JOLIET, Illinois (June 2, 2011) – Anxious. That is probably the best word to describe Matt Merrell lately. The driver of the No. 32 Champion Oil Toyota Camry is anxiously awaiting his shot at triumphing in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. He’ll have another shot Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway for the running of the Messina Animal Wildlife Stopper 150.
Merrell, the Portland, Texas native has been enjoying a stellar season which has consisted of three top-fives, four top-10s and five top-15 efforts. After tacking a road course for the first time two weeks ago at New Jersey Motorsports Park, round six of the 2011 season will once again yield a new track for the Win-Tron Racing development driver.
While the former USARacing Pro Cup Series standout has competed at some of the series’ most signature tracks like Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, he has little experience at the likeable cookie-cutter mile and a half speed plants. With one prior start at Kentucky Speedway, a facility similar to Chicagoland Speedway, Merrell is eager to get on the track and put his Mike Chafee-led No. 32 Champion Oil Toyota Camry up front.
“I may never have been to Chicagoland, but I have one of the best teams in the ARCA garage that can help me adjust real quick,” said Merrell, who currently occupies third in the championship chase. “The team had a strong run last year and I would like nothing more than to get some redemption on our last lap bad luck at New Jersey and reward ourselves with a victory lane celebration.”
Knowing that Chicagoland offers a perfect opportunity to gain some ground in the championship standings, Merrell is hoping that his night in Chicagoland will be imitating a night in Las Vegas after successfully striking rich at the Blackjack table.
“I’m just ready to win,” offered Merrell. “I feel like we’ve had our chances a couple times this year but different circumstances have kept us from putting a period to one of our biggest goals to the season. I want the win for these guys on this Win-Tron team who continue to stand behind me and give me 110 percent every single race. It also would incredibly satisfying to take our Champion Oil Toyota Camry to victory circle for their first time. They’ve been a great supporter of this team and I continue to be appreciative of their confidence in my driver ability.”
Nate Thiesse, co-owner of Win-Tron Racing offered his thoughts on Saturday’s race. “We’re all looking forward to Chicagoland. Over the years, we’ve enjoyed much success there and we expect nothing less this weekend. Time and time again, Matt has raised the bar for our expectations from him and undoubtedly, I know he’ll impress us even more on Saturday night.”
The first intermediate contest of the year signifies the fifth race that Champion Oil will heed the role as the primary sponsor for the Lakeville, Minnesota-based team. Headquartered in Clinton, Missouri Champion Oil, a division of Champion Brands LLC produces and blends more than 300 products including fuel, oil and engine additives and lubricants for the automotive, heavy truck, agricultural and specialty markets.
Merrell will make his 19th career start in the ARCA Racing Series presented Menards at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend. In his previous 18 outings, Merrell has eight top-fives including runner-up finishes of second at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway and Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (August) in 2009 and 10 top-10s. His best start position for Win-Tron Racing occurred at the tricky triangle of Pocono (Pa.) Raceway where he qualified his No. 32 CollinsHope.org Dodge Charger second in June of 2009.
The Messina Animal Wildlife Stopper 150 (100 laps / 150 miles) is the sixth of 19 events on the 2011 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. The 11th ARCA event held at Chicagoland Speedway is a two-day show. Practice begins Friday, June 3 with a one hour and twenty minute practice session planned from 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Menards Pole by Ansell qualifying is slated to begin at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 4. The field will take the green flag shortly after 5:00 p.m. The event will be televised same-day delayed on SPEED beginning at 10:00 p.m. CST / 11:00 p.m. EST. Live timing and scoring throughout the 1,318 race for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards since it was formed in 1953 will be available through the ARCA Racing Network (ARN) online at arcaracing.com presented by ARCANation.com. All times are local.
Further information including driver opportunities with Win-Tron Racing is available by visiting win-tronracing.com or contacting Nate Thiesse at 952.469.1839.
For more on Champion Oil, Champion Brands LLC and their products, please logon to championbrands.com or championsusechampion.com.