AUDIO/RECAP: Custer’s Last Stand; 17-Year Old Charges Late for First-Career ARCA Victory at Pocono

Jacob Seelman ARCA, Audio, Featured, Northeast, Stock Cars 0 Comments

LONG POND, Pa. — Recap by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Audio by Kyle Magda — ARCA photo —

Cole Custer may not have been the fastest car early in Saturday afternoon’s ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards event at Pocono Raceway, but he was the fastest car when it mattered most.

After working the race backwards and pitting at lap 19, Custer swept around early-race dominator Matt Kurzejewski on a lap 33 restart and blitzed the field over the final green flag run to the finish, leading the last 18 laps of the Modspace 125 and winning his first career ARCA race in just his third series start.

The caution that allowed Custer to close and make the pass for the win came at lap 27, after a piece of metal from Hessert’s battered Cunningham Motorsports machine dropped onto the racing surface at the entrance to pit road.

With the win, Custer became the ninth first time winner in the ARCA Racing Series this season, all coming in the most last ten races.

“Our car was fantastic today,” Custer said in victory lane. “We got pretty tight at the end of the run, but it was definitely a lot better than when we were here in June. We worked on it pretty hard and it’s nice to see it pay off. I can’t thank everyone that went into this deal enough — JR Motorsports, [car owner] Wayne Peterson for helping us out — it was just a great race for me and for this team.”

“I was able to bide my time and keep everything clean, and we came out on top in the end.”

The win was also the first career win for team owner Wayne Peterson in the ARCA ranks, with Custer entered under Peterson’s number in a partnership with the team that the 17-year-old drives for in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, JR Motorsports.

While Custer drove away to victory, the biggest story of the day came on the opening lap of the event, after Kurzejewski had just passed polesitter Frank Kimmel for the top spot. Rookie Kyle Weatherman dove to the inside of Kimmel going through turn two and got loose, washing up into Kimmel and sending both cars hard into the outside wall.

“It’s just unfortunate. Going into the tunnel turn, I didn’t have much room and just clipped the apron and it ended up collecting a lot of cars,” Weatherman said. “It was half my fault and half Kimmel’s fault, the way I see it. We both just had nowhere to go, really. It’s unfortunate for all the guys who put in a lot of hard work, but we’ll go on to the next race [in Berlin] and see if we can’t get a win there.”

Behind that duo, championship rivals Grant Enfinger and Tom Hessert — among others — spun in the chaos and were involved in the multi-car melee that has completely shaken up the championship chase.

While Hessert returned to the race in a heavily damaged race car, Enfinger rallied for a runner-up result in his No. 23 Chevrolet — expanding his points lead to 185 points over new second-place points man Austin Wayne Self leaving the ‘Tricky Triangle.’

After leading the first 24 laps of the event and more than half of the total 50 lap distance, Kurzejewski was forced to settle for third at the checkered flag after his car faded late in the going — still scoring his career-best ARCA finish in just his 12th series start.

“Towards the end of the race, there was nothing I could do [to catch Custer and Enfinger],” a disappointed Kurzejewski admitted. “The car was phenomenal. I really wanted four tires on our pit stop, but unfortunately we were dealt the cards that we were dealt and played it the best that we could. The car just got tighter and tighter late in the going and I did everything I could to keep the 23 from getting by me, but ended up burning the right rear off the car.”

“After that, it got loose and I had a handful the rest of the race. I did what I could — we’re not points racing — so it’s hard to be proud of third. We’ve been dying to get our first win, and today proved that we’re that much closer.”

Austin Theriault and Josh Williams rounded out the top five.

The Ford of David Levine was sixth, followed by Austin Wayne Self, Bo LeMastus, Pennsylvania native Bobby Gerhart and 71-year-old Tom Berte, who notched his first-ever top 10 finish in ARCA competition.

Frank Kimmel was only able to get back to 15th — one lap down — after the opening lap crash, while Will Kimmel finished 17th after blowing a tire late in the race while running inside the top five.

Hessert finished 25th in his fenderless race car, and falls to third in points leaving the Pocono Mountains.

The next race for the ARCA Racing Series is the Federated Auto Parts 200 on August 8 at the Berlin Raceway. Championship leader Enfinger is the defending race winner.

 

Audio with race winner Cole Custer:

Audio with runner-up Grant Enfinger:

Audio with third-place Matt Kurzejewski:

 

RESULTS: ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards; Modspace 125; Pocono Raceway; August 1, 2015

  1. Cole Custer
  2. Grant Enfinger
  3. Matt Kurzekewski
  4. Austin Theriault
  5. Josh Williams
  6. David Levine
  7. Austin Wayne Self
  8. Bo LeMastus
  9. Bobby Gerhart
  10. Tom Berte
  11. Nick Igdalsky
  12. Steve Fox
  13. Sarah Cornett-Ching
  14. James Swanson
  15. Frank Kimmel
  16. Jairo Avila
  17. Will Kimmel
  18. J.J. Pack
  19. Ed Pompa
  20. Ray Ciccarelli
  21. David Sear
  22. Brian Kaltreider
  23. Matt Tifft
  24. Don Thompson
  25. Tom Hessert
  26. Dale Matchett
  27. Josh White
  28. Thomas Praytor
  29. Tim Viens
  30. Chris Bailey Jr.
  31. Kyle Weatherman

 

About the Writer

Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network. Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s. He is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for both the United Sprint Car Series and the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.

Email Jacob at: speed77radio@gmail.com

Follow on Twitter: @Speed77Radio or @JacobSeelman77

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