Kligerman Conquers Duquoin
September 7, 2009 | 5:12 P.M. EST
Kligerman charged from the back to the front and then held off five-time DuQuoin winner Frank Kimmel during a last-lap shoot-out to earn his seventh series win of the year. The 19-year-old Westport, Connecticut driver also closed to within 35 points of point leader Justin Lofton with just four races left in 2009.
"I don't think there was a real strategy to our race after we knew we had to start from the back," said Kligerman. "We just kind of had the strategy that by lap 50 we wanted to be in the top five or top 10 so that we could capitalize. Made a little adjustment on the car to make it turn better, and from there we were just gone. We were just saving tires the whole way until the end."
Kligerman's day was challenging from the start after he banged the wall in qualifying coming to take the green flag. As a result, Kligerman had to take a provisional and start from the 34th position where he methodically worked his way forward. By lap 55, he was out front and never looked back.
"I definitely dedicate this win to the team," added Kligerman. "They worked hard today. It's a short day without a lot of time in between practice, qualifying and the race. We didn't have a backup car so the only way to get back out there after my qualifying mishap was to fix it. They did a great job fixing the car in record time so thank you to them. It wasn't real pretty but it's fast so that's all that matters."
Kimmel, in the Ansell-Menards Ford, finished a season-best second, one second away.
"Early in the day, I was really tight in the middle of the corner, which is weird," said Kimmel. "I really couldn't make the car turn up off at all. I don't think we've ever really had that issue before, but Bill (Kimmel Jr. - Crew Chief) and the team did the best they could during the pit stop to get the car turning better. It definitely helped because the car was the best it had been all day in the final 50 laps. We always want to win, especially on the dirt, but a runner up finish is our best run of the year.
Miami Springs, Florida rookie Joey Coulter finished third in the Darrell Gwynn Foundation-Tempest Cycles Chevrolet.
"It's dirty," said Coulter. "It was a lot of fun. I've never been so dirty in my entire life. I had a blast. We had a real good handling car. I think we were getting out-geared, especially off of two. There was a big hole and I just couldn't get out of it as well as they could."
A.J. Fike, who earned the Menards Pole presented by Ansell, led the first 54 laps before fading during the second half of the race. The Galesburg, Illinois favorite still finished fourth in the RFMS-Liberty Village Ford.
Veteran Ken Schrader finished fifth in the Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet.
Championship point leader Justin Lofton, after a very trying day, finished sixth in the Lofton Cattle Toyota. Lofton spun during qualifying and made heavy contact with the wall. His Eddie Sharp Racing crew was forced to roll out a back-up car in which Lofton started 33rd. The Westmorland, California driver also spun once during race without losing a position.
Centralia, Illinois favorite Joe Cooksey finished seventh in the Fuelvend Express Chevrolet. Open-wheel standout Brian Tyler was eighth in the Great Clips Chevrolet. Steve Arpin finished ninth in the Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet. Bryan Silas was 10th in the Rockingham Speedway-Holland Pumps Chevrolet.
Eight cautions slowed the race for 35 laps, the last of which happened inside of 10 laps from the finish when Eddie Pearson and Tim George, Jr tangled in turn three. That set up the one lap shoot-out to the finish that bunched up the field behind Kligerman. On the restart, Kimmel looked inside Kligerman in turn one, but once Kligerman cleared turn two, he stretched his advantage to five lengths.
The ARCA RE/MAX Series heads to the New Jersey Motorsports Park road course next with the second annual South Jersey Building Trades 150 Sunday, September 13.