KANSAS CITY, Kan. — It would have been a Cunningham Motorsports clean sweep at the top of the leader board Wednesday at Kansas Speedway, if not for Matt Kurzejewski, who stepped it up a notch in the final moments of ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards open testing.
Kurzejewski, the leading Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge championship contender, stepped in between Cunningham Motorsports teammates Kyle Weatherman and newcomer Sheldon Creed to secure the second fastest speed overall in preparation for the series season finale at Kansas – the Full Throttle S’loonshine 98.9 coming Friday, October 16.
Despite Kurzejewski’s final push up the leader board, Weatherman also put out some late afternoon dazzle in the No. 22 Crosley Brands Dodge, turning the fastest lap of the day with a time of 30.874 seconds, an average speed of 174.904 mph.
“That was actually a race run too,” Weatherman said. “We never mocked up. The car’s really fast. We should be in good shape when we come back.”
It was Weatherman’s first time turning laps on the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway.
“Main thing is that I got comfortable, or more comfortable throughout the day I should say…track is phenomenal…really, really smooth with tons of grip. I don’t want to get too over the top, but I think there’s more speed in it. We got most of the speed out of it today, but I think there might be a few 10ths we left out there.”
Weatherman, 18, recently sewed up the Calypso Lemonades Short Track Challenge championship and moved into the lead in the SCOTT Rookie of the Year standings following last Saturday’s race at Kentucky. His car owner Kerry Scherer is still in it for the owner championship with just one race remaining.
“I’ve got high expectations when we come back. Honestly, a top-five would be great, run all the laps and learn. Sure like to give Kerry Scherer that car owner championship…that’s really important to me. I just want to thank Kerry and Briggs Cunningham for all their support this year…it’s been an amazing ride. I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done for me.”
Kurzejewski, in the No. 54 Costy’s Energy Services Chevrolet, stopped the clock at 31.337 seconds, an average speed of 172.320 mph.
Sheldon Creed, celebrating his 18th birthday at the track, turned the third fastest speed overall at 171.685 mph. The test was Creed’s first laps on a superspeedway in a stock car. Creed competes regularly in the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series.
Tom Hessert, also testing for Cunningham Motorsports, was fourth fastest overall at 169.231 mph in the No. 77 Barbera’s Autoland Dodge.
Bo LeMastus was fifth fastest overall in his own No. 42 Crosley Brands Dodge at 168.982 mph.
“We’re about there…you always want more, but we learned a lot today,” said LeMastus. “We have a really good car. Now we want to get it back home on the pull-down. We can run a 32-flat all day, but we need more. We’ll take what we learned, massage a little more on the car and see where we’re at.”
LeMastus, in his first full season, recently moved into sixth in championship standings after two consecutive top-10 finishes at Salem and Kentucky.
“Anytime I can test ahead of time, it’s night and day for me. If I can get comfortable before the day of the show and feel more at ease, my confidence level really goes up…and that’s key for me. The cars are getting better…I’m getting better…you’ll build that momentum…it’s a snowball for me.”
LeMastus, the CEO of Crosley Brands, will fly out Wednesday night following the test to be back in the office in Louisville Thursday morning.
“I’ll be back at my desk by 8:00 (a.m.) Thursday. I’ll work till one…then we fly out to Nashville.”
LeMastus is competing in the All-American 400 this weekend.
“I’ll set up my desk at Nashville…sit in the hauler between practices and get some work done. I don’t like to get too involved with work while I’m at the track. I like to keep my head in at the track as much as possible, but we have our day job too…but there’s always time.”
Russ Dugger, in a Mario Gosselin-prepared Chevrolet, was sixth fastest at 168.424 mph.
Josh Reeves, in a second Team Crosley Dodge, was seventh on the charts at 165.675 mph.
Practice for the Full Throttle S’loonshine 98.9 is from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell following at 2:30 p.m. Friday, October 16. The Full Throttle S’loonshine 98.9 is scheduled to start at 7:30 Friday night, with live coverage on FOX Sports 1. ARCAracing.com will also feature live timing and scoring of all on-track activities.
ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards
Kansas Speedway Open Test (9-30-15)
NO NAME CAR TIME SPEED
1 22 Kyle Weatherman Dodge 30.874 174.904
2 54 Matt Kurzejewski Chevrolet 31.337 172.320
3 22 Sheldon Creed Dodge 31.453 171.685
4 77 Tom Hessert Dodge 31.909 169.231
5 42 Bo LeMastus Dodge 31.956 168.982
6 80 Russ Dugger Chevrolet 32.062 168.424
7 42 Josh Reeves Toyota 32.594 165.675
-ARCA Racing Series Press Release & Photo