3 Arca Series drivers taken to hospital

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3 Arca Series drivers taken to hospital

Post  The Wicked One on Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:26 am

James Buescher held off Joey Logano in a battle of 18-year-olds on the final lap of Saturday's crash-marred ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Daytona International Speedway that sent three drivers to the hospital.

The 80-lap event was slowed by a series of multicar wrecks, including a three-car accident six laps from the end that brought out a red flag.

Patrick Sheltra, running third, was hit from behind by pole-winner Justin Lofton, sending Sheltra's car into the wall. As it slid back down the banking on the 2.5-mile oval, Sheltra's car was slammed hard and sent into a spin by the trailing car of Larry Hollenbeck.

It took safety workers about 20 minutes to get Sheltra out of his battered car. He and Hollenbeck were taken by ambulance to Halifax Medical Health Center. The series said the drivers were conscious and alert, and would remain at the hospital overnight for further evaluation.

Bobby Gerhart, who hit the wall earlier in the race after a tire blew, was taken to the same hospital for observation and later released.

Logano, scheduled to drive Saturday night in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Budweiser Shootout, is replacing two-time Cup champion Tony Stewart this year in Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 20 Toyota. He drove the ARCA race in a car prepared by JGR and fielded by Venturini Racing.

He lost a lap early in the race when his team was penalized for having an extra man with no helmet over the wall during a pit stop, but got back on the lead lap and was in position to challenge for his second ARCA win as the race neared its finish.

The race was restarted with just one lap remaining and Buescher, who at 16 was the youngest winner in ARCA history when he took the checkered flag in a race at Lakeland, Fla., in 2007, was able to keep Logano behind him, winning by about two car-lengths.

"I knew he was going to come after me in the third turn and I just made the car as wide as I could," Buescher said. "I did what I had to do."

Lofton finished third, followed by John Wes Townley and Ken Weaver.
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