Hemphill Wheels To Second Straight Kentucky Speedway Win
Timing was everything for Ryan Hemphill at Kentucky Speedway in the rain-shortened ARCA RE/MAX Series "Kentucky 150" today.
The 23-year-old driver, his No. 64 TRIMSPA Dodge crew chief Greg Tester, and his stepmother, also serving as his race spotter, combined to correctly time Hemphill's fuel mileage with the arrival of a passing summer rain shower to deliver his second consecutive series win at the track. He joins three-time Kentucky Speedway winner Frank Kimmel as the only series drivers to sweep two races at Kentucky Speedway in the same year.
The race was red flagged on Lap 67 of a scheduled 100 laps due to rain, sending Hemphill to Victory Lane. Hemphill said he was happy to earn the win after not being able to adjust his car set-up after qualifications were rained out yesterday following the morning practice session.
Hemphill scores his fourth win, sixth top-five and seventh top-10 of the season through nine of a possible 12 starts this season. The Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Driver Development Program member is scheduled to compete in the 10-race ARCA RE/MAX Superspeedway Challenge this season.
"It feels real good to be back in Victory Lane. It has been a rough past couple races," Hemphill said. "We destroyed a car in Michigan on a bad tire and ran out of gas at Pocono. We got to bring a brand new car to Kentucky. It had never seen the track this year and I think the new paint scheme from TRIMSPA must have been good luck.
"I was a little worried when I came back and found out that we couldn't adjust the car, but that's how good the car was. It won without any adjustments. That says a lot about my guys here and my crew chief. They gave me a great car this weekend. I didn't think that weather was going to be a factor, but as we started, the skies got dark and then the rain came."
Hemphill started the race fourth and took a lead he would never relinquish when he powered his No. 64 TrimSpa Dodge to the high line to pass the No. 5 ditech.com Chevrolet of second-place starter Boston Reid. Later in the lap, he tracked down and passed pole-sitter Kimmel for the lead.
"My stepmother spotted for me before early in my career. Since my spotter was flying to China, she stepped in and did a great job. She thought I'd be able to pass the No. 5 car early on, I don't know if he was having tire problems. The No. 46 (Kimmel) looked like was a little loose when I passed him."
Hemphill will continue his rookie-of-the-year campaign at Gateway International Raceway on July 16.
"The number position in rookie points and the number one position in super speedway were my goals and we are doing good right now," he said. "The program is headed in the direction that we intended it. I am getting the experience and the year has been going great for myself and the whole team."
Kimmel, a three-time Kentucky Speedway winner, started his third consecutive Kentucky race from the pole and posted his sixth top-five in his past seven starts at the track. He closed the race in fifth to post his eighth top-five and 11th top-10 finish of the season through 12 starts.
He pitted under caution on Lap 34, restarted the race in 19th, moved through the pack steadily, but was unable to threaten Hemphill before the rain hit.
"All in all, we are happy with a top five, I guess," Kimmel said "The car wasn't running real great, so I'm unhappy with that. (After the pit stop), we had to get back in the pack and try to gain on them. I know that we had enough fuel to go all the way so it would have been cool to see the race go another 10 laps because I think a bunch of guys would have had to pit. That's how it goes. The rain helped us (with a win) last week but it just came a little too early this week."
Racing continues at Kentucky Speedway tonight at 8:00 p.m., when the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series takes to the track for "The Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by The Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers."
~ Kentucky Speedway ~