MI (July 9, 2011) -- The ARCA Racing Series crossed the half-way point of its
2011 season Saturday night at Berlin Raceway. And like so many races before,
the Hantz Group 200 provided the near capacity crowd with plenty of excitement
as Matt Merrell notched his first career win.
At the finish, Merrell took the
lead from Tim George, Jr. when the race leader spun his tires on a lap 195
restart. Merrell led the final six laps en route to the milestone win. The
26-year-old driver from Portland, Texas was
making his 23rd series start.
In qualifying, 32 cars were on
hand at Berlin Raceway's 4/10-mile oval. Grant Enfinger, driving the Hoosier
Tire Midwest-Racetires.com Dodge, earned the pole with a single lap time of
17.205 seconds (104.621 mph). Brian Campbell was second fastest with a time of
17.212 seconds (104.578 mph).
The race featured five leaders
among four different drivers. Drivers leading during the event included; Grant
Enfinger 1-75 (75 laps), Matt Merrell 76-120, 195-200 (51 laps), Chad
Hackenbracht 121 (1 lap) and Tim George, Jr. 122-194 (73 laps).
In the end, Matt Merrell took
the lead on the lap 195 restart and defended his lead until the checkered flag
fell despite the carnage ensuing behind him.
Merrell finished .289 seconds
ahead of Pocono winner Tim George, Jr. Series officials then had to go to the
video of the finish to determine third through sixth as several cars crossed
the finish line backwards which caused havoc with the car's transponders.
After careful review Grant
Enfinger was scored with a third place finish followed by Patrick Sheltra and
Chad Hackenbracht in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Despite the messy finish, the
race had just four cautions for a total of 20 laps.
Competing in the event was Jeb
Burton, son of 2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton who was one of a handful of
drivers to compete on Hoosier tires in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Ward was
a welcome flashback for those of us at Hoosier who were a part of an exciting
time in our company's history. Ward was at the Berlin event supporting his son
and his racing career.
With his 11th place finish, Ty
Dillon retains the top spot in the driver standings over Frank Kimmel. Kimmel
was able to slice into the young driver's lead with an 8th place finish.
The ARCA Racing Series returns
to action this Saturday, July 16, at Iowa Speedway. The race will be carried
LIVE on SPEED at 5:15 p.m. (ET).
For more information about the
race at Berlin and ARCA Racing Series visit www.arcaracing.com.