Bobby Gerhart Wins Eighth Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200

Credit: ARCA

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Just hours before the green flag would drop on the 34th running of the Budweiser Shootout, a green-white-checkered finish led to a thrilling start to Speedweeks 2012 as Bobby Gerhart kicked off the 60th anniversary of the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards with his third consecutive victory – and eighth overall – in the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona International Speedway.

“That last lap was like a dream,” said Gerhart, who led only the final lap and has now won the season opener six of the last eight years. “I had a good run and went for the lead. It was unbelievable.”

After Gerhart’s pole-winning qualifying run around the 2.5-mile tri-oval was disallowed, the team took a provisional and started the race from the 42nd position.
Following a similar game plan as last year, Gerhart pitted for fuel on Lap 1 and went down a lap, but his No. 5 Lucas Oil Slick Chevrolet was the beneficiary of the first caution, enabling him to get back on the lead lap and top off with fuel for the final time on Lap 10.

During the final caution, Gerhart – who was the only driver in the 43-car field to have previously posted a win at the “World Center of Racing” – was running seventh and Brandon McReynolds – son of former NASCAR crew chief and current television analyst Larry McReynolds – was in the lead.

McReynolds tried desperately to conserve fuel while leading 64 of the 83 laps in his first showing on the high banks of Daytona. Leading the pack out of Turn 4 and into the tri-oval to take the checkered flag,

McReynolds’ attempt proved futile as the No. 4 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet slowed and coasted across the finish line in 11th place.

Drew Charlson and Will Kimmel – nephew of nine-time ARCA champion and 23rd-place finisher Frank Kimmel– rounded out the top three.