After a miserable week of rain and cold temperatures, the sun is expected to come out and the action should be hot Sunday at the Toledo Speedway as the long-anticipated ARCA RE/MAX Series rolls into town for the Hantz Group 200.
The headliner may be Nextel Cup veteran Ken Schrader, who will be flying in after tomorrow night's Nextel Open at the Lowe's Motor Speedway in North Carolina, but there will be 45 other teams looking for a win on Toledo's half-mile-banked oval.
In 40 RE/MAX Series starts, Schrader has been victorious on 12 occasions, including three times in Toledo. But last year, he had to fend off a serious challenge from Frank Kimmel, who has won nine times in Toledo.
"The Toledo track is like a second home to me. It's where I won my first ARCA race in '94. It will always be special to me for that reason alone," Kimmel said this week from his race shop in New Albany, Ind. "Schrader's going to be tough. In the last three spring races, he's won twice and won two poles, but he won't be my only headache there. ... But we have a great setup for Toledo. We're coming to win, nothing less."
Kimmel's not the only driver feeling confident heading into Toledo. Bobby Gerhart is riding a wave of momentum and is leading the points standings heading into the Hantz Group 200.
"I ... really like Toledo. It's smooth, it's fast, and the drivers always seem to make the biggest difference. If you want to run well, you've got to get up on the wheel and stay there. I really like the place," Gerhart said.
Gates will open up Sunday at 10:30. An on-track autograph session will begin at noon, and the race gets under way at 2.
But before Sunday's main event rolls around, there will be plenty of other action at the speedway, beginning with tonight's A-1 Auto Parts/BCSN Autograph Night show. The ARCA National City Bank Sportsman, Casite Figure 8s, A-1 Auto Parts Factory Stocks and the ARCA 4 Cylinders will be the first classes to compete under the new lights. The autograph session is set for 7 p.m., with racing set to start at 7:30 p.m.
Tomorrow, ARCA RE/MAX Series practice is scheduled from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., followed by Pork Pole Award Qualifying at 3:30 p.m. All admission for Saturday's on-track activity is free of charge.
FORD BROTHERS WIN ON CHEVY NIGHT: Dan Ford Jr., who led every lap of the 50-lap ARCA Allen Chevrolet-Cadillac/Budweiser Late Model feature, and Regan Ford, who won the 25-lap A main event in the ARCA Subway Sandwiches Street Stock division, had big nights recently at Flat Rock Speedway. Tomorrow night at "The Rock," the ARCA Late Models, Figure 8s, and Street Stocks will be featured in the UAW Locals 387/3000 Night. It will also be the first of two Scout Nights, with all scouts in uniform admitted free.
ATTICA CONSIDERS MAKE-UP DATE: Attica Raceway Park and the World of Outlaws are working on a possible makeup date for last week's rainout. Fans that purchased reserved seats are entitled to a full refund or a possible exchange for the two National Sprint Tour races on May 26 and July 21. For more information, call 419-680-5606,
SPRINTS SET IN FREMONT: Root's Poultry is the sponsor of tomorrow's race at Fremont Speedway. The program features the third annual SOD 360/305 Sprint Challenge, along with the 410 sprints. The challenge is tied, with the 305 sprints taking the opening round as Brian Smith bested 84 combined SOD 360 sprints and 305 sprints. Last year, the 360 sprints got revenge as Tim Hunter bested 69 others.