Kevin Swindell leads wire-to-wire to win ARCA Chicagoland 150; Nelson Canache impresses

Kevin Swindell prior to qualifying for the ARCA Racing Series International Hall of Fame 250 at Talladega Superspeedway in May. Swindell won his first-career ARCA race on Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway.

The ARCA Racing Series is celebrating their 60th Anniversary in 2012, with Venturini Motorsports celebrating their own 30-years in the sport. They've now won 27 times in ARCA, most recently on Saturday with Kevin Swindell, who won his first career race at Chicagoland Speedway in the Ansell ActivArmr 150.

Swindell, the youngest member of the famous sprint-car clan and three-time Chili Bowl National Champion, has dabbled in the NASCAR Nationwide and Pro Series since 2008 but his part-time ride with Venturini represents a serious commitment to stock car racing.

That commitment finally paid off this past weekend.

Swindell received a gift-pole when teammate and initial pole-sitter Brennan Poole failed post-qualifying technical inspection and was sent to the back of the field. As a result, Swindell started on the point and never looked back and led every single lap.

Poole made a valiant effort to get back to the front but ultimately finished second, unable to dispose of his teammate for the lead.

Usual contenders Frank Kimmel, Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed completed the top-five respectively. Buescher maintains a 45-point championship advantage over Poole, with Alex Bowman and Frank Kimmel within 100 points. A maximum of 200 points is awarded to ARCA race winners.

A full-field rundown, championship standings and a brief feature on Nelson Canache can be found after the jump.

Instead of writing about the usual contenders, I want to take a moment to recognize Nelson Canache's career-best performance. Saturday might be remembered as the day where Caracas-natived finally arrived as a stock car driver.

Canache qualified third, ran second for over half the race, and ultimately finished in seventh. This is

Canache's best showing in a stock car, besting his previous best finish of 12th, recorded earlier this month at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

This makes what Canache did on Saturday even more incredible. He held his own against ARCA's best on a type of track that has not been incredibly kind to him

Canache's career accomplishments are well-noted. He's a three-time Venezuelan National Champion, three-time runner-up, and most-recently competed in the 24 Hours of Daytona for Team APR and their signature Audi R8 Grand-Am. He finished in 44th (31st in GT) in that race alongside teammates Ian Baas, Emanuele Pirro, Jim Norman and Dion von Moltke.

I spoke with Tom Venturini, the team's marketing and PR chief at Talladega, and he said that the team expects a lot from Canache once he adjusts to the much-heavier stock cars. He used the phrase "professional race car driver" on more than one occasion, and not in the clichéd sense.

Canache lived up to that hype on Saturday, now let's see if he can match it for the rest of the season.

[Read More: Nelson Canache jumps from Grand-Am to ARCA, sets sights on Series championship]

Thus ends the bulk of speedway races remaining on the schedule, with six of the next eight events taking place on tracks a half-mile or shorter, including the dirt track race at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds. It will be interesting to see how the speedway (and championship) contenders fare once ARCA returns to its short track roots late in the summer months.

[Read More: Updated ARCA Racing Series Championship Standings]

The home stretch of the season begins next Friday in the Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway (IN) at 8:00 p.m. EST. Speed will have flag-to-flag coverage.

Finishing Order

Fin Start No. Driver Team Laps Status
1 1 55 Kevin Swindell Curb Records Toyota 100 Running
2 31 25 Brennan Poole Texas Corral-Venturini Motorsports Toyota 100 Running
3 8 44 Frank Kimmel Ansell-Menards Toyota 100 Running
4 10 17 Chris Buescher Reliance Tool-Roulo Brothers Racing Ford 100 Running
5 4 15 Ryan Reed JDRF Ford 100 Running
6 5 58 Chad Hackenbracht CGH Motorsports Chevrolet 100 Running
7 3 35 Nelson Canache Venezuela Tourism Toyota 100 Running
8 7 22 Alex Bowman St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Dodge 100 Running
9 11 53 Tim Andrews Van Dyke Recycling Solutions Dodge 100 Running
10 9 68 Will Kimmel AccucareTX-Joliet Tilted Kilt Ford 99 Running
11 17 99 Brandon Davis Roulo Brothers Racing Ford 99 Running
12 13 45 David Levine Richard Petty Driving Experience Dodge 99 Running
13 12 12 Jared Marks Premium Energy VIP-SRT Motorsport-UNOH Dodge 99 Running
14 15 95 Michael Leavine WRL General Contractors Ford 99 Running
15 14 09 Robert Bujdoso Checkered Express Ford 99 Running
16 2 16 Matt Lofton Chevrolet 98 Running
17 20 5 Bobby Gerhart Lucas Oil Chevrolet 96 Running
18 18 94 Milka Duno Corazon Venezolano Toyota 96 Running
19 19 88 Buster Graham Batter's Dream Ford 95 Running
20 16 02 Josh Williams Southwest Florida Cable Construction Ford 95 Running
21 22 04 Larry Barford Jr First Mariner Bank-Trauma Doc Dodge 93 Running
22 26 48 James Hylton Ford 91 Running
23 25 83 Mike Affarano Affarano Racing Chevrolet 90 Running
24 32 66 Mark Thompson Phoenix Air Toyota 66 Suspension
25 24 06 Tommy O'Leary Wayne Peterson Racing Ford 51 Running
26 6 23 Spencer Gallagher Allegiant Air Chevrolet 44 Engine
27 28 0 Brad Smith Wayne Peterson Racing Ford 18 Handling
28 27 34 Darrell Basham Darrell Basham Racing Chevrolet 14 Transmission
29 23 10 Richard Harriman Fast Track Driving School Ford 10 Brakes
30 30 3 Tim Turner Hixson Construction Chevrolet 5 Handling
31 29 79 Mike Koch K&K Racing-Karl's Plumbing Chevrolet 5 Suspnsn
32 21 69 Korbin Forrister Tilted Kilt Ford 4 Vibration
33 34 40 Roger Carter Carter 2 Motorsports Dodge 2 Handling
34 33 32 Brad Riethmeyer Win-Tron Racing Chevrolet 2 Vibration
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