Schrader Still The DuQuoin Dirt Master

Ken Schrader (52) will return to the ARCA Racing Series for several events in 2014. (Ken Simon Photo)
Ken Schrader (52) holds off Tom Hessert en route to winning Monday's ARCA Racing Series Southern Illinois 100 at the DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds. (Ken Simon Photo)
Ken Schrader (52) holds off Tom Hessert en route to winning Monday’s ARCA Racing Series Southern Illinois 100 at the DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds. (Ken Simon Photo)

DUQUOIN, Ill. – Ken Schrader won the Southern Illinois 100 presented by Federated Car Care Monday, surviving a green-white-checkered finish to win for the second time this season in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.

Schrader, in the No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet, won the pole, led the first 41 laps and led when it counted, the finish. He passed Tom Hessert in the No. 77 Barbera’s Autoland Dodge, just before a caution came out to set up the green-white-checkered finish. As cars fought for position, Hessert made his move but couldn’t get any closer to Schrader.

“That was just too much fun,” Schrader said in victory lane. It was his 17th career ARCA victory.

Hessert took the lead during a wild middle part of the race that saw several lead changes and door-to-door racing. At one point, Frank Kimmel took the lead on a three-wide pass in front of the main DuQuoin grandstand. A few laps later, he found himself in fifth position and Hessert grabbed the top spot.

Meanwhile, Schrader knifed his way through traffic and got to second, behind Hessert.

“We pitted late, like around lap 40, and we came back out eighth, then we got to sixth. A couple things happened and we got to second,” Schrader said. “I thought we might be done if Tom didn’t have problems. He got just a little bit high with a half dozen laps to go and that opened the doors for us.”

Schrader took the lead coming out of turn two.

“That was it,” he said. “That made all of the difference. He got up high an extra foot there. If not, I never would have got around him.”

Hessert said he just a real small mistake, but it was enough for Schrader to win the race, which officially took 102 laps.

“He is so good at this place,” Hessert said. “He runs so well here. We do, too. Man, we were so close.”

Venturini Motorsports driver Brennan Poole and Chris Windom, in the Roulo Brothers Racing No. 17 Ford, rounded out the top five. Mason Mitchell was sixth in the Empire Racing-Happy Cheeks Ford with Kimmel seventh, Kelly Kovski eighth, A.J. Fike ninth and Taylor Ferns 10th.

Boston, Poole and Ferns gave Venturini Motorsports three top 10 finishes.

SCOTT Rookie Challenge winner Boston finished in the top 10 for the seventh straight week. He seemed to be in the top five the whole race.

“I was really just trying to be cautious as possible while being aggressive,” Boston said. “I just tried to be consistent and not make any mistakes and let everyone else make mistakes. We had really good track position today and it paid off for us.”

Fourteen cars finished on the lead lap, including Jason Basham in 14th place in the Darrell Basham Racing Chevrolet. Josh Williams, in the No. 99 Allegiant Travel-Roulo Brothers Racing Ford finished 13th after having to change engines and Ryan Unzicker finished 11th place, including a highlight-reel save on the front stretch when he avoided crashing into a spinning Kimmel.

Mason Mingus, the SCOTT Rookie Challenge leader and second in overall ARCA points, finished 12th in the 811 Call Before You Dig Toyota.