a completely different car. The
wheels just seemed to fall off. So hopefully we have a good run at Toledo
because I don't think our point lead is that big at all.” He’s right, he went
into the race leading Claude Plante Jr., who didn’t compete, by 35 points and
now leads race winner and two time series champion Root by 35.
Fair Jr., moved up to third in points, 50 markers behind
with defending series champion Dennis Strickland fourth 70 behind. Craig Everage,
in his first full Gold Cup season, is fifth, 110 behind and still
mathematically alive. (these are my points because ARCA probably won’t update
theirs until after press time).
Of the 24 cars that finished, 14 finished on the lead lap
and only seven dropped out (four of those after the halfway point).
Just under a half second (0.497 seconds) separated the
starting field. The last driver locked into the field was Mike Luberta (0.339
of a second slower than fast qualifier Dakota Carlson). After the two last
chance races, the top 24 qualifiers were the drivers that made the race.
Making his first Late Model start was Jason LaDuke.
Unfortunately for the young driver he wasn’t able to transfer out of his last
chance race. Jason is the son of form ARCA REMAX driver Don LaDuke and has
raced in the United Super Truck Series and Short Track Truck Series.
Another driver making his first SLM start at Toledo was Matt
Hall. The ARCA CRA driver was aboard Bob Ward’s #6, but the team also was
unable to transfer to the feature.
Lori Bunge-Hall broke an axle in hot laps but was able to
get the car back to race in her last chance race. Unfortunately she was unable
to transfer to the feature.
2012 seems to be the year where all those drivers you always
wondered what happened to them have come back to race. Dan Doyle, Joe Haener
and Danny Gaddis all returned this season after over 10 years absence. Today
marked the first weekly race for Ray Gaddis. Son Danny gave his dad the
ultimate birthday present, a chance to run a Figure 8 car again. “I asked dad
Monday if he wanted to run the car today. I’m not in points so thought I’d give
him an early birthday present,” Danny said before the races. It’s been 16 years
since Ray’s raced during the weekly show, although he’s been running the buses.
And how did the soon to be 63-year old driver make out? He finished seventh in
the feature and had a ear to ear grin afterwards.
Dennis Whisman won the Figure 8 feature, ”Don’t like running
in the daylight. It’s a lot scarier in the daylight ... it looks a lot closer
out there now, then when we race at the end of the night. Not sure if I’d do
this if we ran in the daylight. There’s so many good drivers out there. I’m
glad my brother Joe talked Donna into buying two tires for me... that set the
car up well.”
Scott Selmi won his first Street Stock A division feature of
the season. He was the eighth different A division feature winner in 10 races
this year. “That was the best the car was all year. I took a guess at the setup
at hoped for the best. Better lucky than good. I will say tell you that I had
fun racing for the win with Rob (Moore) and Tim (Moore), They are great guys
and friends. I would also add my buddy Steve for all his help when I work on
the car at home and Keith Thompson for the help with a couple of changes at the
Rick Bennett and Rich Abel and Mark LaVoie had a great race
and the side by side Rich/Rick battle was terrific. Rick Bennett took the
victory, “I’m getting better at this ... great race. I want to thank my
sponsors, PASI and E & F Auto.”
Brandon Randa (son of late model driver Rob) ran his first
career race today. He made the A division Street Stock feature but had troubles
and dropped out late in the race. His sponsors are Clausen Collision, Mount
Clemens Trans and Tire and Richards N Balitine.
Thanks for the message Steve Chartrand, “I had a great night
in both cars coming from ninth to sixth in the Figure 8 feature and also coming
from 18th to finish 11th in the Street Stock feature. Gotta thank my mom, dad,
sister, brother and my girlfriend for everything. Been a busy but great year so
far. Also thanks to PJ’s Trucking (Peggy and Cal) for all the help and the
Figure 8 ride ... also would like to say rest in peace to a great guy Brian
Slade (Duration Ttech Racing Engines), built a lot of Berlin motors he's built
the motors for both of the cars always great horsepower and a great guy all
around passed away unexpected earlier this month.”
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