LONG POND, PA - For the first time in over a year, Matt Merrell will return to the ARCA Racing Series
presented by Menards tour reuniting with Win-Tron Racing for Saturday’s Pennsylvania ARCA 125 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
Even though the reunion is long-overdue, the history between the Portland, Texas native and the Lakeville, Minnesota-based team extends back many years which included competition in the CARS Pro Cup Series (formerly known as the USARacing Pro Cup Series) – it was though last July that the team made magic after Merrell made a late race charge at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway to net his first career ARCA Racing Series win on July 9 after starting third.
Set to roll into the emotions of returning to the ARCA tour, the Texan is eager to prove that despite his lack of presence on the track – he hasn’t forgotten how to wheel the No. 32 Win-Tron Racing Toyota Camry. In fact, before his impressive win in the Great Lakes State, the 2.5-mile triangle was one of Merrell’s sweet stops on the tour as he’s never finished outside the top-10 in his three previous starts.
Before finishing 10th in 2011, the 27-year old additionally boasted two top-five runs including a runner-up performance in the summer event of 2009. But, big things have happened to Pocono since Merrell has tackled the “Tricky Triangle” – including a complete repavement of the track’s surface. Even though he’ll be swimming in new waters this weekend, Merrell is hoping that some of his old tricks will still work on Saturday afternoon.
“First, I’m stoked about being back in a car with the guys at Win-Tron Racing,” said Merrell. “It feels like it’s been literally forever since I’ve been back at the race track. I love this team, I love the series and I love Pocono Raceway. No doubt that a few things have changed since I’ve last been behind the wheel but I’m okay with that. It just gives you the extra incentive to go out there and try and finish right where you left off.”
He added, “Pocono has always been good to me. Three races with two top-fives and three top-10s, I really can’t complain. But, those races have always been over 50 laps – this weekend that won’t be the case. It’s a shootout. But, I like a challenge and I’m looking forward to that opportunity of potentially pulling our No. 32 Win-Tron Racing Toyota Camry back into victory lane.”
Merrell says his long-term goal of returning to the ARCA scene on a more permanent basis looks optimistic. “We have a lot of stuff in the works and it looks promising, but we will see,” he said. “No doubt that a good run at Pocono will help us in those negotiations and we’ll see how everything unfolds. I’m hopeful, that’s for sure.”
Nate Thiesse, co-car owner of Win-Tron Racing offered his sentiments on welcoming Merrell back to the circuit. “There isn’t a driver that we would like to have back in the seat at Pocono Raceway other than Matt,” he said. “He has a gift for that place and has it figured out. I think the repavement of the track will only benefit him. We’re confident that we can go to the track this weekend - be strong out of the box and with his talent and ability our chances are as good as any on Saturday afternoon.”
Merrell is set to make his 25th career ARCA start Saturday afternoon. In his previous 24 starts, he has amassed one win, nine top-fives and 12 top-10 finishes. His best starting position based on speed occurred at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in June of 2009 where he rolled off second.
The Pennsylvania ARCA 125 (50 laps / 125 miles) is the 14th of 20 events on the 2012 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. The 55th ARCA event in Long Pond will be a two-day show. Practice begins Friday, August 3 with an hour and twenty minute session planned from 1:40 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Menards pole qualifying presented by Ansell is set for later in the day slated to begin at 5:15 p.m. The event will take the green flag on Saturday, August 4 following the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ Pocono Mountains 125 set to launch shortly after 3:00 p.m. The race will be televised live on SPEED with additional coverage including timing and scoring will be available through the ARCA Racing Network (ARN) online at www.arcaracing.com. All times are local (Eastern).
Further information including driver opportunities with Win-Tron Racing is available by visiting www.win-tronracing.com or contacting Nate Thiesse at 612.306.1641
About Win-Tron Racing:
Located in Lakeville, Minnesota, Win-Tron Racing is the home of one the most potent ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards single-car operations. Owned by former racers Kevin Cywinski and Nate Thiesse, the team since has acquired the assets of County Joe Racing has become a favorable fixture on the circuit. Since Win-Tron Racing’s inception in 2007, the team has hosted a variety of drivers including leading drivers James Buescher, Blake Bjorklund, Justin Marks and Matt Merrell to their first career ARCA victories. In 2012, the team will begin its sixth year of competition with current drivers Chris Windom, Mason Mingus, Aleks Gregory and Merrell.
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