After Daytona Podium, Kyle Weatherman Sets Sights on Nashvilleby Kyle Pokrefky March 2, 2016 0 comments
Following a third-place finish in the Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona International Speedway, Lira Motorsports’s Kyle Weatherman enters Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville with momentum on his side.
The defending Calypso Lemonade Short Track Challenge champion, Weatherman, 18, heads into a stretch of the schedule that should prove to be favorable for him. Exiting Daytona, the series now heads to two straight short tracks – Nashville and Salem Speedway.
Entering April 9th’s race at the Fairgrounds as the defending short track champ, Weatherman’s feeling a bit more confident in himself heading to a track he finished fifth at last year.
“It gives a little bit [more],” Weatherman stated of the confidence gained. “Obviously with the new team and all of that and working with a new crew chief, we have a lot to learn. We have a test coming up here shortly so hopefully we can get everything out of the way there and be ready for the race.
“I’m really excited for it and excited for working with Sam [Schram, crew chief] and the whole Lira organization. It’s a really cool organization and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Weatherman started on the pole for last year’s Nashville ARCA 200 and spent 71 laps in the lead before slipping back through the field.
Entering this year’s running of the event, Weatherman has a strong idea as to what he needs to focus on to stay up front this go around.
“The track changes a lot during the race,” Weatherman noted. “You start off sometime in the daylight and you end in the dark. Through that transition, the track changes a lot and you’ve definitely got to stay on top of that.
“I think that’s kind of where we fell off there at the end of the race last year, we got a little tight. We just need to stay on top of our changes and see where the track is heading. We need to stay one step ahead of everybody else for sure.”
Despite being the highest-finishing full-time driver at Daytona, Weatherman didn’t leave the superspeedway as the de facto points leader.
A 50-point penalty announced this past week set the No. 58 team back in the standings and places the Roush Fenway Racing development driver 12th in the ARCA standings – 75 behind leader John Wes Townley, 45 behind the highest full-time driver Chase Briscoe.
Given his stout performances on the short tracks last year – a type of track that makes up roughly half of the 2016 schedule – it shouldn’t take long for Weatherman to cancel out that deficit.
In terms of who he expects to be his toughest competition throughout the season for the driver’s title, Weatherman points to some familiar faces in the ARCA garage.
“Obviously, all of the Cunningham [Motorsports, his former team that now fields cars for Briscoe and Kevin Thomas Jr.] cars are going to be good in my opinion,” Weatherman said. “I think Matt Kurzejewski is going to be really good. Supposedly Frank Kimmel will be running the full season – he’ll be good obviously. There’s also Tom Hessert as well.
“There’s a handful of drivers that are going to be really good this year, we just have to be one step ahead of the game, that’s for sure.”
Photo Credit: ARCAracing.com