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IMG_8803BY JEFF FALK

LONG POND – Kyle Martel had a pretty good day. Bobby Gerhart had his ruined at the end.

The difference may have been expectations and circumstance. But if one was searching for a common theme, both were running, and running really well late, which in racing is a pretty good thing.

On Saturday afternoon on Pocono International Raceway’s 2.5-mile Tricky Triangle, Lebanon’s top two competitive drivers met two different fates in separate big-time races. Gerhart finished ninth in the ARCA Modspace 125, while Martel ran 19th in the sixth annual Pocono Mountains 150, an event in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

IMG_8836Running hard late in a short race, Gerhart had his path to a top-five finish cut off by fellow ARCA veteran Frank Kimmel. Martel, competing in his first race in two months, improved 13 spots on his 32nd – and back of the pack – starting position.

“Overall, it was really good,” said Martel. “We came a long way the last couple of days. The guys never gave up. It’s such a balancing act with the front end and the rear end of the truck. All in all, it was a great day.

IMG_8829“It was a good run,” continued Martel. “It was a solid finish. We’ll take the run and decipher it into what we’ve learned. It’s more of a challenge for us because we don’t race every week.”

“It’s been up and down,” said Gerhart of his relationship with Kimmel. “I expect more out of a ten-time (ARCA circuit) champion. At times, when he puts his helmet on he doesn’t have good sense. He wasn’t having the best of days. But I was really shocked it was him. I understand that he was lapped, and that he had a right to that space.

“Are you kidding me?,” continued Gerhart. “I’ll remember this until I stop racing. He was multiple laps down, but fast enough to be there.”

IMG_8864Gerhart ran with the leaders most of the day and appeared poised for a late-race push for one of the top spots. But during a restart with two laps to go, and with a number of competitors in his sight, Gerhart’s path became blocked.

Kimmel, who started from the pole, finished 15th and a lap down to winner Cole Custer.

After the checkered flag fell, Gerhart pulled his black number five right up along side of Kimmel’s car. Gerhart pulled off his helmet, jumped out of his car and confronted Kimmel.

IMG_8845Kimmel extended both of his arms to protect himself. Though Gerhart gave him a piece of his mind, no blows were thrown.

“I’m a little upset,” said Gerhart, a fiery competitor. “It’s called ‘respect’. And that’s not just me. That’s a racing rule. Other than that, we got the most of what we had. I thought we’d be a little better.

IMG_8743“The only way to get past the 25 (Kimmel) was to wreck him,” added Gerhart. “That’s how they race. To him, it’s not a big deal. For the rest of us guys, it is.”

After starting 12th, Gerhart shot to the sixth position three laps into the race. But after pitting on Lap Six under caution, Gerhart dropped back to the 13th spot and encountered difficulties making up ground.

“We were pretty consistent,” said Gerhart, who had also finished ninth in the June ARCA race at Pocono. “We took tires (early) and it put us in the back. It was a calculated gamble.”

IMG_8789Midway through the 50-lap race, Gerhart was running 11th. He slowly gained track position, and by Lap 48 was running ninth.

Grant Enfinger followed Custer to the finish line, and was second. Matt Kurzejewski was third, Austin Theriault fourth and Josh Williams fifth. Finshing ahead of Gerhart were David Levine, Austin Wayne and Bo LeMastus.

“We were trying to be fifth,” said Gerhart. “There were a couple of cars I could’ve got.

“This race is very short. Too short,” Gerhart added. “It should be a hundred laps. You’ve got to run hard. Every lap is extremely valuable.”

IMG_8757Martel’s truck run was as much about where he started as where he finished. Employing his ‘Run hard, but run smart’ approach, Martel did an admirable job of steering clear of the 69-lap race’s multiple accidents and incidents.

The race went to Kyle Busch, who beat Kevin Harvick to the finish line by 1.2255 seconds. Tyler Reddick took third, Cameron Hayley came in fourth and Austin Dillon ran fifth.

IMG_8774Martel finished two laps down to the leaders.

“We got lucky a little bit,” said Martel, who drives for father Bill Martel Racing. “We were definitely playing the caution card. We wanted to bring our truck home in one piece, so we could build on it. All in all, it was a great day. I’m proud of the guys. Our number one goal is always finishing the race strong, and gathering information that we don’t get to acquire week in and week out. Finishing it one piece.

IMG_8827“It definitely changes your strategy starting in the back,” Martel continued. “You’re at the mercy of cautions. You’ve got to pick a game plan and run with it. We had a lot of options. But it gave us some experience coming through the pack.”

From his final starting spot, Martel’s patient approach moved him up to the 20th position by Lap 40. He ran 19th for most of the race’s final 19 laps.

IMG_8834“It’s (racing trucks and stock cars) a big difference,” said Martel, who plans to race his truck again in September in New Hampshire. “You’ve got to constantly keep your engine revved up. You’ve got to keep your foot on the throttle. Trucks are very aerodynamically friendly.

“Nope, I really don’t have a preference,” added Martel. “As long as it has wheels and an engine. I’m good either way. It’s great. Unfortunately, we made a decision at the beginning of the year to only run the truck at Pocono. We don’t have the crew to support both the car and truck series.”

To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to see more go to www.lebanonsportsbuzz.com/gallery-nine/.

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ARCA Modspace 125

  Final Results

FIN STR NO DRIVER/HOMETOWN
1 5 00 Cole Custer/Ladera Ranch CA
2 2 23 Grant Enfinger/Fairhope AL
3 4 54 Matt Kurzejewski/Mansfield PA
4 6 55 Austin Theriault/Fort Kent ME
5 8 6 Josh Williams/Port Charlotte FL
6 14 59 David Levine/Highland Park IL
7 9 98 Austin Wayne Self/Austin TX
8 17 42 Bo LeMastus/Louisville KY
9 12 5 Bobby Gerhart/Lebanon PA
10 13 20 Tom Berte/New Berlin WI
11 16 86 Nick Idgalsky/Stroudsburg PA
12 15 3 Steve Fox/Hazleton PA
13 11 2 Sarah Cornett-Ching/Summerland BC
14 20 48 James Swanson/Clarksboro NJ
15 1 25 Frank Kimmel/Clarksville IN
16 25 58 Jairo Avila/Alhambra CA
17 26 69 Will Kimmel/Sellersburg IN
18 19 7 J.J. Pack/Bealeton VA
19 18 10 Ed Pompa/Ballston Spa NY
20 27 97 Ray Ciccarelli/Reisterstown MD
21 21 19 David Sear/La Jolla CA
22 30 07 Brian Kaltreider/Hanover PA
23 10 52 Matt Tifft/Hinckley OH
24 22 0 Don Thompson/Carlisle PA
25 7 77 Tom Hessert/Cherry Hill NJ
26 24 08 Dale Matchett/Cherry Hill NJ
27 23 8 Josh White/Charleston WV
28 31 12 Thomas Praytor/Mobile AL
29 29 06 Tim Viens/Daytona Beach FL
30 28 68 Chris Bailey/South Park PA
31 3 22 Kyle Weatherman/Wentzville MO
9 Mike Abram/St. Louis MO
40 Justin Lloyd/Barrington IL

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POS. CAR # DRIVER MANUFACTURER STARTING POS.
1 51 Kyle Busch 2
2 00 Kevin Harvick 7
3 19 Tyler Reddick 6
4 13 Cameron Hayley 16
5 33 Austin Dillon 5
6 98 Johnny Sauter 17
7 17 Timothy Peters 12
8 54 Matt Tifft 14
9 14 Daniel Hemric 15
10 4 Erik Jones 1
11 11 Ben Kennedy 8
12 15 Mason Mingus 11
13 8 John Hunter Nemechek 9
14 23 Spencer Gallagher 13
15 02 Tyler Young 20
16 63 Garrett Smithley 18
17 05 John Wes Townley 10
18 74 Jordan Anderson 21
19 50 Kyle Martel 32
20 28 Ryan Ellis 25
21 40 Todd Peck 23
22 6 Norm Benning 30
23 1 Travis Kvapil

 

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