LONG POND, Pennsylvania (June 8, 2011) – – Despite a less than desirable finish last Saturday night at Chicagoland Speedway, Matt Merrell and his Win-Tron Racing team throttle back to Pocono (Pa.) Raceway for Saturday’s Pocono ARCA 200 looking to better Merrell’s previous best finish at the 2.5-mile triangle in 2009.
Should Merrell complete the task in his No. 32 Champion Oil Toyota Camry, he will become the second first-time winner in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards this season. In 2009, Merrell surprised many in the garage with back-to-back top-five finishes in his only two Pocono (Pa.) Raceway starts.
After delivering a fifth place finish in the June event, Merrell returned in August with a vengeance and nearly pulled off the upset but had to settle for second behind eventual race winner and series champion Justin Lofton.
“I’ve had Pocono circled on my calendar,” said the Portland, Texas native. “I just love that place. Some drivers love it, some hate but it’s a track that just fits me perfectly. I’d like to put together another strong finish for Win-Tron Racing and Champion Oil.”
The 26-year old added, “It’s a place where you need to have a lot of finesse and some big horsepower. The front straightaway is so long that it provides a perfect passing zone if you can get the run off turn four that you need. I know Mike (Chaffee, crew chief) knows what I’m looking for in our No. 32 Champion Oil Toyota Camry.
After six races, Merrell secures sixth in the championship standings but is a mere 40 points from sitting in third.
“We were jolted in the point standings after our bad luck at Chicagoland Speedway last weekend, so we need to rebound in a big way. A win would definitely help that mission.”
Other than a last lap spin at New Jersey Motorsports Park from another competitor which resulted in a 14th place finish and the blown right front tire last Saturday night at Chicagoland Speedway which resulted in a frustrating 24th place run, Merrell and his Lakeville, Minnesota-based team have muscled three top-fives and four top-10 finishes still signifying that the team is championship caliber.
“We may be a little down, but we’re not out and we’re not going down without a fight,” offered Merrell. “This is a phenomenal team who never gives up, even when it’s easier to. Pocono comes at a perfect opportunity to put our season back on track.”
Nate Thiesse, co-owner of Win-Tron Racing offered his thoughts on Saturday’s race. “I know this is a race that Matt has been counting the days down. We all were impressed on how quick Matt adapted to such a difficult track. We’ve had some misfortune the last two races, but I couldn’t agree more with Matt (Merrell) that Pocono is the right place to put the Win-Tron Racing team back on the radar screen.” The first of two Pocono contests of the year signifies the sixth 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 20th career start in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards at Pocono Raceway this weekend. In his previous 19 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 Pocono ARCA 200 (80 laps / 200 miles) is the seventh of 19 events on the 2011 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. The 52nd ARCA race at Pocono Raceway is a two-day show. Practice begins Friday, June 10 with a one hour and fifty minute practice session planned from 10:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m. Menards Pole by Ansell qualifying is slated to begin later in the day at 2:05 p.m. The field will take the green flag shortly after 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 11. The event will be televised same-day delayed on SPEED beginning at 8:00 p.m. EST. Live timing and scoring throughout the 1,319th 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.