The drama might be missing from the points championship race when the ARCA Racing Series rolls into Toledo Speedway this weekend for its season-ending stop, but that likely won't diminish the buzz surrounding the event.
The 2011 ARCA championship will go to 19-year-old Ty Dillon, who won the spring ARCA race at the Toledo Speedway in controversial fashion after he spun out nine-time series champ Frank Kimmel with just more than 10 laps left.
Dillon leads second-place Chris Buescher by 335 points, so by just starting the Federated Car Care 200 on Sunday, Dillon becomes ARCA's 29th series champion. His path around the half-mile layout on Benore Road could be bumpy, however, given the developments from May.
Kimmel, who sits third in points, bristled over the manner in which Dillon positioned himself to win that May race.
"I wasn't blocking or doing anything ... he just hit me wherever he could," an animated Kimmel said at the time. "It's just frustrating as heck. You race so hard, and you race clean ... it'll come back. It's a long season, and we have to race all year."
That year ends at Toledo Speedway, where Dillon will be seeking his eighth win of the season. While as the grandson of stock car racing icon Richard Childress, Dillon likely has a direct path to race in one of the NASCAR series, other ARCA drivers come to Toledo Speedway with a final shot to impress potential future employers at the higher levels of the sport.
Buescher is looking for a third win this season, coming off victories in two of the past three races. Buescher is confident that his experience at Toledo Speedway, where he won both ARCA races in 2010, should pay off on Sunday.
"Toledo is a place where we struggled in my first year, but we've really come along," Buescher said. "It's started to grow on me, that's for sure. We'll have the same car that we won both races here in 2010 with. It's a really good car and works really well at that particular track."
Buescher, who finished second last weekend at Kansas Speedway, said momentum and a history of recent success at Toledo Speedway mean a lot going into the Federated Car Care 200.
"It's a track that's been really good to us. It suits my driving style pretty well," Buescher said. "It suits that particular car we have very well."
The field for the season-ending ARCA race got spiced up with the recent addition of former NASCAR Truck Series champion Jack Sprague. The Michigan native, who raced ARCA Late Models here in the 1970s, will drive a car sponsored by Beard Oil.
The ARCA Federated Car Care 200 is the showcase event of Toledo Speedway's National Championship Weekend that also features a two-day Fan Fest and two USAC races, including the Rollie Beale 150 for the Silver Crown cars.
Contact Matt Markey at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6510 or on Twitter @MattMarkey
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