Posted: Friday, August 1st 2014 at 9:51pm
Pit strategy, drive take Allison to Pocono ARCA win
By Doug Donnelly
Justin Allison celebrates with his crew after scoring his first career ARCA Racing Series victory Friday afternoon at Pocono Raceway. / Photo: Courtesy ARCA Media
LONG POND, PA - Howard Bixman was watching the weather radar on three different phones Friday during the early stages of the ModSpace 125 Friday at Pocono Raceway. As soon as he saw what appeared to be a clearing of the skies, Bixman and Teddy Brown called their driver, Justin Allison, down to pit road for fuel.
That move ended up paying off about 25 laps later when Allison inherited the lead and went on to win his first ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards race.
"That was definitely the right call," Allison, the grandson of NASCAR legend Donnie Allison and great nephew of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison, said after pulling his No. 88 HaVaCoSales.com Ford into victory lane. "We didn't talk about it or plan to pit early, but all of a sudden, when the caution came out, they were like 'pit now, pit now.' I'm happy with the way things worked out."
Will Kimmel tied a career-best by finishing second and Tom Hessert third. Brennan Poole finished fourth after leading a race-best 31 laps and Justin Boston fifth. Poole and Boston pitted under a green flag before lap 40, allowing Allison, Kimmel and Hessert to take over the top three spots.
The ModSpace 125 was delayed by rain for nearly an hour when a shower came through the Long Pond, PA area just as driver introductions were starting for the original start time of the race. The rain lasted only a short time, however, and after the track was dried the race began.
After a couple of early cautions, Allison, Kimmel and Hessert all pitted for fuel - topping off. ARCA Racing Series requires all cars to pit at least once before 10 laps to go. Poole, Boston and Mason Mitchell all waited to pit and once they did, they were passed.
Hessert said he was surprised more teams didn't try the strategy.
"The first time we pitted it was to make a track bar adjustment," Hessert said. "We kept coming down and topping off, just in case. At that point, I tried to save fuel to make sure we would make it the rest of the way."
Kimmel used the same strategy. He said his dad, team owner and crew chief Bill Kimmel, made the call.
"That's where having an experienced crew chief comes in handy," Kimmel said. "Dad made that call. He's been in these kinds of situations so many times, he just knows and things happen. He made a great call."
Kimmel's teammate, Michael Lira, started fourth and finished 10th.
"Obviously it was a big day for us," said Kimmel, who drove the No. 69 Messinas-Circle Track Magazine-Ingersoll Rand Ford.
The pole sitter Mitchell led early in the race, but was passed by Poole, driving in his first ARCA race of the season in the No. 66 The Identical Movie Toyota. After his green flag stop, he finished seventh, behind Nick Igdalsky in the No. 86 PA State Police-H&K Group-Fox Realty Chevrolet.
Mitchell, in the No. 98 Musselman's-Wildlife Foundation of Florida-TTS Ford, did take over the series point lead, however, after Grant Enfinger, Frank Kimmel and Matt Tifft were involved in an early-race crash. Enfinger had the point lead heading into the race, but finished 26th place after running just 12 laps.
"It was just one of those racing things," Enfinger said. "Frank and I have raced each other a long time and always clean."
The race took just over an hour to complete. There were two cautions for 15 laps. Mitchell, Poole and Allison were the only drivers to lead a lap.
Justin became the third member of the Allison family to win an ARCA race. Davey won eight times and Bobby once. Justin's win came at the 2.5-mile tricky triangle.
"It's pretty cool to win here," he said. "The Allison's have a lot of history at this track. It definitely means a lot to get this first win here."
Bixman, the team manager and owner, said the team was watching the radar and figured the race would not be stopped by rain.
"We watched it," he said. "We were looking at the radar and it just started clearing up."
Team BCR has now won five times this season -- four with Enfinger and one with Allison.
"It's just about everybody on the team being in the right place and working together," Bixman said. "When Enfinger left for GMS Racing, it sort of through our team a little, but we've stuck with the program on the No. 88 and that's important. It paid off today."
The ARCA Racing Series next heads to the short track of Berlin Raceway in Marne, MI for a Saturday, Aug. 9 race.
ARCA Racing Series
Pocono Raceway - Long Pond, PA
ModSpace 125 - Aug. 1, 2014
FIN STR NO DRIVER/HOMETOWN TEAM & CAR LAPS STATUS
1 5 88 Justin Allison/Salisbury NC HaVaCoSales.com Ford 50 Running
2 7 69 Will Kimmel/Sellersburg IN Messinas-Circle Track Magazine Ford 50 Running
3 9 77 Tom Hessert/Cherry Hill NJ Caregard-AxiomWarranty.com Dodge 50 Running
4 2 66 Brennan Poole/The Woodlands TX The Identical Movie Toyota 50 Running
5 3 25 Justin Boston/Baltimore MD ZLOOP Toyota 50 Running
6 12 86 Nick Igdalsky/Stroudsburg PA PA State Police-H&K Group-Fox Realty Chevrolet 50 Running
7 1 98 Mason Mitchell/West Des Moines IA Musselman's-Wildlife Foundation of Florida-TTS Ford 50 Running
8 11 22 Austin Wayne Self/Austin TX AM Technical Solutions Dodge 50 Running
9 13 55 Cody Coughlin/Delaware OH JEGS Toyota 50 Running
10 4 68 Michael Lira/Port Orange FL Gary Yeomans Ford 49 Running
11 17 97 Roger Carter/Sunfield MI Extreme Stunt & Driving Team-Acceler8 Productions Dodge 49 Running
12 27 3 Karl Weber/Ambia IN Silveus Insurance Group Chevrolet 48 Running
13 20 10 Ed Pompa/Ballston Spa NY Milwaukee Crusher Co.-Double H Ranch Chevrolet 48 Running
14 19 03 Mike Affarano/Shorewood IL Won-n-Done Car Care Chevrolet 48 Running
15 18 20 Tom Berte/New Berlin WI CGS Premier Chevrolet 47 Running
16 15 2 Thomas Praytor/Mobile AL DK-LOK Ford 47 Running
17 23 0 James Swanson/Clarksboro NJ Wayne Peterson Racing Dodge 47 Running
18 16 18 Bill Catania/Westfield NY State Line Speedway-Stacks BBQ Sauce Chevrolet 47 Running
19 22 48 Brad Smith/Shelby Township MI Radon.com Ford 46 Running
20 10 44 Frank Kimmel/Clarksville IN Ansell-Menards Toyota 25 Running
21 24 07 Brian Kaltreider/Reading PA Independent Graphics Ford 24 Transmission
22 8 52 Matt Tifft/Hinckley OH Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet 22 Accident
23 29 5 Bobby Gerhart/Lebanon PA Lucas Oil-MAVTV Chevrolet 20 Vibration
24 28 06 Don Thompson/Carlisle PA Wayne Peterson Racing Ford 19 Suspension
25 30 00 Tim Viens/Daytona Beach FL Wayne Peterson Racing Chevrolet 13 Axle
26 6 90 Grant Enfinger/Fairhope AL Motor Honey-Casite-Allegiant Travel Chevrolet 12 Accident
27 26 15 BJ McLeod/Wauchula FL Zaxby's Toyota 12 Electrical
28 14 43 Kyle Martel/Lebanon PA Finish Line Express Chevrolet 9 Engine
29 21 7 Brent Cross/Cortland NY Northeast Transformer Chevrolet 8 Oil Pump Belt
30 25 40 Evan Pardo/Gatesville TX Hammons & Baldino-Tolleson Investments Dodge 3 Engine
31 31 49 Wayne Peterson/Pulaski TN Radon.com Ford 2 Brakes
Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell: Mason Mitchell 53.284 (168.906 mph)
Margin of Victory: 0.384 seconds Cautions: 2 for 15 laps
Time of Race: 1:01:31 Average Speed: 121.918 mph
Lap Leaders: Mitchell 1-3, 20-24 (8); Poole 4-19, 25-39 (31); Allison 40-50 (11)
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