Josh Williams Breaks Through for First ARCA Winby Kyle Pokrefky April 10, 2016 0 comments
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — After making his 83rd career start in the ARCA Racing Series, Josh Williams can finally call himself an ARCA race winner after taking the checkered flag in Saturday night’s Music City 200 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville.
Possessing plenty of long-run speed, Williams took advantage of a 65-plus lap green-flag run to the finish to seize the lead and rocket away to the checkered flag by over nine seconds.
The driver and owner of the No. 6 Musselman’s Apple Sauce/Southwest Florida Cable Construction Chevrolet
“I had a fantastic Musselman’s Apple Sauce Chevrolet all day,” Williams said. “Ever since we unloaded, we had good confidence that we had a shot to win today. Strategy worked out well and we ended up in victory lane.”
Williams’s success at Nashville was perhaps buoyed by improvements he made to his race program over the course of the offseason.
The 22-year-old from Port Charlotte, Fla. brought in a crew chief, Danny Johnson, during the winter break and also upgraded its cars by purchasing several composite bodies as well. The team also made the acquisition of Ilmor 396 engines late last season.
As Williams says, his program has truly put the ‘total package’ together.
“Really huge,” Williams said of the benefits of the new equipment. “Last year when we ran here, we didn’t have the Ilmor either. We finally put the total package together. This isn’t our last win, for sure.”
Galesburg, Ill’s A.J. Fike turned in a stellar run and finished second to Williams followed by Kimmel Racing’s Brian Finney.
Lucas Oil 200 winner John Wes Townley appeared to be the car to beat from the middle of the race until the final caution. The driver of the No. 05 Varigon Solutions Chevrolet didn’t quite have the strategy work out as he, like many others, finished the race with four unused General Tire tires in their pit boxes.
“We fired off today just on tire conservation mode,” Townley said. “We were just taking it easy, when guys wanted to go I just let them go. After a while they start coming back to you because they burn their tires off, and that was our strategy.
“We were really good on long runs. The Varigon Solutions Chevrolet was really good tonight. Unfortunately though at the end we just didn’t get to use that last set of tires, which may have cost us the race.
“I think if we had a caution with about 40 laps to go we may have been sitting pretty – probably would have won the race. It is what it is, we had a decent run I think.”
Rookie Bret Holmes finished fifth as Brandon Lynn, Sheldon Creed, Christian Eckes, Chase Briscoe and Bo LeMastus completed the top-10 of the finishing order.
Towards the end stages of the races, the 200-lap event almost appeared to be a battle of attrition as several race contenders fell by the wayside.
Kyle Weatherman had a right front tire go down before halfway, sending his No. 58 Lira Motorsports Ford into the Turn 4 wall and subsequently into the garage for major repairs. The defending Calypso Lemonade Short Track Challenge winner was in turn relegated to a 24th-place finish.
Cole Williams, driver of Venturini Motorsports’s No. 55 entry for the race, experienced transmission issues right from the get go and finished 25th. Williams was making his first of two starts for VMS and endured a rough introduction to racing in the ARCA Racing Series at a track he’s been the track champion at in 2014.
Brian Keselowski was one of the faces to watch in the early stages of the race as he successfully navigated his way just outside the top-five from a 17th starting position. The attrition bug caught up to him, however, as the veteran ended up taking his car behind the wall and retiring it with 51 laps completed.
The ARCA Racing Series will take a one-week break before returning to action with the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 at Salem Speedway on Sunday, April 24th.
Finishing Order of the Music City 200
- 6 – Josh Williams
- 27 – A.J. Fike
- 69 – Brian Finney
- 05 – John Wes Townley
- 23 – Bret Holmes
- 36 – Brandon Lynn
- 38 – Sheldon Creed
- 66 – Christian Eckes
- 77 – Chase Briscoe
- 42 – Bo LeMastus
- 80 – Scott Reeves
- 25 – Tom Hessert
- 52 – Matt Kurzejewski
- 93 – Clayton Weatherman
- 98 – Brady Boswell
- 32 – Shane Lee
- 22 – Kevin Thomas Jr.
- 9 – Thomas Praytor
- 48 – Dylan Martin
- 34 – Mike Basham
- 06 – Alx Danielsson
- 10 – Rick Clifton
- 14 – Dustin Knowles
- 58 – Kyle Weatherman
- 55 – Cole Williams
- 64 – Eric Caudell
- 59 – Travis Swaim
- 5 – Brian Keselowski
- 1 – Kyle Plott
- 2 – Brad Smith
- 11 – Ed Pompa
- 0 – Mike Senica
- 63 – Ray Ciccarelli
- 68 – Barry Layne
Photo Credit: ARCAracing.com