There were certainly opportunities that were made available. But neither Bobby Gerhart or Kyle Martel had the horses, or the horsepower, to take advantage of them.
Saturday afternoon was another frustrating and disappointing day for Lebanon’s professional stock-car racers at Pocono Raceway’s 2.5-mile tricky triangle in Long Pond. They were the types of performances that more and more are becoming the norm rather than the exception.
Neither Gerhart, a veteran on the circuit, or Martel, an up-and-coming driver, were factors in Saturday’s running of the ARCA 200 at Pocono, the venue that both local drivers consider their home track. Gerhart simply didn’t produce the speed needed to compete with the leaders and finished 19th, while Martel experienced early engine difficulties and came in 32nd.
The checkered flag went to 17-year-old Jeremy Elliott, son of stock-car racing legend Bill Elliott who edged fellow 17-year-old and big-team developmental driver Erik Jones by three-quarters of a second. ARCA points leader Frank Kimmel, who was seeking to tie the all-time record for ARCA wins, took third.
Only nine of the 33 competitors who started the 200-mile race finished on the lead lap, neither or which were Gerhart or Martel.
While the teenagers were consistently clicking off lap times of 53 and 54 seconds, Gerhart’s best lap of the day was clocked at 56.646 seconds. Gerhart, who finished four laps down to the leaders, was running laps in the 59-second range at the end of the race.
Gerhart, who started 23rd, ran hard early and moved up to 13th ten laps in, just 11 seconds off the lead. Gerhart was still in contention 20 laps in, running in 14th place, but by the 30th lap had fallen a lap down, and never recovered.
Halfway through the 80-lap race, Jones ran out of gas and Kimmel was stricken with a poor pit stop, opening the door for Elliott, who started dead last, and the rest of the field. But Gerhart could not take advantage of it.
Gerhart fell two laps off the lead, and then went three down on Lap 50.
The race was the seventh on the 2013 ARCA series. For Gerhart, it was his fourth start of the campaign, none of which has resulted in a top-ten finish.
Martel, who has run but a handful of ARCA races at Pocono in his young career, finished in the exact some position in which he started, 32nd. His car experienced engine difficulties on the fourth lap and had to be pushed by a wrecker to the infield garage.