ARCA: Kenny Irwin Wins First Plus Financial 200

8 February 1998

Kenny Irwin, Jr.
Kenny Irwin, Jr.
DAYTONA BEACH, FL: In the second half of Sunday's doubleheader, NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Kenny Irwin captured the FirstPlus Financial 200 by holding off a third Wallace brother, Mike Wallace, in the season-opening race for the ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series.

Irwin, who will pilot Robert Yates' No. 28 Havoline Ford Taurus on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 1998, won his first career start at Daytona.

The race came down to a four-car duel among Irwin, Wallace, Mike Ciochetti and Frank Kimmel, but while fighting for third place, Ciochetti and Kimmel got together in turn four on the last lap. Irwin was able to hold off the hard-charging Wallace by .244 seconds at the finish line.

"Before today I had no drafting experience whatsoever," said Irwin. "But, I learned a lot in 80 laps about what I need to do. I think you saw a couple of times where I got snookered or taken advantage of, so next time I'll know what to do.

"After what I learned today, I would hate to think that I was starting the Gatorade 125s without the experience I got today. After qualifying yesterday the whole team was kind of down. So this will help the whole No. 28 team get back up heading into the 125s on Thursday."

Irwin led 41 of 80 laps including the final 11 en route to his first victory ever on a superspeedway. Irwin averaged 153.191 mph.

Qualifying and practice action continues today (Monday) at the Speedway with NASCAR Winston Cup Series Second-Round Qualifying set for 1 p.m. The next racing action at the Speedway will be Thursday's Gatorade 125s, which will set positions 3-30 for the"Great American Race," Sunday's Daytona 500.

For ticket information, call the Speedway Ticket Office at (904) 253-7223.

Editors Note: The images displayed in this article (plus many more) can be viewed in the Racing Image Gallery.

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