MADISON, Wis. — Josh Williams said after his first-career ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards victory at Nashville back in April that he was going to win more races, and he was right.
Williams, in his family-owned No. 6 Southwest Florida Cable Construction Chevrolet, held off a hard-charging Kyle Weatherman to win the Montgomery Ward Father’s Day 200 Sunday afternoon at Madison Int’l Speedway.
After eight different winners in as many races, Williams became the first repeat winner of the season in the series.
“This was a complete group effort today,” Williams said. “We weren’t even supposed to be here. We’re down on funds, and we came off the chassis dyno 45 horsepower down…not sure why. Other than that, the car was really on it today. It was so hot that being down on horsepower probably didn’t hurt as much. I just want to wish my father a happy Father’s Day watching back home in Florida.”
On advice Williams remembered from his father Kevin, he out-dueled Weatherman on a restart just past the halfway point and continually fought the field off from there.
“I swear I could hear my dad in my headset. He always preached to me the way to win races was to get ’em on a restart. He preached that to me from day one and today, that’s exactly what we did.”
Weatherman, in the No. 98 Mason Mitchell Motorsports Chevrolet, was catching the eventual winner in the end but fell short by three lengths at the checkered flag — finishing second in his first start with the MMM team after running for Lira Motorsports in the first eight events of 2016.
“It took two or three laps to get the right temperatures in our tires, but after that, the car really came to us,” Weatherman said.
Weatherman got to Williams’ rear bumper inside of 30 laps to go, but got tangled up with a lapped car in turn four on lap 179.
“Lapped cars killed us today, but that’s the way it goes. It was a really fun race. I can’t thank Mason Mitchell Motorsports enough … and hopefully, we can take (the car and the momentum we’ve found) to Winchester.”
ARCA points leader and polesitter Chase Briscoe led the first four laps before the first caution flag waved for Ed Pompa’s car, which stopped on the track. Weatherman then out-maneuvered Briscoe on the restart to take on the lead and stretched his lead to a half-straightaway before he and all the leaders came down pit road for four-tire stops on lap 108.
Weatherman won the race off pit road for the restart, but Williams — with his dad’s chorus echoing in his head — raced his way around Weatherman on the restart to take over the lead on the 114th circuit before running out ahead of the pack.
Weatherman’s spin brought the final caution out, sending all the lead lap machines to pit road for right-side tires as they all hoped to get the jump off pit road, but no one could stop Williams on his way to victory.
Nicole Behar turned herself into a crowd favorite in her career-first ARCA start. The West Coast native got ruffled up early but battled back to finish third in the No. 55 TRD Toyota for Venturini Motorsports.
“I can’t thank Venturini Motorsports and Toyota enough for this opportunity,” Behar said. “This was my first time in an ARCA car … and I really enjoyed it. I need a little more discipline but that will come with being in an ARCA car more.”
“This was awesome. ARCA is the next big step for me … learning how to race on these radial tires.”
Local Wisconsin favorite Majeski, who had been running second during the back half of the race, gambled on a pit road strategy that all but eliminated his chance to win. He finished fourth in the end.
“We were trying to free the car up on that last stop,” Majeski said. “We chose to give up two spots to take a big swing at the car and we ended up over-adjusting on the car. In hindsight, we shouldn’t have done that, but that’s okay. I learned a lot today. I think we had the fastest car. The Roulo Brothers gave me a great car. I really appreciate the opportunity and hope I get another one.”
Tom Hessert got two free passes to round out the top five, on the lead lap. Briscoe finished sixth, the last car on the lead lap, ahead of Matt Kurzejewski, A.J. Fike, Thomas Praytor and Will Kimmel.
Pompa battled back to finish a career-best 11th, just ahead of Rick Tackman’s career-best 12th.
The ARCA Racing Series returns to action on June 26 at Winchester Speedway, with the running of the Herr’s Potato Chips 200.
RESULTS: ARCA Racing Series; Montgomery Ward Father’s Day 200; Madison Int’l Speedway; June 19, 2016
- Josh Williams
- Kyle Weatherman
- Nicole Behar
- Ty Majeski
- Tom Hessert
- Chase Briscoe
- Matt Kurzejewski
- A.J. Fike
- Thomas Praytor
- Will Kimmel
- Ed Pompa
- Rick Tackman
- Dustin Knowles
- Christian Eckes
- Brad Smith
- Mike Basham
- Josh Reeves
- Richard Hauck
- Mike Senica
- Con Nicolopoulos
- Nick Higdon
- Chase Storch
- Wayne Peterson
CREDIT: ARCA Racing Series