TOLEDO, Ohio – official series release — ARCA photo —
At the onset of the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season, few would have placed SCOTT rookie Matt Kurzejewski in the running for the 2015 Hoosier Superspeedway Challenge championship.
After all, he’s a rookie, specifically on the superspeedways where he had very little experience prior to this year. There’s one more hitch…Kurzejewski had no plans to run more than a few races in ’15; that was until he saw his name atop of the Hoosier Superspeedway Challenge championship standings halfway through the season. With just two superspeedway events left on the ARCA calendar this year, Kurzejewski comes to Kentucky Speedway as the superspeedway point leader.
“I haven’t particularly focused on the Hoosier superspeedway points this season with the limited schedule we’ve been running, and had no intention of competing for the points or even competing in all of the events,” Kurzejewski said. “My focus has primarily been on solid performances. Actually, I didn’t even know ARCA had a separate superspeedway championship before I saw my name at the top of the list. About that time, we started getting serious with plans to race at all the superspeedways, which has been very challenging. We’re an extremely low budget team without the resources to do this, yet we’re making it happen with what we have.
“That said, it’s an awesome feeling to go into Kentucky leading the Hoosier Superspeedway points, especially with our performance throughout this season on the speedways. I want this championship more than anything now.”
Kurzejewski drives for Brian Keselowski, who crew-chiefs his No. 54 Chevrolet. Keselowski is the son of 1989 ARCA Racing Series national champion Bob Keselowski and older brother of 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski.
“We didn’t know what to expect with Matt…we never ran any intermediates (tracks) with him; but he’s really surprised me,” Brian Keselowski said. “He’s done a really good job. We want to look like we belong here. When we show up now, I definitely feel like the rest of these guys know that they have to beat us.”
Kurzejewski started the season on a solid note, finishing seventh at Daytona. The Mansfield, Pennsylvania racer followed up with a sixth place showing at Talladega, then back-to-back fifth place finishes at Pocono and Michigan. It got even better in the second race at Pocono where he steered the 54 car home to a career-best third place finish, closer yet to the coveted Victory Lane.
“We’ve had a very good season,” Kurzejewski continued. “That win keeps slipping away. We’re a little closer each time. I’m disappointed in myself mainly because I want that first win. It’s tough to get. We’ve shown this season we’re close. We’ve performed very well. I’m very tough on myself and I’m my own worst critic. A win would mean a lot.”
The Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge is a separate title that combines points from all of the superspeedway races on the ARCA schedule. Superspeedway winners so far this year include Grant Enfinger (Daytona), Blake Jones (Talladega), Trevor Bayne (Pocono), Ross Kenseth (Michigan), Ryan Reed (Chicagoland) and Cole Custer (Pocono). The remaining superspeedway races include just Kentucky Speedway (Sept. 25) and Kansas Speedway (Oct. 16).
Former Hoosier Superspeedway Challenge champions include Davey Allison, Bill Venturini, Bob Keselowski, Bob Strait, Jeff Purvis, Tim Steele, Bobby Gerhart and Chris Buescher, to name a few. Ten-time ARCA Racing Series champion Frank Kimmel won the award for the sixth time in 2013. Allison was the first recipient of the award, in 1984. Mason Mitchell won the Hoosier Superspeedway Challenge in 2014, on his way to the overall series championship.
“To be honest, it gives me chills to even have my name mentioned in the same sentence as Davey Allison, Kimmel, Keselowski and the other famous names included within the list of winners,” Kurzejewski added. “It almost makes me look back and think, is this real?”
CREDIT: ARCA Racing Series