ARCA Bondo/Mar Hyde Series: Notes Pre Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200
10 April 1998
ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series Notes Pre Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 at Salem Speedway By Don Radebaugh, For Immediate Release 4/9/98 The Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 will be the 59th ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series event staged at Salem Speedway since the series first raced there in 1955 when Jack Harrison won in a Ford. Excitement in the ARCA tradition at Salem is extremely widespread, not only with the 45 teams entered, but with the fans as well. This year's Spring race has sold out its reserved seatbacks with the remaining reserved seats nearly sold out, which is typical of the Fall event but not the Spring. Salem is the only short-track where ARCA will appear twice this season. Drivers from 11 states are represented in this year's event. To add to the interest level, five of those drivers, Brian Ross, Travis McIntire, Randy VanZant, Rick Perry and Charles Schaefer, have never participated in an ARCA event, and an additional nine drivers, Cavin Councilor, Chuck Weber, Brian Conz, Jim Lamoreaux, Rob Julian, Drew White, David Boggs, Bill Baird and Andy Belmont have never raced in an ARCA race on a track less than a mile. Belmont, currently 4th in points, has his hands full this season, not only as a full-time ARCA driver in the American Online Ford, but as the promoter of New Egypt Speedway in New Egypt, New Jersey. Interestingly enough, 20 of the 58 previously run ARCA events at Salem have been won from the pole. This year there is plenty of incentive to do the same because the AC Delco Wire & Cable Pole-Win Bonus will be worth an additional $4,000 to the polesitter if that driver wins the race as well. Benny Parsons sat on the pole at Salem every race from April 1968 through September of '69 for a total of seven Talladega Pole Awards, more than any other driver in Salem Speedway history. Past ARCA winners at Salem include 1952 Indy 500 winner Troy Ruttman, former NASCAR Winston Cup Champions and Daytona 500 winners Benny Parsons and Bobby Allison, USAC Stock Car champion Don White and former ARCA champions Jack Bowsher, Bob Brevak, Dave Dayton, Ron Hutcherson, Iggy Katona, Bob Keselowski, Parsons, Marvin Smith, Nelson Stacy, Tim Steele and Ramo Stott. ARCA teams that have tested recently at the ½ mile high-banked paved oval in preparation for the 200 lapper include Daytona ARCA 200 polesitter Bill Baird, dirt late model specialist John Gill, 2nd generation driver Billy Venturini, '97 STP-Prestone ARCA Rookie of the Year Josh Baltes, Richard Hampton, Kenny Brown and Dill Whittymore. Whittymore, former series regular from nearby Seymour, Indiana, makes his return to the ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series at Salem after taking a year hiatus to build a brand new facility for his Indiana Steel Company, and also to build a new home. Whittymore plans to run a limited schedule for the remainder of the year and return full-time in 1999. Local favorite Frank Kimmel from nearby Jeffersonville, Indiana, comes to Salem as the current ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series point leader driving the Larry Clement owned Advance Auto Parts-Visionaire Chevrolet. The team has recently relocated from Dayton, Ohio to Louisville, Kentucky inside the shop of long-time ARCA supporter Dave Embry after former co-owner Dan Falldorf withdrew his interest in the team. Jeff Lemons remains onboard as crew chief. Series regular Jeff Finley has left the Radius Motorsports team to form his own with NASCAR Winston Cup driver Ken Schrader. Finley is entered in a number 58 Ford Thunderbird prepared out of Schrader's shop in Concord, North Carolina.