(TOLEDO, Ohio - September 20, 2012) - A classic, blast-from-the-past fairgrounds mile dirt track and a first-class speedway will serve to conclude the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards 60th Anniversary Season next month.
With three of the tour's top titles still very much in play, including the national championship, the tight fights forge toward the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds Sunday, October 14, for the 60th Southern Illinois 100 presented by Federated Car Care.
Just days later, the world's most versatile tour will head further west to the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway for a Friday night championship finale under the lights on October 19. The 12th annual Kansas Lottery 98.9 will determine a national champion, the Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge champion, the Team Messina Rookie Challenge winner, and much more.
The national championship battle is coming down to a five-wide fight with 19-year-old Chris Buescher (top, No. 17 Roulo Brothers Racing Ford) leading over 50-year-old Frank Kimmel (bottom, No. 44 Ansell-Menards Toyota) by 85 points. Rookies Brennan Poole (No. 25 Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet) and Alex Bowman (No. 22 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge) are the other players in the mix, while Chad Hackenbracht (No. 58 Tastee Apple Chevrolet) - currently fifth in points - remains in the hunt mathematically.
While Poole trails in third in the national championship, the rookie from The Woodlands, Texas sits atop the Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge title fight, ahead of Kimmel. Hackenbracht and Buescher are clearly still within striking distance for ARCA's superspeedway crown, first earned by the late Davey Allison in 1984.
Not to leave Bowman out, the 19-year-old Tucson, Ariz. driver leads a very close Team Messina Rookie Challenge pursuit by just four points over Poole, with rookie Matt Lofton trailing in third.
Additional year-end scores to settle include the Aaron's Lap Leader Award, the CGS Imaging Hard Charger Award, Cometic Crew Chief of the Year honors, the Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell, and more.
Buescher is the defending race winner at DuQuoin; however, Kimmel, coming off a dirt track victory in August in Springfield, Ill., has won DuQuoin's Southern Illinois 100 a record five times. Poole and Bowman will see the place for the first time.
Bowman, however, is the defending race winner at Kansas, where he won in only his second ARCA start. Kimmel won the inaugural Kansas Lottery 98.9 in 2001 and again in 2006. Buescher, the 2011 Team Messina Rookie Challenge winner, finished second at Kansas last year.
While Buescher chases his first ARCA title, Kimmel has his sights set on what could be his 10th. Kimmel, who added two wins in 2012 after a nearly four-year winless streak, is also gaining again on Iggy Katona's all-time ARCA win mark of 79. Although he can't get there in 2012, he is now just three wins away with 76.
Practice for the Southern Illinois 100 presented by Federated Car Care at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds is scheduled from 9-10 a.m. on October 14, with Menards Pole Award Qualifying presented by Ansell following at 11:15. The 60th annual Southern Illinois 100 will start at 1:30 p.m.
Kansas, like DuQuoin, happens fast, all in one day, with practice from 9-11:15 a.m. followed by Menards Pole Award Qualifying presented by Ansell at 5:35 p.m. From there, it's a quick tech and turnaround for the race, scheduled to get the green flag at 7:30. The ARCA Kansas Lottery 98.9 is live on SPEED. All times for both races are Central, one hour behind Eastern Daylight Time.