NASHVILLE (April 9, 2016) - Josh Williams chalked up his career first ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards victory Saturday night at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, driving away from the pack to win the Music City 200.
Williams, in the No. 6 Musselman's Apple Sauce Chevrolet, gambled on pit strategy, taking four fresh tires under caution on lap 84 when several of the front-runners took only two. Those that opted for the two tire stop were hoping for a late-race caution...a caution that never came. Williams passed rookie Brady Boswell on lap 158 for the lead, and drove away from the field over the final 43 laps.
"The Musselman's Apple Sauce Chevy has always been good in long runs," Williams said. "It was all about strategy...it just worked out in our favor this time."
Williams, who started 13th,attributed the win to his crew chief Danny Johnson, who made the call to take four tires over two.
"I can't thank Danny enough...he made a great call. This is just incredible...it was a great race car when we unloaded, and it just got better as the night went on," added the 22-year-old Port Charlotte, Florida driver.
AJ Fike, on the same strategy, finished second in the No. 27 MatrixCare-RFMS-Office Specialists Ford, nearly 10 seconds away from Williams.
"We didn't qualify like we wanted (14th) but we knew the car had good long run speed," Fike said.
"We took four tires when everyone else took two. I love this place...it's wore out, bumpy...lots of character. It's a driver's track. Great way to start the year."
Brian Finney, with his family-run outfit, finished a career-best third in the Bob Steele Chevrolet from the 20th starting position. Finney took four tires during the final caution and raced back through the field.
"We're so down on power without the Ilmor...we knew we had to do something different," Finney said.
"We had to throw some strategy at it if we wanted to be there. It was great to have it go our way. We destroyed this car at Indianapolis last year...had to replace the firewall, the front clip, everything up front. This is just a little family deal...we do everything in our shop back home. This one feels really good."
John Wes Townley, who led 63 laps, finished fourth in the Varigon Solutions Chevrolet, but left four unused fresh tires on pit road.
"We didn't take four when the others did," Townley said. "If we would have gotten another caution, it would have worked out different, but that's the way it goes. We changed two tires the whole race, and that was the difference. I wish we could have put on a better show for Varigon Solutions, but we still came out with a top-five."
Bret Holmes, in his career-first ARCA Racing Series start, finished fifth in the No. 23 Holmes II Excavating-Veterans Oil Chevy, the last car on the lead lap. Holmes also qualified second, under the track record.
"To be honest we could have had a top-three or more," Holmes said. "We were so much better on new tires. I couldn't ask for a better car. I feel really good about my debut. We were one spot away from the getting the track record. Not too many people can say that."
Brandon Lynn finished a career-best sixth in the Cribs Creek Outfitters-NexGen Fuels Ford. Sheldon Creed and Christian Eckes, both in their career-first ARCA starts, finished seventh and eighth respectively.
Chase Briscoe finished ninth in the Cunningham Motorsports Ford. Briscoe earlier in the day won the Menards Pole presented by Ansell with a new one-lap track record.
Bo LeMastus finished 10th.
Boswell was a factor for much of the race in the Mason Mitchell Motorsports Chevy, leading 44 laps before coming to a stop on pit road just shy of the finish. Boswell got back out but not before losing three laps. Rookie Kevin Thomas, Jr. led 32 laps but faded toward the end.
Just four cautions for 36 laps slowed the pace.
The next event for the ARCA Racing Series is the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 at Salem Speedway April 23-24.
Story by: Don Radebaugh / ARCA PR
Photo Credit: ARCA PR