(LONG POND, Pa. – August 4, 2012) – Some will say strategy lifted Chad Hackenbracht to his first career ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards victory, and that would be a fair assessment.
On the other hand, an ailment for the driver’s father – CGH Motorsports owner Greg Hackenbracht – back home in North Carolina may be the real reason.
Chad Hackenbracht, without the at-track guidance of his parents for the first time in his ARCA career, scored his first win in 42 career starts by beating championship contender Brennan Poole by 13.453 seconds.
Hackenbracht (No. 58 CGH Motorsports Chevrolet) drove to pit road under the race’s only caution on Lap 8, and made that pit stop work to his advantage throughout the duration of the 50-lap shootout on the 2.5-mile oval.
“I’m not sure what to think,” Hackenbracht said. “You know, my parents weren’t able to make it to this race so we don’t know if they’re going to make to any of the other ones now. My dad’s back at home with a bad back, so I’ve got to say thanks to him and everything they’ve done. (Crew chief) Kevin Reed’s strategy played out great. Every time we get in the lead, we have the chance to win and we have something go wrong. Those last 10 laps, I was just waiting for the caution. Finally, everything played into our hands and we finally got our first win and got the monkey off our back. I hope we’ll have many more to come.”
Poole (No. 25 Cometic Gasket/Midas Toyota) led 30 laps in all, but had to pit to close Lap 37. ARCA requires all drivers to pit before the 10-to-go mark, and a yellow flag certainly would have aided Poole and preserved the large lead he had built over Alex Bowman. However, the second caution flag never came, Poole had to pit under green, and Hackenbracht inherited a 25-second lead on Lap 39.
Poole won his third Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell at the track Friday and had the dominant car early. He led the first six laps and had the lead when Michael Leavine spun in Turn 1 on Lap 7. While he elected to stay on the track, Hackenbracht pitted under the caution flag and fell out of the top 20 for the Lap 13 restart.
Bowman (No. 22 St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Dodge) passed Poole in Pocono’s famous tunnel turn on Lap 14, and he and Poole broke away from Frank Kimmel (No. 44 Ansell/Menards Toyota). Bowman built about a half-second lead at Lap 19, but Poole came back to the front at Lap 21. Meanwhile, Hackenbracht had risen to 19th.
Poole, much like he has done several times recently, charged far ahead of the field. He led by 3.965 seconds when Kimmel pitted from third place at Lap 26, and nearly twice that just nine laps later.
With the Lap 40 cutoff approaching, though, the top drivers had to pit. Second-place driver A.J. Henriksen, one of Poole’s Venturini Motorsports teammates, and Bowman drove to pit road on Lap 36. Poole waited it out, and Grant Enfinger inherited second. Poole pitted the next time around, maintaining a four-second advantage on Enfinger. Enfinger had to pit too, and as he drove to pit road on Lap 38, it was Hackenbracht – then 30 laps into a run – taking over the first position.
Hackenbracht completed Lap 40 with more than 25 seconds on Poole, and though Poole’s car was faster in the waning laps, he could only gain just more than one second per lap, leaving Hackenbracht to become the 10th different winner in the ARCA Racing Series this year.
The 20-year-old from New Philadelphia, Ohio is the third new winner in the series this season.
Poole finished second over Bowman, Kimmel, and Chris Buescher (No. 17 Reliance Tool/BeavEx Ford). With his runner-up finish and 10 points for leading the most laps, Poole took the points lead from Buescher and carries a 15-point advantage with six races remaining this year.
Ryan Reed (No. 15 JDRF Ford), Matt Lofton (No. 16 Strutmasters.com Chevrolet), Enfinger, Will Kimmel (No. 68 Knuth Machine Tools Ford), and Nelson Canache (No. 66 Venezuela Tourism Toyota) completed the top 10.
The race lasted just 52 minutes and four seconds, for an average speed of 144.055 mph – a Pocono ARCA record at the 50-lap distance. The full race results are linked here.
Michigan’s Berlin Raceway will be the host for the next race on the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule in just seven days. The Berlin ARCA 200 presented by Hantz Group will start at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 11, with live timing and scoring and live audio coverage available at ARCARacing.com.
Practice for the 200-lap race will take place that afternoon from 2-2:45 and 3:15-4, with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell following at 5 p.m. ARCA Racing Series drivers will participate in an autograph session – open to all fans – at 6:15. The race will be the 15th of 20 this season.
2012 is the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards’ 60th Anniversary Season, featuring 20 races at 18 tracks. The complete 2012 event schedule is available at ARCARacing.com.