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BY COURTNEY McGARRY
SPECIAL TO THE BEACON
Despite starting last, Chad McCumbee continued his string of top-10 finishes in the No. 1 ModSpace Ford Friday at the Michigan International Speedway.
McCumbee rallied from his 38th-place starting position to score an eighth-place finish Friday in the RainEater Wiper Blades 200. It was McCumbee’s seventh top-10 finish of the year for Andy Belmont Racing and sixth in a row in the ARCA Racing Series.
A qualifying effort of 183.192 mph was 12th-best overall, but ARCA Racing officials determined McCumbee had an unapproved tire change post qualifying. The ModSpace team was regulated to drop to the rear of the 40-car field, but McCumbee quickly showed he had no intention of staying there.
“It was a good weekend,” McCumbee said. “We have not had the initial speed we would like on the intermediate tracks, but we have raced very well. I cannot say enough about that. I have been really pleased with how we have raced. Wayne Carroll did an absolutely wonderful job getting our stuff to where it is competitive.”
McCumbee worked his way up to 22nd by Lap 2 and 19th by Lap 13 with the help of team owner and spotter Jennifer Belmont.
With Jennifer Belmont navigating McCumbee through the heavy traffic and with crew chief Wayne Carroll making adjustments on each of the team’s eight stops, the charge got McCumbee safely into the top 10.
“Overall, we are pleased with our finish,” Belmont said. “At Michigan, there is always a tough field because of the NASCAR Series companion events and the extra race entries. For whatever reason, Michigan always has really high quality entries and competitors. It was the stiffest competition we have faced all year, and to get a top 10 out of it, I think we did a very good job. I am very pleased with it.”
By Lap 35, McCumbee had worked his way up into the top 15, and by Lap 39, he gained yet another spot to sit 14th. But the springboard to the top-10 finish came on the Lap 53 during a caution. With 18 cars on the lead lap, McCumbee was eighth.
McCumbee pushed the car so hard to get into the top 10 there wasn’t enough left for a two-lap sprint to the finish line following a caution period to challenge for the win. However, an eighth-place finish continued the top-10-finish string.
“It was exciting to see Chad fight his way from the back of the field to finish eighth,” said William Mann, director of motorsports for ModSpace. “Chad is a points contender for the 2011 ARCA Racing Series championship.”
Although McCumbee spent most of the race methodically making his way to the front of the field, he is still on schedule to compete for the ARCA Racing Series championship, improving to fourth in the standings, 20 points out of third.
The next event on the ARCA Racing Series schedule is June 25 at Winchester Speedway in Winchester, Ind. The race starts at 8 p.m., with live coverage provided by ARCARacing.com, and will feature timing and scoring coverage.
RACING ON TV
Sprint Cup: Sonoma at 3 p.m. June 26 on TNT. No Nationwide or Camping World races this week. No ARCA race on TV.