Kyle Weatherman Records ‘Huge’ Top-Five at Salemby Kyle Pokrefky April 26, 2016 0 comments
SALEM, Ind. — Coming into the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 at Salem Speedway, Kyle Weatherman needed to score a big result in order to claw his way back into the title hunt in the ARCA Racing Series.
While the season is still young, Weatherman’s fortunes in the first two races of the season at Daytona International Speedway and Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville were soured late in each respective race, placing him into a hole in the points standings.
While he finished second at Daytona, he was hit with a 50-point penalty for a post-race technical infraction. In Nashville, Weatherman was running solidly in the top-10 before a right front let go and sent his No. 58 Ford into the wall before the halfway point in the race.
The 18-year-old full-time driver for Lira Motorsports entered Salem seeking a rebound performance and a rebound performance is exactly what he earned having come home with a fourth-place finish.
To come roaring back with a top-five finish after his troubles in the first two races of the season is nothing but a huge accomplishment, says the defending Calypso Lemonade Short Track Challenge.
“This is huge,” Weatherman stated. “The two cars I think we’re going to be competing against all year are Chase [Briscoe] and John Wes. Luckily, we finished ahead of them and gained a little points. We’ve just got to keep this momentum rolling.
“Definitely not a great weekend. We struggled on our race car all weekend. We kind of struggled on our race car all weekend. Luckily, we came out of here with a fourth and we’ll go on to Talladega.”
Weatherman benefitted from quite the unusual pit strategy on Sunday. With Salem’s track surface being as abrasive as it is, tire management proved to be key on Sunday and the ideal strategy was to pit for two tires on one’s first pit stop – leaving a fresh set of four tires for the final run to the finish.
During their first pit stop of the race, Weatherman’s crew chief elected to pit the car for four tires, leaving only two tires left to change for the remainder of the race. A gutsy call, yet track position managed to fall their way and Weatherman successfully navigated his way towards the front of the field.
With his fourth-place run, Weatherman now sits in a strong position not only for Friday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway, but May 22nd’s race at ARCA’s home track, Toledo Speedway, as well.
“That was a little different,” Weatherman said. “We took four tires first and after that we kind of had to just stay out and kind of battled for what we had. It was definitely a long race.
“All in all, it was a clean race for us, we have four fenders on it still. We have a good race car for Toledo now, so we’ll see.”
Photo Credit: ARCAracing.com