By Don Radebaugh, ARCA Racing Series
The 102nd running of the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards at Salem Speedway went off without a hitch Saturday night, and in the end, reminded race fans why they love the Salem-ARCA connection which reaches back to the mid-50s when Jack Harrison won the inaugural event Oct. 9, 1955. No track has appeared more on ARCA's schedule over the years than Salem.
With just 3 cautions for 20 laps, no doubt, race fans also enjoyed the long green-flag runs that provided some of the best short track racing anywhere. It also didn't hurt that it came down to the wire with eventual winner Austin Theriault and Zane Smith going side-by-side for the lead inside of five laps to go before Theriault, in his Jack Bowsher Throwback scheme, sailed away to his sixth victory of the season and third consecutive in the No. 52 Ken Schrader Racing Ford. He led a whopping 140 of 200 laps.
Theriault…ARCA's Sioux Chief Short Track Champion
Theriault clinched the Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge for the year and will be official recognized as ARCA's Short Track champion at the annual championship awards banquet in Indianapolis Dec. 9. Well on his way to his first national championship, Theriault has also clinched the 2017 Bill France 4 Crown championship. With three events remaining in 2017 -- all superspeedways -- the Fort Kent, Maine racer is also leading the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge championship headed to Chicagoland Speedway next for the SCOTT 150 Thursday night, Sept. 14.
By the numbers, Theriault has been nothing short of amazing in his first full season, leading the charge with 6 wins at Daytona, Elko, Madison, Road America, DuQuoin and Salem. Theriault is now the only driver in series history who has won on all of ARCA's track types and disciplines in one single season to include a superspeedway, a paved short-track, a road course and a dirt track. After 19 career starts -- 16 top-5 finishes and none outside the top-10 -- his average finish is 3.16. Impressive.
Theriault with a Jack Bowsher Toss-Back
Theriault's Throwback scheme to the late Jack Bowsher, a simple yet effective blue and white combination, proved popular with the people. Some fans recall the days at Salem 1963-65 when Bowsher ripped off 7 straight wins on the Salem high-banks, a record to this day. Bowsher family members, daughter-in-law Christa Bowsher and grand daughter JD Bowsher, were also on hand for the race and joined Theriault in Victory Lane for the celebration. Bowsher's crew chief for those 7 wins, Buck Newland, also attended the race and participated in the pre-race ceremonial autograph session as did other heroes from days gone by to include ARCA/NASCAR Cup winner "Chargin" Charlie Glotzbach, ARCA veteran Jack Wallace, 1982 ARCA national champion Scott Stovall, 1987 Daytona ARCA 200 winner Ralph Jones and 3-time ARCA winner Bill Kimmel, Sr.
Chat Board on arcaracing.com lights up with Maine flavor
Austin Theriault, the first driver to compete in ARCA competition from the state of Maine, not only lit up Victory Lane, he lit up the ARCA Chat Board on Live Timing & Scoring. More and more fans are chiming in from the state of Maine who continue to follow Theriault's amazing season. Daytona 500 champion Geoff Bodine also checked in on the Chat Board in search of information on Bo LeMastus, who finished a respectable 12th in the No. 55 Crosley Brands Toyota for Venturini Motorsports. 2016 ARCA national champion driver Chase Briscoe is also a frequent flyer on ARCA's Live Chat Board.
The Eddie Gilstrap Motors ARCA Fall Classic from Salem Speedway will air on MAVTV Saturday night, Sept. 23 at 10 p.m. Eastern. The race at Salem was also the final Live Audio call of the season on arcaracing.com. Special thanks to anchor Charlie Krall for his contributions to each broadcast. The final 3 events of the 2017 season at Chicagoland, Kentucky and Kansas will be live on FS1/FS2, accompanied by Live Timing, Scoring and Chat at arcaracing.com.
SCOTT 150 at Chicagoland next
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards travels next to Chicagoland Speedway for the 17th running of the SCOTT 150 Thursday night, under the lights, Sept. 14.
Discounted tickets for the SCOTT 150 at Chicagoland Speedway are still on sale at several Menards stores throughout Illinois, Wisconsin and the greater Chicago area. The tickets are on sale in at least 70 different locations for the special price of $11 between now and Wednesday, Sept. 13 if purchased at Menards.
Among the drivers expected to race are current ARCA Racing Series championship leader Austin Theriault (Ken Schrader Racing), NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship leader Christopher Bell (Venturini Motorsports), NASCAR Xfinity Series regular Brandon Jones (MDM Motorsports), Easley, S.C.'s Kyle Benjamin (MDM Motorsports), Wentzville, Mo.'s Kyle Weatherman (Mason Mitchell Motorsports), Boca Raton, Fla.'s Dalton Sargeant and Newton, N.C.'s Shane Lee (Cunningham Motorsports), Las Vegas, Nev.'s Riley Herbst (Joe Gibbs Racing) and Seymour, Wis.'s Ty Majeski (Cunningham Motorsports).
No Repeat ARCA Winners at Chicagoland
In 16 consecutive ARCA races at Chicagoland, there have been no repeat winners among drivers. Former ARCA Chicagoland winners are Ed Berrier (2001), Chad Blount (2002), Frank Kimmel (2003), Kyle Krisiloff (2004), Dawayne Bryan (2005), Steve Wallace (2006), Michael McDowell (2007), Scott Lagasse, Jr. (2008), Justin Lofton (2009), Patrick Sheltra (2010), Ty Dillon (2011), Kevin Swindell (2012), Corey LaJoie (2013). Mason Mitchell (2014), Ryan Reed (2015) and Chase Briscoe (2016).
No Repeat ARCA Pole Winners at Chicagoland
In addition to no repeat victories among drivers, there have been no repeat General Tire pole winners either. Chad Blount (2002), Frank Kimmel (2003), Steve Wallace (2006), Michael McDowell (2007), and Kevin Swindell (2012) won the race from the pole. Other pole winners at Chicagoland include Tim Steele (2001), Stuart Kirby (2004), Joey Miller (2005), Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (2008), Brian Ickler (2009), Craig Goess (2010), Josh Richards (2011), Ryan Blaney (2013), John Wes Townley (2014), Cody Coughlin (2015) and Shane Lee (2016). The ARCA one-lap track record was set in 2008 by Stenhouse with an average speed of 180.030 mph.
The SCOTT 150 is LIVE on FS1. General Tire Pole Qualifying will accompany raceday activities at 4:35 p.m.. The SCOTT 150 starts at 7 p.m. Thursday night, Sept. 14. ARCAracing.com will provide live timing and scoring and live chat of all on-track activities.