By Jay Hardin
Track Enterprises Staff
August 24, 2018-DuQuoin, IL-Sheldon Creed of Alpine, California and Zane Smith of Huntington Beach, California occupy the top two slots in the 2018 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menard’s point standings. Both have yet to turn 21 and both are hoping that a victory in the General Tire Grabber presented by Federated Auto Parts 100 at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds can be a stepping stone to a first ARCA national championship. The annual Labor Day weekend grind on the southern Illinois dirt mile has vaulted several men to national stock car championships in the past and this year may be no exception.
Twenty-three times since 1950 the winner of the 100-mile stock car race at DuQuoin has gone on to a national stock car title, representing sixteen different drivers. The American Automobile Association sanctioned the first three stock car events at DuQuoin, Jay Frank (1950) and Frank Mundy (1955) were the two DuQuoin winners of that era that went on to AAA stock car titles.
The United States Auto Club sanctioned events at DuQuoin’s “Magic Mile” from 1956 through 1984. Jerry Unser (1957) won the USAC title that year helping propel him to a ride at the Indianapolis 500 the next year. Fred Lorenzen won two DuQuoin events (1958 & 1959) and USAC championships in the same year. The Elmhurst, Illinois driver would go on to NASCAR fame as the “Golden Boy”. Michigan driver Paul Goldsmith also won back to back races (1961 & 1962) and USAC stock car titles. Goldsmith also had a stellar NASCAR career and multiple starts in the Indianapolis 500.
It took over ten years before a DuQuoin win would contribute to a national stock car championship. Ohio’s Butch Hartman won five USAC crowns in the 1970’s and three straight (1973-75) 100 mile races at DuQuoin. Victories in 1973 and 1974 helped Butch to two of the five national titles. Paul Feldner was a USAC veteran by the time he won at DuQuoin in 1977, a win that lifted him to his only national title. Dean Roper won at DuQuoin in 1981 and 1983 and USAC championships in the same years. Fellow Show Me State resident Dave Goldsberry won the first 200-miler at DuQuoin in 1984 and clinched the title with that win, by virtue of the season finale being washed out.
ARCA solely sanctioned DuQuoin events starting in 1985 and Lee Raymond’s 200 mile win led to his 1985 ARCA title. Bob Kesleowski won both in 1989 as did Bob Brevak in 1990. Frank Kimmel won five times at DuQuoin with four of those wins (2001, 2002, 2004 & 2005) contributing to his national titles.
Sheldon Creed gained about sixty points on Zane Smith at the Allen Crowe 100 at Springfield as a result of Creed’s second place run and Smith dropping out. The General Tire Grabber 100 could add to Creed’s point lead or allow Smith to close the gap in the 2018 ARCA chase.
The ARCA point battle is all part of a holiday doubleheader weekend of racing, featuring USAC Silver Crown on Sunday, September 2 and the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards on Monday, September 3. The DIRTcar Modifieds will race prelims on Sunday and their feature on Monday. Tony Stewart and Ken Schrader will battle with the other strong Modified competitors in the Bill Oldani event.
Tickets will be available at the gate on race day or fans can purchase advance sale discount tickets by calling the Du Quoin State Fair box office at 618-542-1535 or the Track Enterprises office at 217-764-3200. Full event information can be found at www.trackenterprises.com.