Schrader Wins Toledo Thriller
May 21, 2006 | 5:24 P.M. EST
The win represented Schrader’s 13th career ARCA RE/MAX Series victory in his 41st series attempt, and fourth overall at Toledo including the last three spring events there.
And, while the race was marked with long green-flag runs, several late-race incidents contributed to the need for two attempts at green-white-checker finishes. Both final restarts saw Schrader, Allgaier and Kimmel battling for position.
In fact, Schrader and Allgaier, with Kimmel inches away, battled side-by-side for much of the final laps, leaving the crowd on their feet for the end of the race.
“The car was really good,” said Schrader. “It’s always good. I enjoy Toledo Speedway and I didn’t realize how good Justin (Allgaier) was before today. The car could really hold its own, even on tired tires. We had a good set-up on it today, especially for longer runs, which was a huge help.”
Allgaier, who earned the Hoosier Hard Charger award for advancing the most positions, matched his career-best finish in second.
“I had fun racing with Schrader,” said Allgaier. “I mean, he raced me clean and Kenny’s been a good friend of mine since I was little, so to run second to him is like a dream. It really is.”
Kimmel, who had dominated much of the weekend by capturing the Pork Pole Award on Saturday and leading 182 laps of Sunday’s race, finished third, just .283 seconds behind Schrader.
“When we came around for that last green-white-checker, the 99 and the 16 got side-by-side and I wasn’t going to get into either of them in order to get past them,” said Kimmel. “This was a great points weekend for our Pork Racing team with leading the most laps and qualifying on the pole. But we really would have liked the win. The whole team did a great job; the guys in the pits got us in and out in the lead which is exactly what we need to do to keep moving up in the points.”
Schrader, who did not qualify his car on Saturday because of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series commitments at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, had to start from the tail-end of the field.
However, it did not take long for him to work his way through traffic to join the leaders. He was among the top-five on lap 182, when many of the leaders decided to pit, including Kimmel, who had led every single lap to that point.
Schrader stayed out on the racetrack for the lead, which he would not relinquish for the remainder of the 214-lap event.
Kimmel made his own decision to pit for tires with less than 20 lap remaining.
“I think we took a winning car and finished third with it today,” said Kimmel. “We were so good until we made the decision to pit that last time, and that was pretty much all my decision. But we were in one of those situations where if we would have stayed out, then Schrader and those guys would have pitted and come after us. But when we pitted there with 20 laps to go, the tires just didn’t get us the handling that we were looking for. We were just pushing like a tank on those last few laps and then with several caution flags it just hurt us from being able to get back up to the front.”
The first attempt at a green-white-checker finish had come on lap 201 after a lap 197 after separate, nearly simultaneous incidents in which both turns two and four became jammed with spinning cars.
During the caution, the no. 25 of Billy Venturini was sent to the tail-end of the longest line for his efforts in spinning the no. 04 of Brent Sherman under caution in retaliation for an earlier on-track incident.
Sherman, who earned the Hurst Shifters Fastest Lap of the Race award, finished sixth in his Serta Mattress Ford, while Venturini settled for 11th, the last car on the lead lap.
Rochester Hills, Michigan native and 2002 Toledo Speedway Late Model champion Brian Keselowski finished a career-best fourth in his no. 29 Holloway Motorsports Dodge after running well all day.
Kimmel’s teammate Ryan Foster, in the no. 47 Frank Kimmel Racing Ford, completed the top-5.
“I’m pretty excited about how we ran here today,” said Foster. “The race team did a great job gaining me positions in the pits and the car was handling great through the whole race. It was pretty cool to run with both Ken Schrader and Frank (Kimmel) for most of the race and just really gain some experience as to how to best handle my way through lapped traffic. We just keep improving every week and I know that if we can keep getting these top-five finishes, eventually we will get a win.”
Clarkston, Michigan’s Michael Simko, finished seventh in the Hantz Group Chevrolet, followed by Ken Weaver, Mario Gosselin and Bobby Gerhart.
The next event on the ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule is Saturday, June 10 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. The race will by LIVE on SPEED beginning at 1:00 pm Eastern.