Dalton Sargeant came off a second-place finish in the Menards 200 at Toledo Speedway Sunday after leading 161 laps and is currently leading the 2017 Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge standings after the first three short track races this season (Nashville, Salem and Toledo).
Sargeant’s win at Salem, along with a ninth-place finish at Nashville and his runner-up run at Toledo are enough to keep the lead in the Sioux Chief Short Track points.
“Leading the Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge is really cool,” said Sargeant. “Cunningham won it last year in the No. 77 Big Tine Ford Fusion and it would be pretty significant to be able to win it again in the same car. Coming into the season there were a lot of outside expectations with driving the championship car and I think leading the short track challenge and sort of picking up where Cunningham left off last season is a good start to proving those expectations.”
However, with eight more short track races to go, there’s still plenty of time to catch the leader, especially for Theriault, who trails Sargeant by just 25 points headed to the next short track race on tour at Elko Speedway June 3. In fact the top-five in Sioux Chief points are close with 16-year-old Christian Eckes in third at 595, Zane Smith fourth at 590 and Riley Herbst fifth at 570. Just 70 points separate the top-five in contention.
“ARCA has a lot of great short tracks on the circuit that have a lot of history and a lot of great racing,” Sargeant continued. “It’s always really competitive whenever we go to these tracks and I think that was apparent just this past weekend at Toledo. There’s always good battles on restarts and long green-flag runs and with the level of competition in the field that ARCA has been brining to tracks so far, it makes for some fun racing.”
Sargeant also left Toledo with the Valvoline Lap Leader of the Race honors after he spent most of the afternoon in front, leading 161 of 200 laps before he gave it up to Harrison Burton inside of 10 to go. As a result, Sargeant is now well in control of the overall Valvoline Lap Leader of the Year award category with 219 laps-led on the season. Kyle Weatherman, who didn’t race at Toledo, is a distant second at 138 laps-led.
“Overall we had a strong day at Toledo. We led the majority of the laps, had fast pit stops and good restarts and we came away moving up in championship points. Leading 161 laps I think shows how strong Cunningham cars are and how we’re able to compete for the win every race. It’s not something that’s done very easily, especially on short tracks, so to be the Valvoline Lap Leader right now after Toledo is awesome. Hopefully we’ll keep moving up in points and keep getting ahead in some of these other areas like the lap leader and short track challenge.”
Sargeant also earned the Protect Plus Halfway Leader award this past weekend