Saturday, October 18, 2008

Scott Speed vs. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - Justin Allgaier wins the Toledo 200 and the 2008 ARCA Series Championship.

Last Sunday’s Toledo 200, the finale for the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series seemed to have left many racing fans scratching their heads and saying what happened and it is no different for this racing fan, even a week later, I am still trying to figure this one out.

This race was all about the four drivers going for the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship, first the former F1 driver turned stock car racer and Dover winner in the Truck Series earlier this season and the points leader Scott Speed, followed closely by #99 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the 9-time ARCA Series champion Frank Kimmel who has been the only champion in this decade, he won the championship in 1998 and then won the in 2000 through 2007 championships and Justin Allgaier who was 110 points put of the leader.

Shocked during the early laps is an understatement, what were Scott Speed and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. thinking??? First Stenhouse Jr., in the early laps, I’m sitting their watch this race unfold on television and from the drop of the green flag, I was wondering if this race was going to be as wild and unpredictable as last year’s fall race here with Michael McDowell winning, however in watching Scott Speed in third that was closely stocked by Stenhouse Jr. in four, I noted that Stenhouse Jr. was inpatient, yes he was faster than Speed, but even at Toledo where passing is at a premium, you can still make a pass without beating the back bumper off the car in front of you, but even that was too good for Stenhouse Jr.

He tried several laps of just about turning Speed sideways before he just clearly ran over him, wrecking Speed into the turn 3-4 outside wall, what a joke and ARCA was no better, they just warned him. So I’m thinking, I can’t believe this driver is going to win the championship and that same thing was going though Scott Speed’s mind, but instead I trying to fix the car, he went back out, waited for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and turned the tables on him, wrecking Stenhouse Jr., and costing Stenhouse Jr. and himself (Speed) any shot at the championship, there both not ready for racing outside of ARCA.

For the record, Stenhouse Jr. said he had brake problems, no way, I don’t buy that for a second, he wrecked Speed and got exactly what he deserved right back, to get wrecked and not win the championship. As for Speed, I understand what he was thinking, but he cost himself the championship too, what about just letting Stenhouse Jr. pass him in the earlier laps and catching him later in the race??? That would have been a good option, I guess that comes with experience…

I guess this was the opening that Frank Kimmel and Justin Allgaier needed to possibly win the championship, rookie against veteran, cool and that’s what it was… Allgaier was 110 points out of first going in and after starting in ninth spot, he made a late race pass with 12 laps to go to win the Toledo 200 and the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship, Allgaier became the first driver to win the championship in this decade other than Frank Kimmel.

Seeing what happened on the racetrack at Toledo makes me wonder about Scott Speed racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series not only the rest of the 2008 season, but full-time in the 2009 Cup Series season, what is he going to do when he gets around Cup Series champions, let along chase contenders and the rest of the field for that matter? I guess Martinsville and the rest of the 2008 season will be interesting to watch when it comes to Speed, how he handles himself, the Cup Series drivers are going to eat him alive.

However even after everything, I got to congratulate Justin Allgaier on winning the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series national championship, to win against Frank Kimmel is huge in itself, he did a great job, now he is signed with Penske Racing and is running at least one more race in the Nationwide series this season and part-time next season, he will be one to watch for sure.

- Racedriven