Stenhouse Earns Career First ARCA Victory at Kentucky

SPARTA KY (5-10-08) – SunTrust Rookie of the Year contender Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., in the No. 99 Ford, got the best of Scott Speed over the course of three late-race restarts to earn his career first ARCA RE/MAX Series victory in only his sixth series start Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway.

The Olive Branch, Mississippi driver not only left with the top trophy, he also left with the point lead by a slim five point margin over Frank Kimmel.

“I don’t know if it has really sunk in yet,” said Stenhouse. “I think the win probably won’t sink in until a little later on. We’ve come out here and have had good runs and to finally have a win is great. We’re coming towards the end of a long stretch of races and so hopefully after winning here we can do well at Toledo and go off on a high point before taking a few weekends off. The Roush Fenway Ford Fusion and the Roush Yates engines are awesome. We could pull up next to someone and just keep going. I’ve actually been struggling really bad on the restarts until those last few. The thing that really helped was nailing those restarts.”

Speed, who led 55 of 112 laps in the Red Bull Toyota, had a 10-length advantage over the field with less than 10 laps remaining before a series of late-race wrecks bunched the field up time and time again. Speed survived the first green-white-checkered restart, but not the second during which Stenhouse got a run and blew by on the outside. Speed would get one more chance to get the lead back on the final restart, but to no avail. Stenhouse held firm and cruised under the checkered flag .374 seconds in front of Speed, who finished second.

Surrey British Columbia driver Ryan Fischer battled back from an early-race spin to finish a career-best third in the Venturini Chevrolet. Fischer’s crew chief Billy Venturini earned the Cometic Crew Chief of the Race award as a result.

Speed’s teammate Ken Butler III, who started 20th, finished fourth in the Aaron’s Lucky Dog Dream Machine Toyota earning the Casite Hard Charger award. John Wes Townley finished fifth in the Zaxby’s-SPS-BB&T Ford.

Rookie Sean Caisse, in his first series start, was impressive earning the SIM Factory Pole Award and leading the first seven laps before Bill Davis Racing’s Michael Annett took control of the top-spot on lap eight. Annett led up through lap 31 before rookie Jake Francis marched his way into the lead on lap 39. Francis led the next 13 circuits before Speed, fresh from his one and only pit stop, passed Francis for the lead on lap 52. From there, Speed kept the field at bay, leading the way up through lap 106 before Stenhouse took control for good.

The race was extended 12 laps to accommodate the ARCA-mandated rule that no race can finish under caution. Ten cautions slowed the race for 55 laps for a variety of incidents. Despite all the cautions, only five cars were listed as ‘accidents’ on the final result sheet. There were no injuries.

The late-race restarts also played havoc with teams’ fuel mileage plans. Tom Hessert III was running third coming to the final restart when his Maaco Auto Painting Ford ran out of gas. Speed’s fuel tank also went bone-dry as the Manteca, California driver crossed under the checkered flag after stretching his final run 84 laps.

Stenhouse also earned the SunTrust Highest Finishing Rookie of the Race honors while Speed was credited with the Aaron’s Lap Leader award for leading the most laps. Francis was the Klotz Halfway Leader. Caisse posted the Accel Fastest Lap of the Race.

Top-10 ARCA RE/MAX Series Points After Drive Smart! Buckle-Up Kentucky 150 at Kentucky Speedway 1) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 1365; 2) Frank Kimmel 1360; 3) John Wes Townley 1320; 4) Matt Carter 1315; 5) Tom Hessert 1295; 6) Scott Speed 1240; 7) Justin Allgaier 1230; 8) Patrick Sheltra 1215; 9) Ken Butler 1165; 10) Tayler Malsam 1140.

ARCA RE/MAX Series Returns to Short Track Racing; Hometown Toledo Speedway Up Next
From Kentucky, the ARCA RE/MAX Series is headed to Toledo Speedway for the Hantz Group 200 presented by Federated Car Care on Sunday, May 18th, 2008. will feature live timing and scoring for all ARCA RE/MAX Series on-track sessions at Toledo.

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