(TOLEDO, Ohio - August 14, 2012) - A penalty announced this morning by ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards officials has drawn the pursuit of the 2012 series championship even tighter with just five races remaining.
During the standard post-race technical inspection of the top six finishers after the Berlin ARCA 200 presented by Hantz Group at Berlin Raceway Saturday, the No. 17 Roulo Brothers Racing entry of race winner and new points leader Chris Buescher was found to be in violation of the rear quarter panel height rule per the 2012 ARCA Rule Book. ARCA officials notified crew chief Gary Roulo of the violation after the race Saturday evening.
The No. 17 team was fined $1500 and penalized 25 points in the driver and owner championship standings.
Buescher crossed the start/finish line with his third victory of 2012 and, presumably, a 35-point lead over Brennan Poole in the series standings; today, that advantage is just 10 points.
The series will next be in action at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill. for the Allen Crowe 100 on Sunday.
No. 55 Team Penalized, No. 25 Team Drops Appeal: The No. 55 Venturini Motorsports team of driver Erik Jones was also penalized after Saturday's race. The car, which finished third, was found to be in violation of the minimum roof height rule per the 2012 ARCA Rule Book.
The team was fined $1500 and penalized 25 points.
Another Venturini entry, the No. 25, has dropped its appeal of a penalty assessed at Chicagoland Speedway in July. Billy Venturini was suspended for one race, fined $1000, and placed on disciplinary probation for unsportsmanlike conduct at that event. Venturini has dropped his appeal and will serve the suspension during Sunday's race in Springfield.
Long Green Run a Record: In completing 160 laps without a caution flag to start Saturday's Berlin ARCA 200 presented by Hantz Group, the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards field set a record for most consecutive green flag laps contested on a short track.
King Strong Again: Clint King (No. 15 Speedrack Products Group Toyota) finished sixth in the Berlin ARCA 200, his fourth top-10 in five ARCA starts this season and the sixth top-10 of his young career. King will turn 17 in 13 days.
Unlike Tom Hessert, King was surprised by such a long green flag run to start the race.
"I knew we'd go quite a few laps, but not that long," he said. "Unfortunately, we might have waited just a little too long to pit. When we did pit, we came back out and made two laps up under green and we were about two laps away from being in the Lucky Dog spot when the first caution came out. It'd have been a different outcome if we'd had the first Lucky Dog instead of the last one. This was a great effort by the 15 guys, though. We just came up short but didn't catch the breaks we needed. We're right on the threshold of getting a win and we're knocking on the door."
King hopes to be able to race at Madison International Speedway in Wisconsin on August 26, his 17th birthday. King won the Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell in his series debut there last season.
Keselowskis, Baker on Hand for 60th Celebration: With driver Brian Keselowski making a now-rare start in the ARCA Racing Series, father Bob Keselowski was at the track to act as crew chief for his son's No. 29 entry. Therefore, the 1989 ARCA Racing Series champion was recognized before the Berlin Raceway crowd prior to the race as part of ARCA's 60th Anniversary Celebration. He joined nine-time champion Frank Kimmel and two-time champion Bill Venturini.
Bob Keselowski's wife Kay was also on hand, acting as her son's spotter.
Joining the three series champions on the honor line before the race was Ralph Baker, a member of the Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame and Berlin Raceway Hall of Fame. Baker raced in the first ARCA event at Berlin in 1958 and was inducted in the state Hall of Fame in 1993.
Seventh "Fun" for Elliott: Chase Elliott (No. 9 Aaron's Dream Machine/Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet) finished seventh in Saturday's Berlin ARCA 200, his fourth top-10 in four ARCA Racing Series starts. Though the result was only his third best in those races, trailing a runner-up finish at New Jersey Motorsports Park and fourth place at Salem Speedway, Elliott still came away smiling.
"It was definitely the most fun I've ever had to finish seventh," he said. "On that first run, we just got extremely tight and wore the right front (tire) down to the cords. We all just thought we were done. We came in and (crew chief) Lance (McGrew) said, ‘Throw on four,' so we threw on four tires and went back out and our car made up three laps under green. I don't really know how, or whatever. It was a lot of fun. I appreciate everybody not giving up on me. It was looking like it would be an ugly night. We didn't even get a top-five finish but I feel like I'm pleased with the way everything went and the effort by everybody."
Indeed, after being three laps down, Elliott drove back to the lead, passing Frank Kimmel for the lead on Lap 159. He led 14 laps.
Drivers Earn Career Highs: In addition to Erik Jones and Mason Mitchell tying career-high results in the Berlin ARCA 200, two other drivers performed their best within the top 20 at Berlin Raceway Saturday.
Ricky Ehrgott (No. 10 Fast Track Driving School Chevrolet) crashed on the final lap but finished 16th in his series debut. Tim Walter (No. 3 MPBToday.com/racersfoot Dodge) finished 20th.