DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Bobby Gerhart was closing in on his ninth ARCA Series victory at Daytona International Speedway when his car slowed.
A few minutes later, it stopped.
Gerhart's quest for a fourth consecutive win at Daytona came up five laps short Saturday. He dominated the 80-lap race until a fuel issue forced him off the high-banked track. He finished 29th, his lowest in 18 career ARCA races at Daytona. His previously low was 19th in 2009.
"Tough, tough, tough," said Gerhart, who also won at Daytona in 1999, 2002 and 2005-07. "Wow. That was one that got away, no question."
Gerhart's car had to be pushed to the garage area after the race, won by John Wes Townley.
Gerhart buried his face in his hands before climbing out of the car. He immediately opened the trunk and started jiggling fuel connectors. He then went under the hood for further examination.
He found nothing wrong.
"It was a fuel issue of some sort," Gerhart said. "I'm not sure if had a pump or a pickup problem or we lost a cable. We went to a new system this year where it was a cable-driven deal. It shut off, but I came down pit road and it started running again, just kept right on trucking. A couple laps later, it was out completely. I don't know what to say."