SALEM, Ind. – Early into Sunday afternoon’s running of the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 at Salem (Ind.) Speedway it appeared that Gus Dean (@gusdean) bad luck would stretch into round three of the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season, but the Bluffton, S.C. native refused to go down without a fight.
After another car made contact with Dean’s No. 32 GREE Cooling Products Toyota Camry less than 20 laps into Sunday afternoon’s race, the 22-year-old driver put on a show rallying back from the setback to finish second behind race winner Dalton Sargeant.
“Such an unbelievable day,” said Dean who also scored SCOTT rookie of the race honors in his first top-five effort of the year. “We had an unfortunate incident early in the race when we got spun and were trapped a lap down. Still, I knew we had a good car. We never got discouraged and it showed.”
After the spin, the South Carolinian was forced to pit for four fresh tires and fuel. From there, the march from 17th to the front was on.
Uncharacteristic for Salem, the third race of the season settled into a long green-flag run. Dean and his Win-Tron Racing didn’t complain of the green flag stretch, however, as Dean was able to execute on the fresh rubber to cleverly maneuverer through the field and climb into the top-10 approaching the halfway mark.
Still green, teams ahead of Dean’s No. 32 GREE Toyota Camry were forced to utilize varying pit strategies as their tires diminished with Dean reaping the benefits of tire conservation, moving inside the top-five by Lap 120.
When the second and final caution waived 12 laps later at Lap 132, Dean found himself third in the running order and at that time, the only car one lap in the arrears. With the call for two tires, fuel and two rounds down on the track bar to combat a loose race car, Dean restarted third on Lap 140 and moved into the runner-up spot position by Lap 180.
Without a caution and turning lap times as fast and even sometimes faster than the race leader, Dean ran out of laps to get his opportunity to get back on the lead lap, but took the checkered flag second to earn his second top-five of his young ARCA career.
On Saturday, crew chief Todd Myers elected to work on race setup instead of throwing up a quick lap in qualifying trim. The strategy lined up Dean 13th on the starting grid, but the Win-Tron Racing development driver said Myers plan nearly worked to perfection.
“Todd and Kevin (Cywinski, car owner) gave me a bad to the bone race car,” Dean added. “We really needed this as a team. And we needed this finish for GREE and their supporters. They’ve stood behind us no questions asked after Daytona and Nashville. I can’t wait to get to Talladega this week.”
Following Dean’s best finish as a Win-Tron Racing driver, the ARCA Racing Series now shifts their attention to the second and final restrictor plate race of the season where Dean plans to defend his General Tire 200 trophy – where he scored his first career victory in dramatic fashion last April.
“The boys have put our Daytona car back together and she looks great,” said Dean. “We’re excited to get to Talladega and see if we can make it back-to-back wins. I know the team is going to give me a car capable of doing that, we just need to have a little of that racing luck again on Friday afternoon.”
In 10 ARCA Racing Series starts, Dean captured his first career victory in his second ever start at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway after starting second in Apr. 2016. Overall, Dean has two top-five and four top-10 finishes and has led 21 laps in ARCA competition.
For more on Gus Dean, please visit his all new website at GusDean.com or like him on Facebook.
Dean tweets too. Follow him on Twitter @GusDean.
To learn more about GREE Racing and their expansion into Motorsports, please hop on GREERacing.com or follow them on Twitter @GREE_Racing.
Follow Win-Tron Racing on Twitter @WinTronRacing, like on Facebook (WinTron Racing) or click on WinTronRacing.com.
In 1991, GREE set out to make the world a cooler place. To this end, we’ve become a global leader in air conditioners, developing some of the most advanced commercial and residential air conditioners in the world. Based in Zhuhai, China, GREE is now the world’s largest specialized air conditioner company integrating R&D, manufacturing, sales and service. It’s our mission to innovate and create new ways to help people live well and stay comfortable no matter where they live, work or play.
About Win-Tron Racing:
Located in Mooresville, North Carolina, Win-Tron Racing is a professional race team headquartered in “Race City USA.” Owned by former racer Kevin Cywinski, the team will compete for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship in 2017 with driver Gus Dean in the No. 32 GREE Toyota Camry. The team will also field a second entry in the No. 33 Toyota Camry with Justin Fontaine and others. Learn more at WinTronRacing.com or on Twitter @WinTronRacing.