Ty Dillon finished a dramatic slingshot pass over Frank Kimmel late in the final lap at Talladega Superspeedway to win the 3 Amigos 250, adding another success to his blistering start in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. The victory is Dillon's first of 2011 and third in five career ARCA starts.
Dillon (No. 41 Xinergy/Richard Childress Racing Development Chevrolet) started on the pole, led 50 laps, and won by 0.038 second to become the 20th driver to win an ARCA Racing Series event at Talladega from the first position. As simple as that sounds, the rookie needed every last foot on the last of 94 laps around the 2.66-mile superspeedway to beat Kimmel (No. 44 Ansell/Menards Ford).
"I asked halfway down the back what lap it was and (the crew) said, 'It's the last one. Time to go,'" Dillon said. "I got up at the right time and it just worked out perfect. I'm so happy for my guys. The Xinergy Chevrolet was awesome, definitely the fastest car here. We sat on both poles at superspeedways, and to get a win at Talladega is special."
Kimmel's narrow defeat was a crushing end to a day that appeared to be his best chance to return to Victory Lane after 45 previous ARCA Racing Series events without a win. Kimmel's last victory came at Salem (Ind.) Speedway in September 2008, leaving him at 74 career wins. The runner-up result was Kimmel's third in 19 starts at Talladega, and his eighth top-five at the track.
"I'm just disappointed," Kimmel said. "Usually at the tri-oval here, you want to lead back to the line. Ty did a great job and got a good run. I blocked him all the way to the tri-oval and I probably should have blocked him all the way to the start/finish line. I just got beat. It's unfortunate."
The win is the 12th for Richard Childress Racing at Talladega, and the first for the team in the ARCA Racing Series. Former ARCA drivers Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer swept the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule at Talladega in 2010, and Dale Earnhardt won nine races at Talladega for the team between 1984 and 2000. Childress glowed with pride as he talked about his grandson's victory.
"I thought it was a great win," Childress said. "(Ty) really ran a smart race. He really studies racing hard. I'm just really proud of him for all the effort he's put into it. You can have a good car but you've got to know what to do with it. He does, and he puts a lot of work and effort into it. Somebody asked me what I thought about that last lap, and I said it looked like an Earnhardt move on that last lap at the right time. Kind of like Clint, Kevin, and these guys have done, he's watched so much racing."
Dillon pulled away at the drop of the green flag, and teammate Tim George Jr. jumped into the second spot almost right away to create a single-file line that stayed intact until Kyle Fowler dropped out of the third position with mechanical problems on Lap 14. Two laps later, Terry Jones' engine expired, leaving a substantial cloud over the frontstretch and bringing out the race's first caution.
With the yellow flag out, Dillon led a group of cars onto pit road, ceding the lead to Alabama native Grant Enfinger. Enfinger pitted from the lead on Lap 20 and gave the top spot to Dakoda Armstrong, who took his first ARCA win at Talladega last April. Dillon only needed three laps to move in front of Armstrong, using a push from Brandon McReynolds and George, among others, to his advantage.
James Hylton hit the wall on Lap 28 to cause the race's second caution, and Dillon again led the field to the green flag on Lap 34. The top 13 drivers ran single-file off of the restart for several laps, but the back half of the pack decided at Lap 43 to work together and create an outside line with the intention of passing Dillon.
Chad McCumbee started the action by pushing Kimmel from just inside the top 10; the two had worked together throughout the day after starting 20th and 22nd, respectively, and falling back at the beginning of the season's longest race.
Matt Merrell then joined the string, pushing McCumbee as high as third place on the next lap. Hal Martin then spun between the first and second turns on Lap 45, causing the race's third caution. Dillon led McReynolds, George, McCumbee, and Bobby Gerhart through the yellow period and to the green flag on Lap 50.
The top three drivers pulled away on the restart, but McCumbee, Gerhart, and Kimmel teamed up on the outside in an attempt to create another run at Dillon. Dillon's lead over McReynolds stayed just above 0.15 second for several laps, but the second group shoved Kimmel to the lead on Lap 52.
Armstrong, Gerhart, and Merrell then teamed up on the top line, but were not able to match Kimmel at the front. Bryan Silas then suffered major damage, drove onto pit road, and stopped there, bringing the race's fourth caution with Kimmel in the lead.
Dillon used the outside line to surge past Kimmel on the Lap 66 restart, but Kimmel was able to hold McReynolds away. Scott Lagasse Jr. and Sean Corr followed to fill out the top five with 28 laps to go.
Armstrong surged back into the picture, first driving on the outside line and pushing McReynolds to the lead to start the 70th lap, and then taking the lead himself to finish the lap. Kimmel returned to the lead one lap later, holding it for 11 laps through another caution period - started by Martin's second incident.
McReynolds pushed Enfinger toward the front, helping Enfinger to second on Lap 81. One lap later, McReynolds pushed him again, giving the Alabaman a Lap 82 lead just as George tried to close on Kimmel before totally clear. The move punched a hole in Kimmel's front end and sent George around for the race's final caution.
The green flag flew on Lap 87, as Enfinger led a single-file line over Chris Buescher, Kimmel, and Dillon. McReynolds had been in the mix, but ran out of gas on Lap 85. Dillon and Kimmel teamed up out of the second turn, and the two drove around Enfinger for the lead.
Buescher remained fourth until getting shuffled back on Lap 88, and Enfinger tried to move outside on the backstretch of Lap 91. He found no help, and also fell back.
Gerhart jumped to the outside, hoping to repeat after his superspeedway win from Daytona two months ago. He raced to within 0.009 second of Kimmel at the drop of the white flag, but the action was far from over. Kimmel held the inside line, causing Dillon to look outside. Kimmel successfully blocked at first, but Dillon made another attempt as the cars entered the tri-oval, and Dillon passed him down the frontstretch and just before the checkered flag, the two driving side-by-side.
Gerhart and the No. 5 Lucas Oil Chevrolet finished third.
Brett Hudson matched a career-high in his 23rd ARCA Racing Series start, driving the No. 94 Hudson Performance Drivelines Dodge to fourth.
Buescher continued an impressive start to his superspeedway career, following a runner-up finish at Daytona with a fifth-place result in the No. 17 ApplianceZone.com/David Ragan Ford/Jet Food Stores Ford.
Tom Hessert, Brian Rose, Scott Lagasse Jr., Will Vaught, and Merrell completed the top 10. Joey Coulter was 11th, Maryeve Dufault was 12th, Enfinger finished 13th, Armstrong ended 14th, and Pierre Bourque finished 15th.
Six caution periods slowed the action for a total of 32 laps. The race finished in one hour, 58 minutes, and 13 seconds, for an average speed of 126.906 mph.
Dillon led Lap 47, marking the race's halfway point, and won the $500 Messina Halfway Leader Award for the race. His 50 laps led were far more than any other driver, giving him the $500 Aaron's Lap Leader of the Race Award as well.
The race, which had been scheduled to run Friday afternoon, was delayed until 8 a.m. Central today by severe weather in Alabama.
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards will return to action Sunday, May 1 at Salem (Ind.) Speedway.
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards has crowned an ARCA national champion each year since its inaugural season in 1953, and has toured over 200 race tracks in 28 states since its inception. The series tests the abilities of drivers and race teams over the most diverse schedule of stock car racing events in the world, annually visiting tracks ranging from 0.4 mile to 2.66 miles in length, on both paved and dirt surfaces as well as a left- and right-turn road course.
Founded by John Marcum in 1953 in Toledo, Ohio, the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is recognized among the leading sanctioning bodies in the country. Closing in on completing its sixth decade after hundreds of thousands of miles of racing, ARCA administers over 100 race events each season in two professional touring series and local weekly events.
2011 Event #2, ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards
Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega AL, 4-15-11
3 Amigos 250, Official Results
FIN STR NO DRIVER/HOMETOWN TEAM & CAR LAPS STATUS
1 1 41 Ty Dillon/Lewisville NC Ixinergy Chevrolet 94 Running
2 22 44 Frank Kimmel/Clarksville IN Ansell-Menards Ford 94 Running
3 10 5 Bobby Gerhart/Lebanon PA Lucas Oil Chevrolet 94 Running
4 18 94 Brett Hudson/Owensboro KY Hudson Performance Drivelines Dodge 94 Running
5 14 17 Chris Buescher/Prosper TX ApplicanceZone.com-David Ragan Ford-Jet Food Stores Ford 94 Running
6 5 52 Tom Hessert/Cherry Hill NJ Federated Auto Parts Toyota 94 Running
7 15 19 Brian Rose/Louisville KY Battomi-Lawton Insurance-Reynolds Pump Toyota 94 Running
8 4 25 Scott Lagasse Jr./St. Augustine FL Lauren Briant-University of Montevallo Toyota 94 Running
9 26 51 Will Vaught/Crane MO CureDuchenne.org Chevrolet 94 Running
10 12 32 Matt Merrell/Portland TX Champion Brands Toyota 94 Running
11 7 16 Joey Coulter/Miami Springs FL Rip It Energy Fuel-Darrell Gwynn Foundation Chevy 94 Running
12 39 12 Maryeve Dufault/Sorel Quebec VR 12-Dodge Motorsports Dodge 94 Running
13 17 36 Grant Enfinger/Fairhope AL BeasleyAllen.com-Global Casting Solutions Dodge 94 Running
14 13 22 Dakoda Armstrong/New Castle IN Ferrellgas-Syngenta Seeds Dodge 94 Running
15 16 6 Pierre Bourque/Ottawa ON Revolution Resources Fight Network-ESR Toyota 94 Running
16 19 82 Sean Corr/Goshen NY Empire Racing Ford 94 Running
17 27 58 Chad Hackenbracht/New Philadelphia OH CGH Motorsports Chevrolet 94 Running
18 3 31 Tim George Jr./New York NY Applebee's-Potomac Family Dining Group Chevrolet 94 Running
19 8 63 Milka Duno/Caracas Venezuela Citgo Supergard Lubricants Toyota 94 Running
20 20 1 Chad McCumbee/Supply NC ModSpace Ford 94 Running
21 30 23 Nick Igdalsky/Long Pond PA Fox Realty Chevrolet 94 Running
22 32 14 Barry Fitzgerald/Sykesville MD IndustrialDepot.com Ford 94 Running
23 33 11 Richard Harriman/Snohomish WA NSSN-Fast Track Blue Collar Hero Driver Challenge Chevy 94 Running
24 35 28 Rob Jones/Bowie MD Homestyle Foods-Hixson Construction Chevrolet 94 Running
25 6 4 Brandon McReynolds/Mooresville NC Wolfpack Rentals Chevrolet 93 Running
26 25 3 Brent Brevak/Eau Claire WI Brevak Racing Ford 84 Running
27 31 75 Benny Chastain/Tallahassee FL AARP Chevrolet 73 Transmission
28 11 55 Hal Martin/Galliano LA NOLA Motorsports Park Toyota 71 Accident
29 36 06 Wayne Peterson/Pulaski TN Wayne Peterson Racing Chevrolet 69 Clutch
30 9 98 Bryan Silas/Stuart FL VVA-Rockingham Speedway Toyota 57 Accident
31 34 34 Darrell Basham/Henryville IN F&W Bar & Grill of Lincoln AL Chevrolet 41 Oil Leak
32 28 26 Brad Smith/Shelby Township MI BradSmithMotorsports.com Dodge 30 Transmission
33 29 48 James Hylton/Inman SC Radon.com Ford 26 Accident
34 37 10 Charlie Vest/Ocoee FL Fast Track High Performance Driving School Ford 19 Vibration
35 21 30 Terry Jones/Amherstburg ON Jones Group Dodge 15 Engine
36 2 15 Kyle Fowler/Smyrna GA Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet 14 Engine
37 23 77 Joey Licata/Van Nuys CA Cunningham Motorsports Dodge 9 Handling
38 24 68 Will Kimmel/Sellersburg IN Clarksville Schwinn & Cyclery Ford 4 Alternator
39 38 0 Tim Mitchell/Fayetteville TN Wayne Peterson Racing Ford 3 Clutch
MENARDS POLE AWARD PRESENTED BY ANSELL: Ty Dillon, 52.134 (183.681 mph)
MRGN OF VICT: 0.038 CAUTIONS: 6 for 32 Laps
TIME OF RACE: 1:58:13 AVG SPEED: 126.906
LAP LEADERS: Dillon 1-16, 23-51, 66-69, 94 (50); Enfinger 17-19, 82-86 (8); Armstrong 20-22, 70 (4);
Kimmel 52-65, 71-81, 87-93 (32)