Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Martel, the Other Guy from Lebanon PA.: Pulling the Pocono Double; Racing for Breast Cancer Awareness in ARCA and NASCAR
TOLEDO, Ohio -- When it comes to racing notoriety in the Lebanon, Pennsylvania part of the world, eight-time Daytona winner Bobby Gerhart, born and raised in the old Pennsylvania steel town, is atop the list. And of course, he still calls Lebanon home.
However, there's another guy from Lebanon who's capturing a respectable share of the headlines headed to Pocono Raceway for this weekend's ARCA/NASCAR double-header Saturday afternoon, August 4.
That other person is Kyle Martel, who is well aware of Gerhart's legacy.
"I don't really feel like I'm in the shadows of Bobby Gerhart," Martel said.
"In fact, I've gone to him for advice. I've never had a bit of trouble with Bobby; I always get straight answers from him, and I have a ton of respect for him. My father worked with Bobby on his race team; it's how my dad got his start in racing. His (Gerhart) place in history is pretty-well established around here; that won't change. But, in my opinion; he's another competitor who just happens to be from the same town."
Martel is also getting some impressive play in the press regarding his busy raceday schedule this Saturday at Pocono. Martel will be competing in both the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and the Pennsylvania 125 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards race, which run back-to-back - the Truck race at 1 p.m. and the ARCA race at 3.
"This will be my fourth year running ARCA, but it will be my first attempt in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. So, obviously, I'm pretty excited about the whole thing."
Both efforts will be fielded out of family-owned Bill Martel Racing's Lebanon shop headquarters.
"We bought the truck from Eddie Sharp Racing, but we haven't had the chance to shake it down yet. Pocono will be our shake-down for our truck debut. But I'm not worried; I have that much confidence in our race team.
"The reason we elected to do both races is that we'll be racing for a great cause - the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition to promote breast cancer awareness. The ARCA car and the truck are black with hot pink accents with a very large pink ribbon on both. We hope to bring awareness across the state for breast cancer.
"The track is known as the 'Tricky Triangle'. We are coming at this event with a triangular approach ourselves. We're a Pennsylvania-based team, we're racing for a Pennsylvania cause, and we're racing on a Pennsylvania track."
Martel's triangular approach has already caused quite a media stir with feature articles already published in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's Citizen Patriot, a televised news story on Harrisburg's Fox affiliate WPMT channel 43, and several other media outlets.
"We've received a ton of media coverage on this, and we're very grateful for that. But, more importantly, we're grateful and very proud to help bring awareness to the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition.
"We've got three groups coming in buses - friends and family. There is a tremendous amount of activity around this. We couldn't be more excited."
Martel finished a career-best 10th in the ARCA race at Pocono in 2009, his first season on the circuit. He also finished 12th at Talladega Superspeedway in 2010, and 13th and 14th at Pocono in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
The upcoming Pennsylvania ARCA 125 will mark the 55th ARCA race on Pocono's 2.5-mile triangular superspeedway since 1983.
The 125-mile ARCA race will follow the NASCAR Truck Series race, making for an impressive double-header event for race fans at track and those watching both events live on SPEED.
On-track activity for the Pennsylvania ARCA 125 starts Friday, August 3 with practice from 1:40 - 3:00 p.m. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell follows at 5:15 p.m. The Pennsylvania ARCA 125 is scheduled to get underway Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m.
In addition to live coverage on SPEED, ARCARacing.com will feature live timing and scoring of all the ARCA on-track activities.