Credit: ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards (www.arcaracing.com)
(LONG POND, Pa. – August 7, 2011) – Following a season-low 11th-place finish at Berlin Raceway on July 9, Ty Dillon’s focus has centered on putting a bad day – by his standards – behind him and aiming for the 2011 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship. He continued a scorching streak this morning in the Pennsylvania ARCA 125, giving Richard Childress Racing a sweep for the year at the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway.
Dillon (No. 41 RCR/CIPT Chevrolet) led the final 34 laps of a 50-lap shootout, and held off teammate and June winner Tim George Jr. (No. 31 Applebee’s/Potomac Family Dining Group Chevrolet) to win by 0.833 second. Dillon’s win was his series-leading seventh of the season and his ninth in 16 career starts.
Following his wins in Iowa and Indianapolis in the last three weeks, Dillon became the first driver to win three consecutive races in the ARCA Racing Series since Parker Kligerman won four in a row two seasons ago.
“Since we unloaded here at Pocono, I’ve had the same feeling I had at Iowa and Lucas Oil Raceway,” said Dillon, who became the 30th different driver to win in the ARCA Racing Series at Pocono. “I was really confident in the race car right after qualifying. Even though we qualified second, I knew we had a piece that could win again. We’ve had such a great year and been so patient as a young team that just got put together. (Crew chief) Scott Naset’s done an awesome job of preparing these race cars.
“Getting seven wins in any series is such an accomplishment, and three in a row is incredible.”
Dillon’s ninth win ties him with five other drivers for 33rd on ARCA’s all-time win list. He now leads Grant Enfinger (No. 36 Hoosier Tire Midwest/RaceTires.com Dodge) atop the series standings by 410 points with six races remaining.
Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell winner Max Gresham (No. 25 World Crown 300 at Gresham Motorsports Park) started quickly, moving to a 0.586-second lead over Dillon and the rest of the field by the conclusion of the first lap. Running 13th to start Lap 2, Tom Berte (No. 35 CGS Premier/Stay Tuned Customs Chevrolet) lost control and made contact with Kyle Martel (No. 43 Hanover Cold Storage/Finish Line Express Chevrolet).
The crash set off a multi-car incident that also sent Brent Brevak (No. 3 Brevak Racing Dodge) and Brandon Kidd (No. 7 Brioschi Chevrolet) reeling, and Buster Graham (No. 59 Batter’s Dream/Dodge) skidding toward a retaining guardrail on the infield. Just before he would have contacted the wall, Graham’s car struck a paved path and launched over the rail. The car spun and came to a rest inside the guardrail after sliding through grass, with the car’s rear end resting on the top of the barrier.
After approximately 20 minutes of review under the yellow flag to ensure that no drivers were seriously injured and to clear the race track, the field drove to the green flag again to start Lap 14. Gresham opened a short lead yet again, but Dillon looked to the inside and passed for the lead as he and Gresham drove into Turn 3 on Lap 17. Dillon led the lap by 0.372 second, and extended that advantage by nearly a half-second by the next trip past the start/finish line.
With Chad Hackenbracht (No. 58 Tastee Apples Chevrolet) passing Casey Roderick (No. 08 Randy Hill Racing Ford) for third behind him on Lap 20, Gresham narrowed Dillon’s advantage.
By the time Chad McCumbee (No. 1 ModSpace Ford) followed around Roderick for fourth and Chris Buescher (No. 17 David Ragan Ford/Reliance Tool Ford) did the same for fifth, Dillon had built his advantage back to nearly one second.
After falling back, Roderick elected to pit to close Lap 25, sending him off of the lead lap at the race’s halfway point. Though Gresham edged his nose to Dillon’s tail, Dillon continued to lead. Just after Robb Brent (No. 6 Eddie Sharp Racing Toyota) passed Buescher for fifth, James Hylton (No. 48 Radon.com Ford) slowed to a stop on the grass just inside the track between the first two turns. Dillon led by 0.623 second as the race’s second caution flag flew.
Dillon, Gresham, and the other leaders pitted to close Lap 28. Those two drivers left the pits first and second, and Tom Hessert (No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet) exited third.
The green flag flew on Lap 32, and trouble struck right away. Roderick, running one lap down, spun after contact from Gresham in Turn 1. The incident yielded the race’s third caution flag, and during the caution period Gresham and Hackenbracht elected to pit.
Dillon cleanly led the field through the Lap 36 restart. Behind him, Buescher and George passed Brent to make a run at the third spot. However, as Lap 36 closed, Nick Igdalsky (No. 23 Fox Realty Chevrolet) contacted Michael Leavine (No. 95 WRL Construction/Royal Purple/Conroe Welding Chevrolet), causing Leavine to spin. Just behind Leavine, Gresham just missed the crash. Frank Kimmel (No. 44 Ansell/Menards Ford) also narrowly avoided being involved, driving just to the inside.
Dillon led Hessert, Buescher, George, and Brent when the green flag flew for the final time at Lap 40, and there would be no catching the rookie points leader. Buescher passed for second one turn after the green flag and looked inside Dillon, but Dillon maintained control, leading the first green lap by 0.364 second.
George passed Buescher for second on the next lap, and it was his turn to set his sights on his teammate. Dillon’s lead grew back to one second, however. Though he could not truly pull away from George over the final 10 laps, he maintained his advantage and drove to Victory Lane for the seventh time in 2011. George finished second for his seventh top-five finish of the year, and Buescher was third – his ninth top-five of 2011.
Hessert ended the race fourth, a season high, and Enfinger scored his third top-five in the last four races.
Gresham completed his day in sixth place, and he was followed by Hackenbracht, Brent, Ryan Wilson (No. 32 Champion Oil Toyota), and Kimmel in the top 10.
The race finished in one hour, 11 minutes, and 47 seconds, at an average speed of 104.481 mph. The four caution flags slowed the race for a total of 24 laps. After being scheduled to run Saturday afternoon, the race was delayed until just after 10:15 a.m. today by heavy rain in eastern Pennsylvania. ARCA teams took the track after the conclusion of the postponed NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.