FRANK KIMMEL won his first ever Talladega Superspeedway race and moved that much closer to taking his eighth ARCA championship Friday at the ARCA-RE/MAX Food World 250 race.
The race was ended 13 laps short of the scheduled number of laps, due to darkness. When the fifth caution came out officials decided not to restart the race. This left STEVE WALLACE and JUAN PABLO MONTOYA out of luck in their battle to charge for the lead.
Wallace, son of RUSTY WALLACE, finished second and Montoya finished third. Rusty was coaching his son, and Montoya had team owner CHIP GANASSI at the other end of his radio.
This was JPM's stock car debut and he made a credible effort. He led nine laps at the start, made a great save when he was caught out by someone else's accident, fell to the back after pitting for repairs and then pitting three more times for more repairs, recovered from a penalty for entering a closed pit-lane, charged back up to second place and learned how to draft, bump, and understand NASCAR-speak. Perhaps the most difficult part of the weekend was waiting out the extra thirty minutes the car took going through NASCAR tech.
Ganassi graded Montoya at a nine on a scale of 1-10. Montoya said "I haven't had this much fun in a race for a long time. I'm not saying F1 is bad or anything. I think it's great racing as well. The cars are unbelievable, but I haven't had this much fun in a long time. I passed probably 40 cars today easily. It's outrageous."
Montoya will test the Car of Tomorrow Monday at Talladega, and then on to Memphis for testing. "I think the plan is to go to Iowa and see what happens. The more miles we do, and the more experience I get, the better it's going to be."
It was a competitive 41-car ARCA field, which saw another ten drivers go home after Qualifying. The three-wide driving and drafting is one reason two spotters were required for the newly paved 2.66-mile super speedway.
Road race veteran, TONY AVE/No.87 Cyberspeed Racing Chevrolet, DNF when he was involved in a multi-car accident, taking out five cars. It wasn't his fault but no matter. The cleanup on this accident was deemed to be too lengthy for the quickly closing darkness, and the race was called as the track has no lights. Doesn't matter what RICKY BOBBY had in Talladega Nights
. Ave had been running fourteenth at the time and had run as high as eighth, which gave him at that point the most positions gained in the race. Ave had been put to the back of the field at the start due to a transmission change. Team-mate, rookie SKIP CUMMINS, finished eighteenth and turned the second fastest race lap.
Earlier in the day, MARK MARTIN earned the pole for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series John Deere 250 at Talladega, with a lap of 52.523secs. AJ ALLMENDINGER qualified twenty-fifth for his second NASCAR race. He's on a break in his busy Champ Car schedule where he's second in the championship race.