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ARCA: Heading to Pikes Peak for the First Time

3 July 1998

By Don Radebaugh

The Pikes Peak ARCA 150 will be the first-ever ARCA race staged in the state of Colorado. The show also marks a major milestone for the Automobile Racing Club of America in that the event will be the 1,000th ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series race sanctioned since the series' inception in 1953. Colorado becomes the 25th different state that has hosted an ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series event.

Drivers from 14 states have filed entries for the inaugural show, including Tim Steele whose return to motorsports continues to be astonishing. In two ARCA appearances, Steele finished 1st and 2nd at Pocono and Toledo respectively.

Series point leader Frank Kimmel is on a roll. After back-to-back victories most recently at Shady Bowl and Toledo, the Jeffersonville, IN driver has won 5 of 9 events in '98 bringing his career ARCA victory total to 10.

Taking the series by storm is Diamondale, MI driver Jeff Finley, who after taking over the driving duties of the Team 83 Chevrolet, has never finished out of the top 5 and has skyrocketed from 8th to 3rd in the series' standings. Finley, along with his first career Talladega Pole Award at Shady Bowl, has recorded 2 runner-up finishes at Memphis and Shady Bowl, and 3rd, 4th and 5th at Michigan, Pocono and Toledo respectively. Finley is just 5 points away from Winder, GA's Mark Gibson who is 2nd in points.

13-time ARCA winner Bob Strait is just 60 points back of Finley with leading ARCA STP-Prestone rookie contender Andy Belmont in 5th followed by 1998 Daytona ARCA 200 polesitter Bill Baird 6th, '97 rookie of the year Josh Baltes 7th, Pittsburgh, PA's Norm Benning 8th, Rock Hill, SC's David Boggs 9th and Normal, IL's Curt Piercy in 10th.

Second generation driver Bobby Dotter will make his return to the ARCA series at Pikes Peak driving Sam Potashnick's Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Dotter, a former NASCAR Busch Series winner and veteran of ARCA and ASA competition, served as crew chief on the car with Potashnick's son Sammy as the driver. Bobby's father Bob is a former three-time ARCA champion in 1980, '83 and '84.

After 9 stops on the ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series tour, there have been 9 different Talladega Pole Award winners.