(TOLEDO, Ohio - August 30, 2012) - Following is a collection of news and notes, facts and figures, and insider information for Monday's Southern Illinois 100 presented by Federated Car Care at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds.
Versatile ARCA Racing Series, Southern Illinois 100 Turn 60 Together at DuQuoin
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, celebrating its 60th Anniversary Season in 2012, is steering for the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds "Magic Mile" dirt, where the 60th running of the Southern Illinois 100 presented by Federated Car Care comes alive Labor Day Monday, September 3. The momentous meeting will take shape alongside the 90th annual DuQuoin State Fair.
DuQuoin Race No. 18 of 20 in ARCA's 60th Anniversary Season; 347th ARCA Race on Dirt
The Southern Illinois 100 is the 18th of 20 events on the 2012 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards tour. The DuQuoin race is sandwiched in between two short track races on tour - the Madison Int'l Speedway last Sunday and the upcoming (Sept. 15) race at Salem Speedway. The race at DuQuoin will also be ARCA's 347th race contested on a dirt track since the series inception in 1953.
Eight Illinoisans Invade ARCA on DuQuoin Mile Dirt; UMP Nat'l Late Model Champ Unzicker Entered
DuQuoin always attracts an interesting assortment of Illinoisans to the line-up. This year's entry list includes a strong contingent from the Land of Lincoln including Mark Littleton (Arenzville), AJ Fike (Galesburg), Kelly Kovski (Springfield), Rodney Melvin (Benton), Joe Cooksey (Centralia), Joseph Hughs (Springfield), Shane Cockrum (Benton), and Ryan Unzicker (El Paso). Unzicker is the 2011 UMP Late Model National Champion.
Championship Title Fight Tight at the Top to DuQuoin
Nineteen-year-old Chris Buescher and 50-year-old veteran Frank Kimmel are preparing to take the ARCA Racing Series title fight to the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds mile dirt. With just three races remaining on the 2012 tour - DuQuoin, Salem (Sept. 15) and Kansas (Oct. 19) - the stakes could not be higher for both. Buescher, who won at Madison Int'l Speedway last Sunday, increased his point lead to 60 points over Kimmel headed to DuQuoin. However, Kimmel dominated with a convincing victory on the Springfield mile dirt two weeks ago, and heads to DuQuoin as a five time winner of the Southern Illinois 100 presented by Federated Car Care.
Team Messina Rookie Challenge, Aaron's Lap Leader Battle Big to DuQuoin
Brennan Poole (The Woodlands, Texas) is the current Team Messina Rookie Challenge leader headed to DuQuoin. However, Poole's lead is closely contested by Tucson, Arizona's Alex Bowman. Bowman, who drives for Cunningham Motorsports, trails Poole by just 12 points for the 2012 Team Messina Rookie Challenge Title. Bowman, however, currently leads Poole in the Aaron's Lap Leader special award category, having led 487 laps in 11 races. Poole trails in second with 472 laps led in seven races.
Kimmel; King of the Clay
Nine-time ARCA Racing Series champion Frank Kimmel is the all-time, modern-day ARCA dirt winner with 14 wins overall at Springfield, the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds and the West Virginia Motor Speedway. His record at Springfield is especially incredible where, in his last 16 events there, he has won a record eight times. His record at DuQuoin is also impressive. In addition to what could be a good points day, Kimmel could also secure another milestone at DuQuoin with what would be a record sixth victory there. Currently, Kimmel is tied with the late Dean Roper in all-time Southern Illinois 100 wins - each having five victories in the prestigious stock car classic. Kimmel can also surpass Billy Thomas as the all-time Southern Illinois lap leader. Should Kimmel lead 12 laps Monday, Thomas's record will fall. Thomas has led 437 laps at DuQuoin to Kimmel's 426. Kimmel's most recent victory at Springfield was his 76th career ARCA win, just three shy of Iggy Katona's all-time win mark of 79.
Double Duty at DuQuoin for AJ Fike
Galesburg, Illinois driver AJ Fike is one of two drivers entered doing double duty at DuQuoin. The former ARCA Menards Pole winner is entered for the USAC Silver Crown Series race Sunday night as well as the ARCA Racing Series Southern Illinois 100 Monday. Fike won the Silver Crown race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds back in late August but failed to finish the ARCA race. Fike finished fourth in the ARCA race in 2009 at DuQuoin where he also earned the Menards Pole Award. The other driver entered for both DuQuoin State Fair race events this year is Benton, Ill.'s Shane Cockrum.
Three Former Southern Illinois 100 Winners in the Field
Five-time DuQuoin winner Frank Kimmel will be joined by two other former DuQuoin winners in the field, including Fort Frances, Ontario's Steve Arpin, who won for Venturini Motorsports in 2010; and Chris Buescher, who won for Roulo Brothers Racing in 2011.
Venturini Motorsports Times Five at DuQuoin; Canadian Arpin, Chili Bowl Champ Swindell, and More
Venturini Motorsports has entered five teams at DuQuoin, including Canadian Steve Arpin in the No. 15 Loenbro Pipeline Solutions Chevrolet and the No. 55 Curb Records Chevrolet with Kevin Swindell in the driver's seat. Swindell, the son of World of Outlaws Sprint Car Champion Sammy Swindell, has won the last three consecutive Chili Bowl National Midget events. Swindell, in his first ARCA start on dirt at Springfield in late August, finished third behind winner Frank Kimmel and runner-up driver Alex Bowman. Other Venturini Motorsports entrants include Brennan Poole in the No. 25 Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet. Poole, from The Woodlands, Texas, is still very much in the championship hunt in third position, 135 points from the leader Chris Buescher. The remaining Venturini Motorsports entrants are Nelson Canache (Caracas, Venezuela) in the No. 35 Venezuela Tourism Chevrolet, and Ryan Unzicker (El Paso, Ill.) in the No. 66 RJR Transportation Chevrolet.
Past Southern Illinois 100 Winners List Impressive
he past winners list of the Southern Illinois 100 includes some of the greatest names in motorsports. Jay Frank won the inaugural Southern Illinois 100 in 1950. Just some of the winners who would follow include Marshall Teague, Indy 500 winners Jimmy Bryan and AJ Foyt, Fred Lorenzen, Don White, Norm Nelson, Jack Bowsher, NASCAR champions Rusty Wallace and Tony Stewart, Bob Keselowski, Frank Kimmel, Billy Thomas, Ken Schrader, Parker Kligerman, and most recently, Chris Buescher, in 2011.
Oldest to Youngest
Sixty one years separate the oldest driver from the youngest driver entered in the field for Monday's Southern Illinois 100. James Hylton, who turned 78 just last Sunday on the day of the Madison race, is the oldest while high school senior Mason Mingus is the youngest at just 17. Mingus, who drives the No. 32 Diamond Equipment Toyota for Win-Tron Racing, is the Captain of his high school Tennessee state championship wrestling team. Hylton was the 1966 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year.
Grueling/Versatile Late Summer Stretch for ARCA Warriors
The event on the New Jersey Motorsports Park road course kicked off a grueling and very versatile stretch for the ARCA teams, depictive of the tour's diversity. This particular stretch started July 1 on the New Jersey road course and will end on the Salem short track on September 15. In addition to the New Jersey road course and Salem short track, the tour will travel in between to superspeedways at Chicagoland, Pocono and Kansas, short tracks at Iowa, Lucas Oil Raceway, Berlin, Madison and Salem, and two late-season mile dirt tracks at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield and the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in DuQuoin, Ill. During the span, the ARCA tour will race at 10 different tracks over an 11 week period. Kansas will wrap the 2012 season on October 19.