Friday, May 18, 2012
Fasten Your Seat Belts! The 2012 ARCA Truck Series Season Kicks off May 19 at Toledo Speedway, Ohio
MILLERSPORT, Ohio -- “The Tradition Lives On” This Saturday! For the 14th straight season, the ARCA Truck Series, presented by The Phoenix Management Group of Ohio (or, "PMG"), will make their presence at Toledo Speedway in northeastern Ohio, to the west of Interstate 75 Alexis Road exit, behind the Meijer shopping center on May 19th.
Toledo Speedway is owned by Roy Mott and ARCA Racing Series President Ron Drager. It was built in 1960 by Herb Koester following years of competition at Toledo Raceway Park down the street (which today is still an active harness track). Originally a dirt track, it was paved in 1964 and has staged many events and sanctions over the years. Ownership changed hands multiple times, but the current management team was put in place in 1998 and has been running the track ever since.
Registration begins at 8:00 A.M. while the garage is scheduled to open at 8:30 A.M. Drivers meeting is at 10:00 A.M. followed by a half hour practice beginning at 11:15 A.M. and then another practice for half an hour at 12:35. Qualifying will begin at 2:15 P.M. and the 50 lapper will take the green flag to begin the 2012 season at 5:00 P.M.
Since the inaugural 1999 season, Toledo Speedway is one of only two tracks to host at least one ARCA Truck Series race per year (Flat Rock Speedway being the other, where the Trucks will run Saturday, May 26th) and holds the all-time record of 18 green flags, the first coming on June 4th, 1999 -- which was also the second Truck race in Series history (and was won by David Clay). Toledo also hosted a second event that year on the 25th of September, and that was claimed by former two-time champ and current PMG Operations Manager/Treasurer and Columbus, Ohio resident Robbin Slaughter. Toledo has hosted as many as two races in a single year, which 1999 was one of them, while 2000, 2001, 2007 and 2008 where the others.
Tops on the leader board in wins is a three way tie between two-time champ Slaughter ('99, the first '00 and '01), three-time champ Chad Guinn ('00, '03 and '04) and last year's crown-wearer and four-time champ Hahn ('06, the first '08 and '09). Other winners include (besides Clay) Johnny Witham ('01), Phil Bozell ('02), Brett Rowe (in his championship year of '05), Mark Otting and Justin Marks in '07, Steve Christman in the fall '08 showing, Danny Jackson 2010 and Kenny Kirsch Jr. in 2011, making the total 12. The only two drivers to enjoy winning streaks at Toledo were Slaughter in ’99 and the following year, and Guinn in ’03 and ’04 (which also was one of only two Truck wins in series history decided by a last lap pass).
The most ever starters at Toledo (and in series history) is 27 in 2009 and the least is 16 in 2001. And, making the most starts of anyone at the legendary high banked half mile has been two-time champion and Columbus resident Bill Withers (who claimed his second ARCA Truck Series title there in '07) with 17 (Slaughter is second with 15), but despite four top-fives and nine top tens there, Withers highest result has been a fourth in '99. However, Withers retired from driving two years ago, so the active driver with the most starts is actually Meyers with 11; he ran his first in 2002 then missed the following year but not one since. That day also marked his best finish in the Series with a fifth.
The all-time lap leader is Hahn with 127 and right behind is Slaughter with 92. A total of 30 drivers have led, and the most drivers to lead in a race was seven in 2005, while three times has the winner led every lap, twice in 2001 and in last years rain shortened event. Steve Christman holds the mark for leading the most laps in one event in October of 2008 when he led all of them on the way to winning a 100 lapper. Slaughter has led in the most number of races with four, followed by Guinn, Witham and Hahn at three each.
The leader of the top-five totals is Hahn (who added to his numbers last year with his runner up) with eight and also hasn’t finished out of the top five since 2007, while Slaughter and Guinn are next, tied at seven apiece. The top ten record holder belongs to Slaughter alone with ten, his last coming in October of '08 (which was also his last start at the track and in the Truck Series).
Slaughter owns the record for most poles with three, and right behind is a two-way tie at two each between Brett Rowe and Nick Gullatta. Racers with one each are Clay, Witham, Chad Blount, Tully Esterline, Kyle Partridge, Steve Cronenwett, Hahn and Jackson is the last since last years time trials were cancelled due to rain. As far as lead lap finishers, 14 were able to complete the entire distance of 50 laps in June of 2000. However, in October of 2008, the distance was increased to 100 laps for the next few races and 10 drivers finished on the leader’s lap in May of 2009, but in 2010 the distance was again 50 laps and will be again this year.
Ninety six competitors have taken the green flag over the years at Toledo. Chevrolet has a two race edge on Fords, ten to eight and have not lost since the spring '08 show. However, after Clay won the first in a Chevy, Ford went on a seven in a row tear the following race and it took Guinn to switch from his Ford into the "Bowtie" for '04 that stopped the "Blue Oval" streak".
Drivers already entered for this year’s event are Ohio’s Steve Perkins (Toledo), Ash Hawkins (from Canfield), Levi Mansfield (Oakwood), Brad Yunker (Maumee), Brandon Huff (East Palestine), Chad Poorman (Edon), Zac Carter (Hiram), Danny Jackson (Batavia) and Shawn Szep (Marysville). Other entrants include Marcus Jones (IN), Cody Quarrick (PA) and Michigan residents Paul Vanderhoff, Bob Mikolajczak and Craig Meyers. Only Hawkins, Jackson, Bailey and Poorman are former Truck Series winners, with Poorman winning the last ARCA Truck Series event at Sandusky (OH) last October! Bailey is the only former champion in the field. Poorman, Quarrick and Carter are among the DJ Safety Rookie of the Year candidates.
The 2011 race at a glance: find the "ARCATruckRacing.com Archive" section on the home page of this site and find the race report in the "May 2011" section.
Interesting notes about the legendary Ohio track in Toledo: Of the drivers entered, Meyers has the most starts with 74, followed by Yunker with 67 and Hawkins with 45; was last year’s DJ Safety Rookie of the Year; last year’s rookie candidate Brandon Huff will switch from 2011’s #31 to #21; Quarrick, Carter, Poorman and Perkins were entered and qualified for last September’s event, but it rained out and not rescheduled so this will be these driver’s first official event; Perkins (a college teacher) has entered numerous events but not officially made a start as a driver, but has been successful as an owner last year with David Scott finishing fourth (after running as high as second at one point) at Mid-Ohio in his truck; Bob Mikolajczyk is the only driver to have competed in the very first Truck season and the latest, an incredible span of 13 seasons!
The ARCA Truck Series completed its second full season presented by the Phoenix Management Group of Ohio, LLC, (or PMG) of Millersport, Ohio in 2011, under a licensing agreement with the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA). The ARCA Truck Series ran its first full season under ARCA’s direction in 1999, after evolving from the Pro-4 Series, which was sanctioned by ARCA for the previous nine years. Today, the series has grown into one of the most versatile series in short track racing, having taken popular four cylinder, V-6 & Ford V-8 crate powered trucks to asphalt tracks of many sizes under one mile, road courses, and numerous dirt tracks in its history.
Founded by John Marcum in 1953 in Toledo, Ohio, the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is recognized among the leading sanctioning bodies in the country. Closing in on completing its sixth decade after hundreds of thousands of miles of racing, ARCA administers over 100 race events each season in two professional touring series and local weekly events.
Following the ARCA Truck Series has become easier than ever lately! For in-depth stories, continually log on to ARCATruckRacing.com. For instant “ARCA Truck Series Right Now News Alerts” text messages, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be added to that list. You can now also follow the series on Twitter at @ARCATruckRacing, there is an “ARCA Truck Series” Facebook page, “ARCA Truck Racing” is on LinkedIn, and you can see race highlights on youtube.com at the ARCA Truck Series page at http://youtube.com/arcatrucks