Wednesday, August 21, 2013
(TOLEDO, Ohio) – The 51st Allen Crowe Memorial 100 from the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile dirt is likely to be discussed in racing circles for years to come. After all, so much happened inside that particular 100-mile race – so much so that it’s most certainly worth the spirited discussion that, no doubt, followed.
It’ll also be worth watching on the NBC Sport Network this Friday, August 23 at 11:00 p.m. ET.
Beyond the confusion and controversy that capped the race in the final laps, through it all it was still a thrilling display of the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards doing one of the things it does best – putting on great, side-by-side, professional stock car racing on the ‘world’s fastest mile dirt track’.
Beyond the close racing, in the end, controversy and confusion covered the mile dirt as the event came to a conclusion. On a green-white-checker finish, ARCA officials ultimately black-flagged the first- and second-place cars. They were not just any first and second place cars; they were occupied by two drivers from Illinois – Kelly Kovski from Springfield, and Galesburg’s AJ Fike.
Many in the crowd – including the public address announcer and the broadcasters on NBC Sports Network and ARCAracing.com thought either hometown driver Kovski or Fike had won the race. As it turns out, neither scenario was true.
Series officials determined that both Kovski and Fike jumped the restart; therefore eventual winner Brennan Poole would keep the lead, and ultimately the victory.
“It was a pretty special day,” Poole said.
“To be able to win on an ARCA dirt track, especially at Springfield with all the history behind that place is something I’ll always remember. To take that big trophy home was so cool. What a great weekend all around. It was such a fun day.
“We won it with a great car; we led the most laps. We were leading at the green-white-checker, but they (Kovski and Fike) jumped the start, so we were still leading. I can’t fault them (Kovski or Fike) for it. We’re all trying to win the race. I’ve done it before myself. They told me that the 16 had been black-flagged and to just let him go. I knew they had jumped the restart. They were passing me before I got to the (restart) line. You can see the line.”
Many spectators in the fairgrounds grandstand also thought either Kovski or Fike, both local favorites, won the race.
According to ARCA officials, here’s how the scenario played out:
Just prior to the fourth and final caution during lap 96, Poole edged past Spencer Gallagher for the lead. On the restart, both Kovski and Fike accelerated and advanced before leader Poole reached the established and marked restart line that permits cars to resume racing once the green flag is waved. ARCA officials quickly ruled that both Kovski and Fike had jumped the restart and they were black-flagged as the actual leaders – Poole and Gallagher – took the white flag for the final lap.
ARCA procedures allow that if a driver is observed jumping the restart, he or she has the opportunity to “give the position back” without further penalty. In other words, if they allow the car they illegally passed to resume its spot in the running order, i.e. back in front of the car that illegally passed, then they can resume racing without further consequence.
Neither Kovski nor Fike relinquished their position to the race leader on the final lap so Poole retained the lead under the checkered flag.
Kovski and Fike were penalized for the infraction and scored in 13th and 14th place, the final two running positions on the lead lap.
“If you look at the entire race, I think it was really a great show,” Poole added.
“I mean, I only got to see it out my windshield, but it sure looked pretty spectacular from there. The race was competitive, really tight all the way through. I had a lot of friends come out to watch, and they all said it was one heck of a great show.
“I’m really excited to watch it on TV, and get an outside perspective. I think from a fan perspective, it doesn’t get much better than that race last Sunday.”
If you were not fortunate enough to be there for the wild race, you’ll get another shot at seeing it this Friday, August 23 on the NBC Sports Network at 11:00 p.m. ET.
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards will take to the dirt again on Labor Day Monday, September 2 for the annual Southern Illinois 100 presented by Federated Car Care at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in DuQuoin, Illinois. Poole, Kovski, Fike, Ken Schrader and Frank Kimmel are already among the entrants for the annual dirt track classic at DuQuoin.