Photo Credit: ARCA Racing Series
By: Don Radebaugh, ARCA Racing Series
It's no wonder that Austin Theriault and Ken Schrader Racing are leading the overall ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship standings. They've won more races, completed more laps and lead in some key Special Award categories, including the Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge. Theriault's got a 40-point lead in short track points headed to the next event on tour -- the Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway.
"We all know that the overall champion gets a little more recognition when it's all said and done, but we're honored to be leading the Sioux Chief Short Track points," said Theriault.
"We feel like the short tracks are where we've been pretty strong, and it's only getting better. We're usually pretty good when we unload…maybe not the fastest car, but we're always in contention in the end."
And of course leading the short track points bodes well for the overall championship picture considering 11 of the 20 events in 2017 are going down on short tracks.
Halfway through the season, there are still five more short track opportunities, including Friday night, July 21 at Lucas Oil.
"I ran a late model there back in 2013, but to be honest, I don't remember much. I think we'll be in good shape…I'm sure the groove will change throughout the race. We need to be able to have a car that lasts over the entire run.
"We're going to test (at Lucas Oil) this Sunday with Venturini [Motorsports]. I'm looking forward to it. We'll obviously have a lot more to say once we test."
On this day, Theriault was where he often is…inside the shop at Ken Schrader Racing trying to improve his game.
"We're at the shop…just tweaking our stuff. I'm working with our car chief (Phil Dry) going over our stuff from last week and looking at our test plan coming up…some ideas to try."
Theriault has a 40-point lead over Dalton Sargeant in Sioux Chief Short Track points with Christian Eckes trailing in third, 95 points out of first.
The remaining short track events this year include Lucas Oil Raceway (July 21), Winchester Speedway (Aug. 6), Illinois State Fairgrounds mile dirt (Aug. 20), DuQuoin State Fairgrounds mile dirt (Sept. 4) and Salem Speedway (Sept. 9).
The Ken Schrader Racing 52 team also leads in General Tire Superspeedway Challenge standings, 140 points in front of Joe Gibbs Racing's 18 car. The next superspeedway race on the schedule is Pocono Raceway July 28.
Theriault's crew chief Donnie Richeson still leads in the Cometic Crew Chief of the Year category over 3-time Cometic Crew Chief of the Year Chad Bryant. Bryant earned the Cometic Crew Chief of the Race at Iowa with Dalton Sargeant's win and fourth-place qualifying effort.
Theriault also leads the S&S Volvo Laps Completed category with 1535 laps total up through Iowa. Theriault has finished on the lead lap everywhere this year with the only exception being Salem Speedway.
Michael Self picked up the SCOTT Rookie of the Race honors at Iowa Speedway. But the bigger story is between Gus Dean and Bret Holmes who are tied for the lead in the overall SCOTT Rookie of the Year battle. Riley Herbst is also very much in the game in third, just 10 points from the leaders. The SCOTT Rookie Challenge takes a driver's 15 best races of the season and discards the rest. The SCOTT Rookie of the Year will receive a $10,000 bonus at the year-end championship awards banquet.
Shane Lee left Iowa Speedway atop two Special Award categories. The Newton, N.C. driver was the Valvoline Lap Leader of the Race, leading 58 laps total, and won the General Tire Pole Award. The General Tire Pole Award winner receives $10,000 at the year-end championship awards banquet. Currently, there is a six-way tie for the lead between Tom Hessert, Kyle Weatherman, Riley Herbst, Brandon Jones, Dalton Sargeant and Lee. After 10 events, four of the General Tire poles were not awarded because of rain.
Sheldon Creed was the Protect Plus Halfway Leader at Iowa.
For a complete listing of Special Award standings after Iowa, CLICK HERE.