ARCA PRESS RELEASE
(SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – August 23, 2015) –A.J. Fike won his first ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards race Sunday, becoming the 10th driver of the season to pick up their first victory. And, the Galesburg, Ill. native did it in his home state.
“I’m kind of at a loss for words right now,” Fike said in victory lane, surrounded by a throng of supporters.
Fike actually dominated the SuperChevyStores.com 100 at the mile dirt at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. He led 60 of the 104 laps and had a lead of nearly seven seconds with 10 laps to go. He survived a late restart to win over Kyle Weatherman by 0.759-seconds. Fike’s previous career best was second at Berlin Raceway in 2004.
“The car was perfect off the trailer,” Fike said. “I can’t say enough about everyone on the team, my pit crew, my dad. This is a great win for us. It’s very exciting.”
Weatherman was second – his third runner-up of the season – in the No. 22 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge. Springfield native Kelly Kovski was third in the No. 16 Billingsley Towing-Hoosier Tire Midwest Chevrolet. Josh Williams and Tom Hessert rounded out the top five. Williams, in the No. 6 Musselman’s Apple Sauce-SW Florida Cable Construction Chevrolet, moved into second place in the ARCA Racing Series driver point standings while Hessert, in the No. 77 Barbera’s Autoland Dodge, earned his 10th top 10 of the season.
SCOTT Rookie Hunter Baize finished sixth in the Ken Schrader-owned No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet while Highland Park, Ill. driver David Levine finished seventh in the No. 59 MOMO-TraqGear-Ford Performance Ford. A fourth Illinois driver, Ryan Unzicker, finished eighth with James Swanson and Austin Wayne Self rounding out the top 10.
Series point leader Grant Enfinger finished 20th after his car stalled on the track early in the race and he fell several laps down. He led the first eight laps and was one of six different leaders.
After the final caution flew, the race restarted on lap 101 with the green flag. Weatherman was fourth but got a great restart and drove deep into turn one right behind Fike. He held on for the second spot.
“It was a hard fought battle by the whole team,” Weatherman said. “I thought we might be able to get to the No. 27 if the 6 hadn’t gotten into me on that restart, but that’s racing. It was a good day. It was a lot fun for me out there.”
Kovski, who served as crew chief several races for Enfinger earlier this season at GMS Racing, was happy with his third-place finish.
“We are going to keep trying,” Kovski said. “We’ve got a good car and hopefully we learned something for DuQuoin.”
The SuperChevyStores.com 100 will re-air on CBS Sports Network at 2 a.m.
The ARCA Racing Series races next at DuQuoin, another mile-long dirt track. That race will take place Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7.