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MATT MERRELL CAPTURES FIRST CAREER ARCA WIN AT BERLIN RACEWAY

7-11-2011

Matt Merrell after capturing his 1st career ARCA Series win at Berlin Raceway (photo courtesy of www.arcaracing.com)MARNE, 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

      

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