Gerhart Wins Daytona For 7th Time

Daytona Beach, Fla. – Like fine wine, Bobby Gerhart improves with age. At 52, he once again dominated the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at the Daytona International Speedway, leading 60 of the 80 laps en route to his seventh victory in a 13-year period. The race marked the season opener for the ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards.

Relying upon his experience, Gerhart outmaneuvered a mix of young and veteran drivers to score the win. Seeking an advantage, he gambled with an early pit stop – fuel only on the fifth lap – and when the frontrunners pitted, the Pennsylvania driver moved to the front on lap 60 and hugged the inside line all the way to the finish line. Five cars were close behind, but they were never able to overtake him.

The winner played it so close on fuel he ran out as he approached victory lane.

“It was a storybook finish,” Gerhart said. “We pitted 10 laps earlier than we planned on, and it worked out for us. Throughout the week it was evident we didn’t have the fastest car, so we took a gamble. I learned something from racing here, if you want to win these races, you have to put yourself into a position to do it. Tonight was certainly an example of that, but we needed some things to go our way and they did so.”

Gerhart has been racing at Daytona since 1988 but his seven victories have been accumulated in the last 13 years.

Second was Chris Buescher, 18, one of the youngest drivers in the field. He drove the Roulo Brothers Racing Ford. Said the Texan about his first superspeedway race, “We thought we had a chance, but he pulled it off again. I had a blast.”

While Gerhart drove in his 269th ARCA event, Buescher made his 16th start.

Third was Matt Merrell in the Red Line Oil Toyota.

Ricky Carmichael ran near the front throughout to finish fourth in a Chevrolet.

Fifth and sixth were Jason Bowles and Joey Licata.

Rounding out the top-10 were Benny Gordon, Chad McCumbee, Grant Enfinger and veteran Frank Kimmel, who dropped to the rear at the start to avoid early lap incidents.

Five caution flags slowed the race for 30 laps and there was one race stoppage to clean up debris.

A multi-car accident with 16 laps to go eliminated eight cars and damaged several others.

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