(SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – August 15, 2013) – As the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards entry list continues to build momentum for this Sunday’s 51st Allen Crowe Memorial 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile dirt in Springfield, so too does the interest from the locals.
Currently, 36 drivers from 18 different states and three countries are entered for the State Fair stock car classic, including a healthy local crop of Illinoisans. Apparently, the lure of racing with ARCA’s finest fulltime competitors, combined with the tradition of this historic race in their home state, not to mention the race being televised on the NBC Sports Network, is just too much to pass up.
El Paso, Illinois’s Ryan Unzicker leads the charge. Unzicker, driving for fellow Illinoisan Bill Hendren, is the 2011 UMP Late Model National Champion and has a strong contingent of fans that follow his career. In three career ARCA starts at Springfield, Unzicker finished a career-best sixth in 2003. This year, he expects to make more than 80 starts across UMP, World of Outlaws, and ARCA, among others series.
Local Springfield favorite Kelly Kovski, driving for Allgaier Motorsports, is another strong candidate for victory lane. In eight previous starts at Springfield, Kovski has never finished lower than 14th, and more often, closer to the front. Kovski finished fourth last year, and sixth, three times, in 2007, 2010 and 2011. Kovski also spent a full season on the ARCA tour in 2011, serving as Grant Enfinger’s Crew Chief. 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.
Galesburg’s AJ Fike pulling double duty Galesburg, Illinois driver AJ Fike has been close to victory at Springfield with finishes of fourth in 2009 and fifth in 2010. He also earned the Menards Pole presented by Ansell in 2004. Fike, the defending Sliver Crown race winner at Springfield, is one of three drivers that will be pulling the dirty double, racing in both the Silver Crown race Saturday and the ARCA race Sunday.
Benton, Illinois’s Shane Cockrum also doing double duty Shane Cockrum, of Benton, Illinois, is also racing in both the Silver Crown and Allen Crowe 100 ARCA race this weekend at Springfield. Cockrum, who drives for Brad Hill in ARCA, finished 15th in the ARCA race at Springfield last year.
The other Illinois drivers in the field include Mark Littleton (Arenzville) and newcomer Spencer Montgomery (Windsor), making his career-first ARCA start Sunday.
More News & Notes
Versatile ARCA Racing Series Heads Back to Dirt Track Roots for 51st Allen Crowe Memorial 100 The 51st running of the Allen Crowe Memorial 100, event no. 15 on the 2013 ARCA Racing Series tour, takes center stage on the world’s fastest mile-dirt track alongside the 161st annual Illinois State Fair, ongoing since 1853. The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is in its 61st season.
Springfield’s International flavor In addition to ARCA drivers from 18 different states, drivers from three countries will be represented in Sunday’s Allen Crowe Memorial 100, including three-time Indy 500 starter Milka Duno from Caracas, Venezuela. Duno, who drives the No. 35 Cantv-Milka Way Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet, is currently seventh in ARCA national championship points and will be making her career-first start on dirt. Also entered is two-time NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champion Andrew Ranger from Roxton Pond, Quebec. Ranger, who drives the No. 53 Waste Management Bagster Dodge for car owner Robert Torriere, has won the last three consecutive ARCA races on the New Jersey Motorsports Park road course.
17-year-old high school student Taylor Ferns entered, one of two from the female ranks 17-year-old Taylor Ferns, the young honors student from Shelby Township, Michigan, will be making her career-first attempt in an ARCA car on dirt Sunday. Her best ARCA finish came in her first start at Mobile Int’l Speedway (paved track) where she finished ninth earlier this year. Ferns will also be competing in the Silver Crown race Saturday to help get ready for Sunday’s big show, joining AJ Fike and Shane Cockrum as drivers racing on Saturday and Sunday. 4-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser was the last driver to sweep both events as victor, having accomplished the feat in 1972.
Kimmel; King of the Springfield Clay Nine-time ARCA Racing Series champion Frank Kimmel is the all-time, modern-day ARCA dirt winner with 14 wins overall at Springfield, the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds and the West Virginia Motor Speedway. His record at Springfield is especially incredible where, in his last 16 events there, he has won a record eight times, and has finished second on four occasions, fourth and ninth. Kimmel is also the all-time lap-leader at Springfield with 665 laps led in 14 races.
Springfield – 3rd Leg of Bill France Four Crown; Kimmel Leads The Allen Crowe Memorial 100 is the third leg of the Bill France Four Crown, the season-within-a-season contest which rewards ARCA Racing Series drivers for success on a diverse slate of tracks. The 2013 Four Crown includes the New Jersey Motorsports Park road course, the two-mile Michigan Int’l Speedway, the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile-dirt and the Salem Speedway half-mile short track. Current ARCA Racing Series point leader Frank Kimmel leads the 2013 Four Crown by a slim 10 point margin over SCOTT Rookie contender Justin Boston. Kimmel’s nephew Will Kimmel is currently third in Four Crown points, 15 behind his uncle Frank.
Past Allen Crowe 100 Winners List Impressive The list of Allen Crowe 100 winners at Springfield reads from a who’s who list of champions and racing legends from all walks of motorsports. Past Allen Crowe 100 winners include Frank Kimmel, Parker Kligerman, Justin Allgaier, Ken Schrader, AJ Foyt, Al Unser, Ramo Stott, Don White, Roger McCluskey, Bob Keselowski, Jack Bowsher, Bobby Isaac, Bob Keselowski, Tim Steele and Dean Roper to name a few.
Schedule Practice for the Allen Crowe 100 is scheduled from 9:00-10:00 a.m. with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell following at 11:15. The 51st annual Allen Crowe Memorial 100 starts at 1:30 p.m. All times are local.
Televised on NBC Sports Network The Allen Crowe Memorial 100 will also be the third ARCA Racing Series race that will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network. NBC Sports Network’s ARCA racing coverage of the Allen Crowe Memorial 100 premieres Friday, August 23 at 11 p.m. ET.