Daytona Beach, Fla – Multi-car wrecks, red flags and six cautions could not keep ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship contender Austin Theriault from finding his way to victory lane at Daytona Int’l Speedway.
Theriault, in Ken Schrader’s No. 52 Orlando Longwood Auto Auction Chevrolet, kept himself up front most of the way and, as a result, out of harm’s way to win the action-packed Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 Driven by General Tire Saturday afternoon.
Theriault, who led just four laps, drove around the outside of Terry Jones on lap 73, and then held on up through lap 75, which ended up being long enough to win when the race officially ended five laps shy of the intended distance.
“Just an amazing effort from my guys…Ken Schrader Racing brought a great Orlando Longwood Auto Auction Chevrolet,” said Theriault. “I think we would have won even if we would have gone back to green…our car was that strong.”
However, the race didn’t go back to green as a result of damage to the safer barrier that required repairs that would have taken longer to fix than the series’ allotted time.
With sprinkles in the air, Jones, in the No. 30 NORTRAX Toyota, finished second after leading 25 laps, more laps than anyone else.
“I was praying for rain late in the race,” said Jones. “This was my best superspeedway finish. We had a good clean run…stayed up front all day and out of trouble. It would have been so cool to bring the trophy back to Canada. We were just a few laps from winning. We’re not done trying, I’ll tell you that.”
As a single car team, Theriault, who started ninth, had to rely on help from some of his fiercest competitors.
“The Cunningham cars (Shane Lee and Dalton Sargeant) helped a lot today and played a strong part in getting us to the front. I thought the 25 (Tom Hessert) did a great job…he pushed us along on the outside. We just had a really strong car all day, especially with good cars behind us. Gained a couple spots on pit road…had a lot of help on the track and we put ourselves in position to win. Me and Kenny (Schrader) are excited to get to the phones and see if we can make something happen. Our focus is to run for the ARCA championship and we made that clear tonight.”
Cunningham Motorsports teammates Shane Lee and Dalton Sargeant had a productive night, finishing third and fourth respectively.
“Overall, our car was really good,” said Lee, driver of the No. 22 Big Tine Ford. “It was really fast with the 25 and 30. We got stuck in a few lines that weren’t working so we had to side-draft a little more than usual but we can’t complain…this is a great way to start off the season. The General Tires were great and we didn’t slide ’em. This is a good night.”
Sargeant finished fourth in the No. 77 Phoenix Construction-Billy Ballew Ford.
“This is pretty special to come to Daytona with a new Cunningham Motorsports team and come out with a top-five,” said Sargeant. “This is my first Daytona race…you definitely side-draft a lot more than you do at Talladega. Had a lot of fun. Overall, a good night and a solid night for the championship. Fortunately, we were ahead of all those wrecks.”
General Tire polesitter Tom Hessert finished fifth in the No. 25 Andrews-Renton Coil Spring Toyota after leading the first 21 laps.
Six caution periods and three multi-car crashes mixed up the order throughout the race, including one on lap 75 that resulted in Justin Fontaine getting upside on the frontstretch. Fontaine was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation. Despite nearly half the field sustaining some level of damage, all drivers were evaluated and released with the exception of Fontaine.
Bret Holmes finished sixth in the No. 23 Southern States Bank-Holmes II Excavation Chevrolet. Ricky Sanders was seventh in the No. 69 Kimmel Racing-Pitboxes.com Ford. Kyle Weatherman gave Mason Mitchell Motorsports its best finish among a three-car team with an eighth-place finish in the No. 78 St. Charles Glass-Turn One Condos Chevrolet. Rookie Clint King was ninth in the No. 58 Warehouse Design-Lira Racing Ford. Weatherman’s teammate Kaz Grala finished 10th in the No. 88 Kiklos Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil Chevrolet.
The next race for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is the Music City 200 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville April 8.
ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards
Daytona Int’l Speedway (Feb. 18, 2017)
Results, Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 Driven by General TIre
|1||9||52||Austin Theriault/Fort Kent ME||75||Running|
|2||12||30||Terry Jones/Amherstburg ON||75||Running|
|3||19||22||Shane Lee/Newton NC||75||Running|
|4||10||77||Dalton Sargeant/Boca Raton FL||75||Running|
|5||1||25||Tom Hessert/Cherry Hill NJ||75||Running|
|6||14||23||Bret Holmes/Munford AL||75||Running|
|7||20||69||Ricky Sanders/Stockbridge GA||75||Running|
|8||4||78||Kyle Weatherman/Wentzville MO||75||Running|
|9||29||58||Clint King/Denton NC||75||Running|
|10||6||88||Kaz Grala/Westboro MA||75||Running|
|11||22||46||Sean Corr/Goshen NY||75||Running|
|12||2||18||Matt Tifft/Hinckley OH||75||Running|
|13||32||33||Justin Fontaine/Fletcher NC||75||Running|
|14||18||7||Codie Rohrbaugh/Petersburg WV||75||Running|
|15||21||5||Bobby Gerhart/Lebanon PA||75||Running|
|16||13||83||Derrick Lancaster/Christiansburg VA||75||Running|
|17||35||48||Brad Smith/Shelby Township MI||75||Running|
|18||26||16||John Ferrier/Middletown NY||75||Running|
|19||17||15||Leilani Munter/Rochester MN||74||Running|
|20||39||02||Andy Seuss/Salisbury NC||73||Running|
|21||7||38||Ray Ciccarelli/Reistertown MD||73||Running|
|22||25||01||Travis Braden/Wheeling WV||73||Running|
|23||36||3||Mike Senica/Doylestown PA||71||Running|
|24||37||06||Scott Edwards/Norfolk England||70||Running|
|25||24||42||Bo LeMastus/Louisville KY||68||Out|
|26||33||55||Noah Gragson/Las Vegas NV||68||Running|
|27||8||28||Michael Self/Draper UT||67||Out|
|28||16||98||Quin Houff/Mt. Sidney VA||66||Out|
|29||23||9||Thomas Praytor/Mobile AL||65||Out|
|30||30||10||Ed Pompa/Ballston Spa NY||65||Out|
|31||15||66||Mark Thompson/Cartersville GA||49||Out|
|32||27||32||Gus Dean/Bluffton SC||49||Out|
|33||28||80||Caesar Bacarella/Parkland FL||49||Out|
|34||31||27||AJ Fike/Galesburg IL||49||Out|
|35||40||37||David LeBeau/Daytona Beach FL||49||Out|
|36||34||2||Eric Caudell/Piedmont OK||49||Out|
|37||11||6||Michael Lira/Port Orange FL||49||Out|
|38||3||11||Bryan Dauzat/Concord NC||44||Out|
|39||38||0||Con Nicolopoulos/Columbus MI||15||Out|
|40||5||34||Willie Mullins/Fredericksburg VA||13||Out|
|41||67||Cody Lane/Port Richey FL||DNS|
|42||71||Gene Paul/Tarpon Springs FL||DNS|
|43||20||Zane Smith/Huntington Beach CA||DNS|
|44||81||Riley Herbst/Las Vegas NV||DNS|
|General Tire Pole Award: Tom Hessert – 48.143 (186.943)|
|Margin of Victory: Caution|
|Time of Race: 1:51:14|
|Lap Leaders: Tom Hessert 1-21 (21); Quin Houff 22-44 (23); Terry Jones 45-47,49-64,66-70,72 (25)|
|Dalton Sargeant 48 (1); Shane Lee 65 (1); Austin Theriault 71, 73-75 (4)|
|Fastest Lap of the Race: Noah Gragson – 46.918 (191.824)|