MILLVILLE, N.J. – Kyle Weatherman spent time in the dirt, spun in the grass and stalled his car trying to get off pit road. He also won the ARCA 150 presented by Unique Pretzels at New Jersey Motorsports Park Sunday, leading the final five laps for his career-first ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards win.
“We’ve been fast everywhere we’ve been this year, we just haven’t had the good luck on our side,” said Weatherman, who was also making his career-first road course start. “Finally, to have good luck on our side and to get the victory here is just amazing.”
Weatherman gained the lead from Menards Pole winner Cole Custer on lap 62, then survived a late race re-start in which he put his No. 22 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge into the grass between turns two and three on the 12-turn, 2.25-mile Thunderbolt Raceway course. He somehow managed to keep the lead, however, staying in front of Cunningham Motorsports teammate Tom Hessert and Josh Williams.
“We were fighting hard,” Weatherman said. “I gave it everything I had for the last three or four laps. I knew Tom (Hessert) and those guys were coming so I had to go. I went a little too hard and ended up a little off the track. That could have been disastrous, but we got lucky. It is really cool to come home with this victory here.”
Hessert finished in second in the No. 77 Barbera’s Autoland Dodge and Williams third in the No. 6 Southwest Florida Cable Construction Chevrolet. ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards point leader Grant Enfinger was fourth and Custer fifth. Eleven cars finished on the lead lap, including Venturini Motorsports teammates Cody Coughlin (sixth) and Brandon Jones (10th). Austin Wayne Self led 16 laps and finished seventh in the No. 98 AM Technical Solutions Ford while New Jersey driver Steve Minghenelli was eighth in the Dylan RV Center Ford and Sarah Cornett-Ching ninth in the No. 2 Race101.net Chevrolet. ARCA veteran driver Bob Schacht, in his first ARCA race since 2011, was the last car on the lead lap in 11th place.
Hessert, from nearby Cherry Hill, N.J., had an eventful weekend. He had to start at the back of the field for changing a clutch after qualifying Saturday.
“It was a tough, hard-fought day,” Hessert said. “Chad (Bryant) and the guys on the 77 team did a nice job. We hung in there. We had a couple late re-starts, got into turn one hard and got a trophy. I’ll take it.”
Williams entered the race second in the point standings and held a top five spot most of the day. With about 15 laps to go, he was second behind Self.
“We were in a good position all day,” Williams said. “We had a really good car all day. It was not quite the car we needed to win the race, but I think we had a solid top five car and we ended up getting a top three.”
Enfinger maintained his point lead with his fourth-place finish. He also led five laps.
“It was definitely overall a good day for us,” Enfinger said. “I’m not by any means a road course expert but GMS has a good road course program. Speed-wise, we had one of the three fastest cars. It got a little crazy on a re-start and we got shuffled back, but overall it was a good day.”
Matt Tifft led the most laps on the day – 19, while Self led 16, Custer 15 and Weatherman 12. Tifft finished five laps down after his car stalled after a green flag pit stop.
Custer said he felt he had the best car.
“It was a fun race,” Custer said. “Nothing really went our way. I finished in the top five. We had the best car here, but nothing went our way.”
Weatherman, meanwhile, gave Cunningham its second win of the season in the No. 22. He thanked crew Chief Paul Andrews and team owners Briggs Cunningham and Kerry Scherer before accepting a prize package from event sponsor Unique Pretzels.
“It’s awesome to be here,” Weatherman said. “We went off on the first lap. That was eventful. Then, we kept stalling on pit road. That didn’t help out. We finally got that figured out on the last pit stop. I can’t thank the guys enough – Briggs Cunningham and Kerry Scherer. Without those guys and my dad, we wouldn’t be here.”
The race took just under two hours and three minutes to complete.
The ARCA Racing Series next goes to Pocono Raceway for a race on the “Tricky Triangle” on Saturday, June 6.
-ARCA Racing Series Press Release. Photo Credit: ARCA Racing Series