Long Pond, PA – Cole Custer became the youngest winner on a superspeedway in ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards history Saturday, winning the ModSpace 125 at Pocono Raceway.
Custer, 17 years and 190 days old, surpassed 2013 Pocono Raceway winner Chase Elliott as the youngest superspeedway winner by two days in taking his first ARCA victory. He is the ninth driver to win for the first time this year on the ARCA Racing Series circuit.
“It’s pretty huge,” Custer said. “It’s definitely a really prestigious track to win at. It’s a place I really wanted to win at. They have a really cool trophy and a really cool victory lane. It’s a cool place to win at. It’s the tricky triangle.”
Custer led the final 18 laps in taking the checkered flag at the 2.5-mile triangle. He took the lead from Matt Kurzejewski, another driver who was in search of his first career ARCA win. Kurzejewski, in the No. 54 Costy’s Energy Services Chevrolet, did finish a career-high third.
Grant Enfinger, in the No. 23 Allegiant Travel Chevrolet, was second in what ended up being a big point day. Enfinger leaves Pocono, unofficially, with a 180-point lead over Tom Hessert and Austin Wayne Self, both tied for second. It’s his biggest point lead of the year with six races remaining.
Menards Pole winner Frank Kimmel, Cunningham Motorsports drivers Kyle Weatherman and Tom Hessert, Matt Tifft and Enfinger were all involved in a crash in the Tunnel Turn on lap one. Kimmel fought back to finish a lap down in 15th, Hessert was able to come back and complete 24 laps but finished 25th and Tifft finished two spots in front of him.
Enfinger was hit from behind, but suffered only slight damage and was able to get back on the track and earn his second-place finish. He said he felt on Friday he thought he had a car that could win.
“We got hit from the back,” Enfinger said. “I saw it all happened so I got out of the gas and we got hit. It was one of those racing deals. I was very, very lucky to make it out of there. Maybe our luck is changing around. It seemed liked the first part of the year anything bad that was going to happen we were going to be involved. Overall, we did get everything back in order.”
Kurzejewski was far from satisfied with his career-best third. He led the most laps for the second time this season.
“Third is awesome,” he said, “but it’s hard to be proud of third when you’re not points racing. We’ve had a very good season. That win keeps slipping away. We’re a little closer each time.
“I’m disappointed in myself mainly because I want that first win,” he said. “It’s tough to get. We’ve shown this season we’re close. We’ve performed very well. I’m very tough on myself. I’m my own worst critic. A win would mean a lot to us.”
Kurzejewski led 28 laps total, Custer 18 and Will Kimmel four. Kimmel had a late race incident that relegated him to a 17th place finish.
Austin Theriault finished fourth in the Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine Lobster Toyota with Josh Williams trailing in fifth in the Musselman’s-SW Florida Cable Construction Chevrolet.
David Levine tied a career-high by finishing sixth in the No. 59 Ford Performance-MOMO-TraqGear Ford. Austin Wayne Self was seventh in the No. 98 AM Technical Solutions-Pirate Energy Ford. Bo LeMastus finished a career-best eighth in the Crosley Brands-T&T Construction-Glad Precision Toyota. Pennsylvania veteran driver Bobby Gerhart was ninth in the Lucas Oil-MAVTV Chevrolet, good for his second top 10 of the season and Tom Berte had his first-ever top 10 finish in the No. 20 CGS Premier Toyota.
Custer already is the youngest winner in the history of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, having won at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September, 2014. His win Saturday at Pocono Raceway made him the youngest winner at Pocono Raceway and the youngest ARCA superspeedway winner.
Making his third ARCA start, Custer avoided the early crash after starting fifth and pitted under the green flag.
“I was already low on the track so I was able to avoid it. After that, I was just trying to bide my time and not push anything with the No. 54 (Matt Kurzejewski) and wreck both of us. We had a great pit stop and had the restart and got the lead.
“The car was really good. I can’t thank everyone at JR Motorsports and Haas Automation and everybody who has helped us put this together.”
Custer’s crew chief was Rich Lushes, a former ARCA crew member.
“It’s definitely a really tricky track,” Custer said of Pocono Raceway. “We always have great cars that we bring to the racetrack. The car was a huge deal. Rich Lushes brought a great car here. I can’t thank him enough.”
The ModSpace 125 will re-air at 5 p.m. ET Sunday on Fox Sports 1.
The ARCA Racing Series heads next to the short track of Berlin Raceway, the eighth of 11 Calypso Lemonades Short Track Challenge races of the season. The race is at 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8.
ARCA contact: Doug Donnelly, [email protected]
ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards
Pocono Raceway, ModSpace 125 Results (8-1-15)
|1||5||00||Cole Custer/Ladera Ranch CA||50||Running|
|2||2||23||Grant Enfinger/Fairhope AL||50||Running|
|3||4||54||Matt Kurzejewski/Mansfield PA||50||Running|
|4||6||55||Austin Theriault/Fort Kent ME||50||Running|
|5||8||6||Josh Williams/Port Charlotte FL||50||Running|
|6||14||59||David Levine/Highland Park IL||50||Running|
|7||9||98||Austin Wayne Self/Austin TX||50||Running|
|8||17||42||Bo LeMastus/Louisville KY||50||Running|
|9||12||5||Bobby Gerhart/Lebanon PA||50||Running|
|10||13||20||Tom Berte/New Berlin WI||50||Running|
|11||16||86||Nick Idgalsky/Stroudsburg PA||50||Running|
|12||15||3||Steve Fox/Hazleton PA||49||Running|
|13||11||2||Sarah Cornett-Ching/Summerland BC||49||Running|
|14||20||48||James Swanson/Clarksboro NJ||49||Running|
|15||1||25||Frank Kimmel/Clarksville IN||49||Running|
|16||25||58||Jairo Avila/Alhambra CA||49||Running|
|17||26||69||Will Kimmel/Sellersburg IN||48||Running|
|18||19||7||J.J. Pack/Bealeton VA||48||Running|
|19||18||10||Ed Pompa/Ballston Spa NY||48||Running|
|20||27||97||Ray Ciccarelli/Reisterstown MD||46||Running|
|21||21||19||David Sear/La Jolla CA||46||Running|
|22||30||07||Brian Kaltreider/Hanover PA||46||Running|
|23||10||52||Matt Tifft/Hinckley OH||33||Running|
|24||22||0||Don Thompson/Carlisle PA||30||Handling|
|25||7||77||Tom Hessert/Cherry Hill NJ||24||Running|
|26||24||08||Dale Matchett/Cherry Hill NJ||19||Overhtng|
|27||23||8||Josh White/Charleston WV||15||Brakes|
|28||31||12||Thomas Praytor/Mobile AL||11||Transmssn|
|29||29||06||Tim Viens/Daytona Beach FL||10||Engine|
|30||28||68||Chris Bailey/South Park PA||8||Electrical|
|31||3||22||Kyle Weatherman/Wentzville MO||0||Accident|
|9||Mike Abram/St. Louis MO||DNS|
|40||Justin Lloyd/Barrington IL||DNS|
Story By: ARCA PR
Photo Credit: ARCA Photo