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Published: Monday, 2/13/2006

Gerhart goes back-to-back

BY MATT MARKEY
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - With his performance in yesterday's Daytona ARCA 200, Bobby Gerhart has set the stage for a historic season of stock car racing, while again making things very tough on his competition.

Gerhart started from the pole and dominated the event, winning a record fourth ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Daytona International Speedway. While becoming the first back-to-back winner of the ARCA 200, Gerhart broke the record of the late six-time series champion Iggy Katona, whose three wins here had set the standard since ARCA ran its first race at Daytona more than 40 years ago.

"Out of all the race tracks this series goes to, this is the most well-known and the most visible event," Gerhart said. "If you're gonna win somewhere, this is the place to do it, but going back-to-back is so hard to do."

Gerhart, who had won a fourth straight pole, was dominant, leading all but five laps of the 83-lap event. He held off a pack of strong developmental teams from some of racing's biggest hitters - Roush Racing, Evernham Motorsports, Robert Yates Racing, and Kevin Harvick, Inc.

"We prepared so much more for this race this year than ever before, and here we are," Gerhart said. "I was where I needed to be, and the race went pretty much as planned."

Gerhart surrendered the lead only briefly while he pitted for right-side tires and fuel on lap 28. Once he was back on the track, Gerhart had the lead for good in just two laps.

Matt McCall, a Yates rookie making his first start in the ARCA series, finished second. Matt Hagans was third.

The race was broken up by a series of multicar tangles, with seven cautions eating up 47 laps. The race was extended by three laps in order to finish under green. None of the drivers was seriously hurt.

"It's never easy," Gerhart said. "It seems like you get so many cautions here, which continually breaks your concentration. You've really got to keep your mind in the game at this place."



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