Tuesday, August 29, 2023

ARCA: Alex Clubb scores second-consecutive Milwaukee last-place finish

PHOTO: Jared Haas, @RealJaredHaas

by William Soquet
LASTCAR.info Staff Writer

Alex Clubb finished last for the 6th time in his ARCA Menards Series career in Sunday’s Sprecher 150 at the Milwaukee Mile when his unsponsored #03 Clubb Racing Ford exited the race after completing two laps.

The finish came in Clubb’s 41st career start and was his first since DuQuoin last year, 20 races ago.

Since a relatively average end to the 2022 season, Clubb Racing has remained one of the staple teams in the ARCA garage for 2023. The team opened up the season by giving their owner points to Mullins Racing and driver Brayton Laster at Daytona. Alex Clubb has run a majority of the schedule in the #03 car, running as high as 13th. After breaking into the stock car racing scene last year, Casey Carden returned to Clubb Racing for a trio of races this season, although he failed to finish all three. Roger Carter holds the team’s best finish on the year - an 11th in a one-off at Berlin.

Clubb on track at Milwaukee.
PHOTO: Small Budget Racing, @BudgetRacing51

The entry list for Milwaukee held 23 cars, up five from the previous ARCA race and down two from the previous ARCA East race. Several drivers wound up in new places. Grant Enfinger hopped behind the wheel of the Grant County Mulch car usually driven by Jason Kitzmiller. After running his own team in the past, Ron Vandermeir Jr. returned to ARCA for his first start of the season using his own car and Fast Track Racing’s #10 owner points. For the first time since Pocono, Jake Finch wound up in a fifth Venturini Motorsports entry, the #1.

The lone series debut was Rick Redig-Tackman, son of former ARCA competitor Rick Tackman Jr. According to Jared Haas of Frontstretch, Redig-Tackman helped rebuild Brad Smith’s #48 car from Charlotte and was given the chance to drive in return. Redig-Tackman, a southeast Wisconsin native, secured sponsorship from La Crosse Speedway promoting their Oktoberfest race weekend, which includes races in the ASA Midwest Tour, Big 8 Late Model Series and Midwest Truck Series, among others. Redig-Tackman is a regular in the Mid-Am Stock Car Series, where Ron Vandermeir Jr. was also successful before trying ARCA. As a result, Smith was entered in Kimmel Racing’s #69 car.

Saturday’s practice session was led by William Sawalich, who set a fast lap of 29.332 seconds. Clubb was by far the slowest, clocking in at 41.091 seconds. Next up the chart were Dale Shearer and A.J. Moyer, who were both in the 36-second range. In qualifying, Sawalich set a new track record of 29.069 seconds. Shearer's was the slowest car to take a time at 35.746 seconds, with Clubb, 20th in practice, not far ahead at 35.385 seconds.

At the command to fire engines, 22 of the 23 cars followed through. The one who didn’t was Rita Goulet, who needed a push to get her car rolling. She eventually left pit lane and joined the tail end of the field. Before the drop of the green flag, Redig-Tackman, Smith and Clubb all dropped to the rear of the field with Smith's the final car to take the green flag. However, he passed Clubb in the first set of turns, dropping the #03 to last. In the next set of turns, Clubb then caught Shearer, and drew nearly even with the #98 at the line to complete the first lap. Clubb cleared Shearer in Turns 1 and 2 on the second lap, leaving Shearer at the rear of the field. At this point, Shearer was between a third and a half-track in arrears to leader Sawalich.

At the end of the second lap, Smith entered pit road and immediately made the hard left turn to enter the ARCA garage. The #69 car sat for a lap until Clubb pulled in a lap later and then promptly returned to pit lane and then the track. The scenario did not repeat for Clubb, who soon dropped the window net and climbed from the unsponsored car. He noted after the race on Facebook that he hoped it would be the car’s final start-and-park effort of the season.

Clubb pulls up to the team's hauler in the garage.
PHOTO: Small Budget Racing, @BudgetRacing51

This was much different than 2022, when Clubb had ambitions of completing a full race before a right-front mechanical failure led to a brutal wall impact and another last-place finish - also after two laps.

Dallas Freuh, driving Fast Track Racing’s #01 this weekend, finished in 22nd. He and Jon Garrett both completed 12 circuits before retiring from the race. Smith lasted 24 laps and got Kimmel a few more owners points, finishing 20th instead of 23rd. Shearer rounded out the Bottom Five, stalled on track after completing 104 laps.

Redig-Tackman finished 14th in his series debut, the best finish for the #48 this year. Former LASTCAR ARCA championship leader Tim Monroe ran a full race as well, coming home six laps down in 15th.

23) #03-Alex Clubb / 2 laps / mechanical
22) #01-Dallas Freuh / 12 laps / mechanical
21) #66-Jon Garrett / 12 laps / mechanical
20) #69-Brad Smith / 24 laps / mechanical
19) #98-Dale Shearer / 104 laps / stalled

1st) Chevrolet (8)
2nd) Ford (5)
3rd) Toyota (2)

1st) Smith Brothers Racing (4)
2nd) Fast Track Racing (3)
3rd) Clubb Racing (2)
4th) Coughlin Brothers Racing, KLAS Motorsports, Our Motorsports, Spraker Racing Enterprises, Tamayo-Cosentino Racing, Kimmel Racing (1)

1st) Wayne Peterson Racing, Fast Track Racing (2)
2nd) Brad Smith Motorsports, Kimmel Racing, Clubb Racing (1)

1st) Ford (4)
2nd) Toyota (2) 
3rd) Chevrolet (1)


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