|Date: 7/10/2009 3:33:23 PM|
Kory Rabenold Gets the Call to Return to ARCA Series
By Dino Oberto …. “Keeping Track”
For any race car driver, when opportunity comes knocking you sometimes have to jump at it. 20-year old Kory Rabenold of Slatington can surely attest to that. For the second time in less than six months Rabenold has gotten a phone call to drive for someone special.
Sine April he has been racing a Modified for New York’s Terry Zacharias at Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway where he is presently locked in a torrid championship battle with John Bennett.
However, that all came to an unexpected change this past Monday when he received a call from veteran ARCA Series car owner Andy Belmont to drive for him the remainder of the season starting this weekend at Iowa Speedway.
Rabenold is no stranger when it comes to ARCA as he spent the past two seasons running a limited scheduled with the nation’s second oldest stock car touring group. Unfortunately lack of funds forced him to park his family owned mount and it appeared he would be ride-less in 2009.
Two weeks prior to the start of Mahoning’s season he got a call from Zacharias to race. There was no hesitating from Rabenold who has rewarded the owner with six top five’s in nine starts including a win along with a class leading seven top ten’s.
While things have been going smoothly at Mahoning, Monday Rabenold got the call from Belmont about taking over the ride that his brother Kevin Belmont had been in.
Once again there was no hesitating with the answer. Rabenold said yes.
“Andy (Belmont) called me Monday about driving one of his cars for the remainder of the year and I didn’t have to think twice. There’s really no money going into this deal so it was like are they really looking for talent and that made me feel real good,” said Rabenold.
“I had driven in relief for him in 2007 at Milwaukee for his driver at that time and he told me then that I was a good driver and he would like to work together sometime in the future.”
Belmont, a past ARCA and NASCAR driver, has taken on the role of owner over the past few years. He is originally from Langhorne but has since moved his operation to Mooresville, NC.
Andy Belmont Racing (ABR) is a driver development program. ABR offers opportunities to race in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, NASCAR Camping World East Series & NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
“I was looking for a young kid who would do what I tell him and give him an opportunity. He drove relief for me a few years ago and he did a good job and did what he was told. The kid’s been trying to get a break and the stars just kind of came into alignment. I needed someone and I can provide something for him,’ said Belmont.
“We’re not giving him a car that’s going to win the pole. We’re looking at him running decent enough where he can make laps and be consistent and maybe we’ll get a top-10 out of it.
“He’s from back home and I like being able to do something for someone like that. I wanted somebody who’s as hungry as I am.”
When Rabenold ran with ARCA he was a new team with limited funds and equipment. That will all change for the better now that he is with ABR.
“Andy (Belmont) has been at this for a long time and he’s got great equipment to work with. It’s a much better motor program than what we have. He definitely has a lot better equipment then we did and he gets his motors from Roush Racing,” said Rabenold.
After Iowa it’s onto Kentucky and then Pocono where Rabenold is stoked to be heading back to.
“I’ve said to my dad a couple times how I’d love to get back in the seat at Pocono. It’s a great track it’s so close to home and so neat seeing all the fans that follow us there. The cool thing is I’ll run Pocono and then head down to Mahoning Valley to race the Modified that night.”
Matter-of-fact Rabenold says he’ll run all the off weekends at Mahoning and Zacharias is in full support.
“When we talked about me running at Mahoning the full year we also talked about if something like this ARCA deal would come up and he said to take that opportunity. He told me that if it came along to take it,” said Rabenold.
“After Andy (Belmont) called me I got in touch with Terry and told him I wasn’t sure what will happen as far as the Modified goes. His first words were, ‘You better take it.’ We’re still going to go to Mahoning and run every weekend when ARCA is not.
“I know he’s happy for me but on the other hand I think he’s going to miss running Mahoning because we did have a real shot at the championship but this is a big step for me and I have to take it.”
Another Mahoning racer, Bryon Kern also of Slatington, will serve as Rabenold’s intern Crew Chief.
Mahoning has proved to be a great way in for Rabenold. He owns a Pro4 Late Model championship and since joining the Modified ranks has become one of the best extra distance drivers in the business.
“It’s paid off a lot being able to race there. That track will keep you sharp. It’s a tight little bullring and everything happens so quickly. You need good reflexes there and running with those guys has been a big help to me. I don’t think you’ll find a tougher class of drivers on a weekly basis than what’s at Mahoning Valley. It’s a driver’s track. If you can race there then you can race anywhere,” noted Rabenold.
“I think that any short track in the country that has tight racing and you have to race hard then it pays dividends. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Mahoning but I know that’s how they race there and I feel that will be a benefit,” added Belmont.
ARCA is also a great springboard for many of today’s young talent.
“ARCA is a good steppingstone and a good series to be with. They run on a lot of the NASCAR sanctioned tracks. I believe you learn so much with them in all aspects,” said Rabenold.
For Rabenold this year has seen some great opportunities come calling and next to his race car perhaps his cell phone may be the one piece of equipment he’ll rely on most.
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