XENIA — Some of the top up-and-coming stock car drivers in the country will once again meet up with the area’s best local drivers, as the ARCA/CRA Super Series returns to Kil-Kare Raceway on Saturday, June 2 for the Gem City 125 auto race.
Similar to how Major League Baseball players get their start in the minor leagues, many of the talented drivers in the ARCA/CRA Super Series are working their way up to the big leagues of auto racing. Last year’s Kil-Kare winner of the Rapid Fire Pizza 125, presented by Hot Head Burritos was Wheeling, W. Va. driver Travis Braden.
Braden parlayed that and other 2017 season Super Series wins into a full-season ride with Brownsburg, Ind.-based RFMS Racing in the ARCA Racing Series.
Current Super Series points leader Josh Brock finished seventh in last year’s race at Kil-Kare, after leading the first four laps. It was soon after that July 30 race that doctors discovered Brock had a form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After undergoing a series of intensive treatments, Brock, who hails from Corbin, Ky., was cleared by his doctors to return to racing on New Year’s Day.
Series rookie Austin Kunnert, of Batavia, Ill. is currently second in points, with fellow rookie Jon Beach of Watervliet, Ohio third. As of the series’ latest entry report on May 29, the top-5 drivers in the ARCA/CRA Super Series are entered for Saturday’s race.
Kil-Kare veteran Logan Runyon finished third in the July race, and the Cambridge driver is currently fourth in the Series points standings. Auburn, Michigan’s Jack Hunter sits in fifth in the standings and is also entered.
There’s a lengthy list of drivers with racing experience at Kil-Kare joining Runyon. That time behind the wheel, around a track NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip once described as having “11 left-hand turns,” has proven valuable in the past. In last year’s race, seven of the top-10 finishers were Kil-Kare regulars or guys who had extensive driving experience around the paved 1/5-mile oval.
Columbus-area drivers Donnie Hill, James Hursey and Chad Pendleton will join fellow Kil-Kare regulars Drew Charlson of New Bremen, Justin Alsip of Germantown, and Beavercreek’s Brandon Oakley in the race. A year ago, Oakley led 58 laps before Braden passed him on lap 64 for the eventual win.
So far, 19 drivers — 12 ARCA/CRA Series regulars and seven Kil-Kare vets — have officially entered the race, from Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan.
Chicago’s Robbie Pyle, who has raced in the NASCAR Truck Series, ASA and ARCA (including a 1999 ARCA Series win at Kil-Kare) is among the entered drivers with vast experience at Kil-Kare.
Last week, during the Gem City Auto Racing series’ Memorial Day races, Runyon finished fourth in the Late Model race while Oakley was 10th in the Modified race.
The ARCA/CRA Super Series field is comprised of 13 Chevrolets, four Fords, a Dodge and a Toyota, thus far.
Friday, June 1 will be an open practice day for the drivers from 5-8 p.m.
Race day is Saturday, with the ARCA/CRA Super Series drivers having a one-hour practice at 4 p.m., followed by a Gem City Auto Racing series practice for its Modified division at 5 p.m.
ARCA/CRA Super Series qualifying runs will take place at 6:15, followed by GCAR Modified qualifying at 7.
Modified heat races will begin at around 7:30 p.m., with the ARCA/CRA Super Series 125-lap main event scheduled to follow. The Modifieds will then wrap up the night’s fun with a 35-lap feature event.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123. For more information about the ARCA/CRA Super Series, visit http://cra-racing.com/category/arcacra-super-series/. You can also find the entire 2018 Gem City Auto Racing schedule at gemcityautoracing.com .