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 LONG POND – The adrenaline, the elevated heart rate, the spirit of competition. Racing keeps Bobby Gerhart young.

 But when you’re that passionate about a sport, it also has the power to turn your hair gray.

 Gerhart has scratched out a 43-year racing career by making positives out of negatives. It is a resiliency which is the secret to his longevity.

 On a sun-drenched Friday evening on Pocono Raceway’s 2.5-mile Tricky Triangle, during the ARCA series’ annual staging of the General Tire AnywhereIsPossible 200, Gerhart again endured another disappointing run, then again vowed to make the best of it. After electrical difficulties slowed the Lebanon stock car racer on the track, Gerhart officially broke on the 19th of the 80-lap event and was awarded a 16th-place finish.

 The checkered flag in the 200-mile race was accepted by Ty Majeski, while Riley Herbst was the runner-up, followed by Christian Eckes, Raphael Lessard and Bret Holmes. Majeski beat Herbst to the finish line by more than three seconds.

  “It’s extremely disappointing,” said Gerhart. “It’s been a lot of everything here. Many of them have been out of my control. Failure’s going to be a part of it (in racing). The electrical failure is the stuff you can’t control. It’s brutal. It was the second race on this engine.

 “When we’ve run real good here, we’ve gotten wrecked multiple times,” continued Gerhart. “Today, it was never hitting on all eight cylinders, electrically.”

 “We’ve been around this game too long to be angry,” said Billy Gerhart, Bobby’s brother and crew chief. “But we’re disappointed. The guys worked hard to get this car ready for today. We’ve got to update our equipment and try harder.

 “I was hoping for a top seven or eighth-place finish,” Billy Gerhart continued. “This car has performed half-decent here. It goes back to not racing enough. The guys we’re running against run almost every race, and it shows. It comes down to funding, and more funding.”

 After starting the race from the 13th position, Gerhart ran 14th for about the first ten laps. But it was around that time that he was lapped by the leaders.

 “It was a lack of performance,” said Bobby Gerhart. “Why? It just decided to do it today. It seemed alright this morning. Finally it just started shutting off.”

 “I’m not sure what happened,” said Billy Gerhart. “We just missed the set-up on the car. It was either the fuel pump or the transmission. Instead of burning the motor out, we brought it in.

 “We knew during the last practice that it wasn’t the best,” added Billy Gerhart. “We did make changes, but it was no better. We’ll go home, dissect it and try to figure out what happened.”

 On Lap 18, Gerhart pitted by himself. He went back out on the track, but by the end of his next circuit, all he could do was slowly drift back on to pit road.

 At that point, he was multiple laps down to the leaders.

 Early on, Gerhart had ripped off a lap time of 57.972 seconds and a top speed of 155.247 mph.

 “When you get multiple laps down, there’s no sense staying out,” said Bobby Gerhart. “You’re never going to get it back. We weren’t going to fix it. You’re just going to infuriate yourself.

 “We wanted to have a good day,” Bobby Gerhart added. “We wanted to finish in the top ten. It didn’t happen.”

 “No, it really hasn’t been one thing here,” said Billy Gerhart. “It’s hard. There’s no doubt that this place has been a major point of frustration for us over the years. Back in the 2000s, we thought we had a handle on it. But since, it’s slipped away.”

  The 60-year-old Gerhart’s number of career starts at Pocono Raceway is approaching a number that would be equivalent to his age. No other stock car racer on any circuit has started as many races on the Tricky Triangle as Gerhart.

 Gerhart’s start was his sixth this season in the ARCA series.

 “It’s in a lot of trouble,” said Bobby Gerhart of the state of stock-car racing, in general. “I think there has to be a complete retool to correct it. A lot of other sports have been in trouble and have come back. But what the answer is, I don’t know.”

 “I never thought I’d see it in the shape that it is today,” said Billy Gerhart. “It’s numerous things that have caused it. I think it’s going to take a lot of things to fix. Because there’s a lack of fan engagement, there’s a lack of sponsorship. Companies aren’t willing to spend the money. It’s like a vicious cycle.

 “It’s slowly eroded,” concluded Billy Gerhart. “It’s been the last 15 or 16 years. I know the TV ratings are down.”


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 Bobby Gerhart’s Career Accomplishments

 On ARCA Circuit

 Bobby Gerhart’s 8 wins at Daytona came in ’12, ’11, ’10, ’07, ’06, ’05, ’02 & ’99. Outside his career-best ARCA championship point finishes of 2nd, he also finished 3rd in ’99, 5th in ’00 & ’91, 8th in ’88 & 10th in ’90 & ’97. In well over 300 career starts since 1988, he has 55 top-5 finishes and 122 top-10s. His best superspeedway finishes other than wins at Daytona & Talladega are 2nd at Daytona ’00, 3rd at Talladega ’11 & ’08, 3rd at Talladega ’05, 3rd at Pocono ’04, 3rd at Talladega ’97, 4th at Daytona ’08, 4th at Pocono ’08, 4th at Kansas ’05, 4th at Pocono ’02, 4th at Michigan ’98, 4th at Texas ’98 & ‘91, 5that Pocono ’06, 5th at Pocono ’04, 5th at Kentucky & Talladega ’00, 5th at Lowe’s & MIS ’99, 5th at Pocono ’02, ’97 & ‘96, 6th at Kansas ’06, 6th at Pocono ’06, 6th at Daytona ’04 & ‘14, 6th at Daytona & Pocono ’01, 7th at Nashville ’06, 7th at Talladega ’06 & ‘14, 7th at Pocono ’05, 7th at MIS ’02, 8that Kentucky ’06, 8th at MIS ’04, 8th at Daytona ‘98, 9th twice at Pocono ’15, 9th at Pocono ’09 & ‘10, 9th at Chicagoland ’10, 9th at Kentucky ’05, 9th at Gateway ’04, 9th & 10th at Atlanta ’98, 10th at Pocono ‘05 and 10th at Kentucky ‘04. His best short-track finishes are 2nd at Anderson ’00, 2nd at Flemington ’99, 3rd at Salem ’06, 3rd at Hagerstown ’89 & Flat Rock ’91, 4that Winchester ’07, 4th at Toledo ’04, 4th at South Boston ’02, 4th at Toledo & Winchester ’00, 5th at Toledo ’07, 5th at Winchester ’06, 5th at Lake Erie & Milwaukee ’05 and 5th at Kil-Kare ’00. Bobby also won General Tire Pole Awards at Daytona in 4 consecutive seasons ’03, ’04, ’05 & ‘06. Also Pole winner at Talladega ’06, ’02 & ’01, MIS ’98 & Winchester ‘00. He has led 839 in 35 races. His first race was in 1976.


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