Entering his first career race on a dirt track, ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards rookie driver David Levine was not sure what to expect. He finished Sunday’s SuperChevyStores.com 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds with a smile on his face, and his ninth top ten ARCA Series finish of 2015.
“Dirt racing is awesome!” David commented after the race. “I had a lot of fun today – so much fun to be sideways for that long, and we finished without a scratch on the car. I’m excited for the next one at DuQuoin!”
Sunday morning got off to a wet start, with rain showers shortening practice to 30 minutes, and forcing the cancellation of qualifying. The starting grid was set by car owner points, placing David in the 12th position at the drop of the green flag.
For David, the opening laps of the 100 lap event were spent feeling out the race track, which had been reworked due to the earlier rain. He made his only pit stop of the day during a caution period on lap 26, bringing his No. 59 Ford to the attention of his pit crew for four tires and fuel. He rejoined the field in 16th place, behind several cars that had yet to make their first pit stops.
He would gain track position several laps later, staying on the track while the majority of the field made pit stops under the next caution. The strategy moved his Momo/Ford Performance/TraqGear Ford Fusion to the 8th position. He remained in the top ten for the remainder of the race.
Working his way to sixth place by lap 70, David’s first top five finish of the year within reach. However, on a restart from caution in the closing laps of the race, David would get into oil on the track from the blown engine of a competitor that had brought out the caution. He was shuffled back to 9th place before a final caution period would come out, sending the race into a green-white-checkered flag overtime finish.
In the last two laps, David gained back two positions to finish in 7th place. His finish keeps him solidly at 5th position in the ARCA Racing Series driver points standings, and maintains his lead in the Scott Rookie Challenge standings.
“Seventh in my first time out on dirt is pretty solid,” David concluded. “It’s really bittersweet though, because I feel like we had a top five car. We’ll get after it again at the Southern Illinois 100 on Labor Day at the dirt track at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds.”