When attending the SuperChevyStores.com 100, come see Justin Allgaier’s Sprint Cup car. It sits just north of the grandstand.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Much has been said regarding Grant Enfinger’s move from Team BCR to GMS Racing. So far, so good for Enfinger whose win at Berlin Raceway last time out – his fifth on the year – put GMS Racing in the win column for the first time.
Enfinger is now just 25 points away from Mason Mitchell for the championship points lead, and he’s hoping GMS will be just the ticket he’s looking for to win it all. No doubt, GMS will play a critical role in Enfinger’s title quest, but let’s not forget the crucial role that Team BCR played in Enfinger’s success in 2014.
Enter Springfield, Illinois’ Kelly Kovski, who crew-chiefed Enfinger to his first four wins this year.
“We all wanted what was best for Grant and his racing future,” Kovski said. “We didn’t want to see him sitting on the couch next year doing nothing. You gotta take the best opportunities that are out there and go with it.
“I hate it because we’re not working together anymore, but it’s actually turning out to be a good opportunity for both of us. He’s still racing fulltime, chasing a championship, and I’m racing a lot more now too.”
Kovski works for Allgaier Motorsports and Hoosier Tire Midwest in Springfield, running Mike Allgaier’s tire business and working in the race shop full-time, too. Kovski starting working for the Allgaier’s when he was just 13, and has been here ever since.
“My dad was always a good friend of Mike (Allgaier), and one day, my dad said I needed to learn how to work so he dropped me off at Allgaier’s shop. Mike had me start pushing a broom, and I’ve been here ever since.”
Kovski helped Justin Allgaier during his 2008 ARCA championship run and crew-chiefed Enfinger to a fourth-place championship finish in 2011 when Enfinger drove for the Allgaier’s fulltime.
Kovski is currently working on getting his No. 16 Billingsley Towing Chevy ready for Sunday’sSuperChevyStores.com 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile dirt. When he’s not doing that, he works on his dirt modified, which he races every Friday in Lincoln Speedway and Saturday’s at Spoon River Speedway, both tracks within 40 miles of Springfield.
“We won a modified race at Spoon River back in July.”
Kovski has won two local modified track championships at Spoon River and Lincoln, and has won more than 30 feature events.
Of course, Kovski’s immediate focus is on his ARCA car for Sunday’s race. He also plans to race at DuQuoin Labor Day Monday. He’s one of the clear-cut local favorites.
“We just have to do everything right. I really believe we can win the race…absolutely; I wouldn’t be racing if I didn’t think so. We’ve been really good on the first 50 laps, but I’ve struggled putting together that last 50.
“The track changes and we don’t stay up on the changes. We don’t race ARCA cars every week, and there’s a lot to this that people may not realize. I’ve got the greatest bunch of guys in the world that come out and help me for this, and they’re all volunteers. But we can’t bust out a pit stop like some of these other teams can. My guys, as volunteers, do the best they can, and that’s good enough for me. If we win it, we’ll all win it together.”
In nine previous starts at Springfield, Kovski has never finished lower than 14th, and more often, closer to the front. Kovski finished fourth in 2012, and sixth, three times, in 2007, 2010 and 2011. In last year’s race, it appeared that Kovski won, crossing the final stripe in the lead; however, series official deemed that he jumped the start, and the victory ultimately went to Brennan Poole.
“I thought I was ok…going to the outside. Grant (his spotter) was telling me to go, so I went. Thought we won it. That was hard to take.”
Kovski is a little skeptical when it comes to the new double-file restart procedure.
“You can get away with it at most places, and I know it makes it more exciting for the fans…it’s a good thing. But at Springfield, or DuQuoin, it could really hurt. You could be on the outside in the front row, and find yourself back to eighth by the time you get out of turn two. It’s going to be interesting.”
Justin Allgaier is still the only Springfield native to ever win a championship race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in more than 70 years of sanctioned championship auto racing.
10-time ARCA Racing Series national champion Frank Kimmel is the all-time Springfield winner with eight wins, his most recent in 2012.
NASCAR veteran and former Springfield winner Ken Schrader has also filed an entry for the race, as has defending race winner Brennan Poole.
Over the years, SuperChevyStores.com-Allen Crowe 100 winners include Curtis Turner (’63), Don White (’66, ’67, ’72), Al Unser (’72), Jack Bowsher (’73), Roger McCluskey (’74), Ramo Stott (’76, ’77, ’80), AJ Foyt (’79), Joe Ruttman (’80), Dean Roper (’81, ’82, ’83, ’83, ’85, ’86), Bob Keselowski (’87, ’88, ’89, ’93), Bobby Bowsher (’91, ’92), Tim Steele (’96, ’97), Schrader (’98), Bill Baird (’99, ’04), Justin Allgaier (’06), Parker Kligerman (’09), and Kimmel (’00, ’01, ’02. ’03, ’05, ’07, ’08, ’12).
Practice for the SuperChevyStores.com 100 is scheduled from 9:00-10:00 a.m. with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell following at 11:15. The 52nd annual SuperChevyStores.com 100 starts at1:30 p.m. All times are local.
ARCAracing.com will feature live timing and scoring of all on-track activity as well as live flag-to-flag audio coverage of the race. For tickets, call Track Enterprises or the Illinois State Fair box office.