MOORESVILLE, North Carolina (October 9, 2015) – – As competitive as Matt Kurzejewski has been in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards this season, you’ll have to forgive if he was a bit miffed following the Sept. 26 Crosley Brands 150 at Kentucky Speedway.
Despite running a limited ARCA Racing Series schedule this season, the driver of the No. 54 Costy’s Energy Services Chevrolet hasn’t lacked the speed that propelled him into the spotlight and contending for race wins.
That was until he arrived at Kentucky Speedway.
Kurzejewski’s week already started on the wrong note when the tractor carrying his car and equipment caught fire en-route to the 1.5-mile speedway. The incident forced Kurzejewski and his Brian Keselowski led team to miss a crucial open test at the track ahead of the penultimate race of the year.
Nearly 16 hours later, Kurzejewski’s hauler showed up in Sparta, but with the open practice session having just ended, crucial track time was lost and irreplaceable.
All things considered, Kurzejewski made best of his Kentucky Speedway debut. Qualifying 14th, he patiently worked his way through the field to finish ninth and score seventh top-10 finish of the season.
But even during debriefing, Kurzejewski still seemed puzzled of the team’s run.
The answer to the team’s perplexing situation came into light a few days later during the open-test session at Kansas Speedway.
“The Kansas Speedway test started off just like the past week and a half had gone,” said Kurzejewski. “Misfortune led to mechanical issues and ultimate failure with our primary engine. We had stumbled upon some issues that led to our poor performance at Kentucky, which is in a way now a blessing. Had we tested at Kentucky, we would have been able to detect our situation sooner.”
As testing continued at Kansas Speedway, the intensity level simmered as the speed the team had been accustomed to returned once swapping engines.
The bad news?
The lack of track time for the No. 54 Costy’s Energy Services Chevrolet ahead of next Friday’s Full Throttle S’loonshine 98.9.
After changing engines at Kansas, we had finally found our speed that seemed to have disappeared which finally felt like a step in the right direction, that was positive,” sounded Kurzejewski.
“Unfortunately, the engine swap and mechanical issues consumed a majority of our day leaving us little time to complete testing in Kansas on Wednesday afternoon. We are still a bit behind the eight ball compared to where we would like to be but after all it is a step in the right direction and hopefully things have turned around.”
Things couldn’t have possibly turned around at a better time for Kurzejewski and his family-owned team.
Currently, the 24-year-old leads the ARCA’s Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge championship, which awards the car owner whose driver earns the most points over the superspeedway portion of the schedule (Daytona, Talladega, Pocono (2), Michigan, Chicagoland, Kentucky and Kansas) over Maury Gallagher and Grant Enfinger by 35 points for the superspeedway title.
Another top-10 finish would likely assure Kurzejewski the title.
“I am very excited to head back to Kansas and race,” Kurzejewski said. “The track definitely seems to be a fun and fast track to drive. Our car for this event will be based around a pink paint scheme for Breast Cancer awareness. We’re going to win. In more ways than one.”
Kurzejewski, 24 has 13 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards starts to his credit. During his four-year engagement in the series, he has posted three top-fives and ninth top-10 finishes, including a career-best third at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in August. He has completed 1,197 laps on the tour and led 117 of them.
Follow Matt Kurzejewski on Twitter @kurzejewski.
The Full Throttle S’loonshine 98.9 (99 Laps / 149 Miles) is the 20th of 20 races on the 2015 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins for the one-day show on Friday, October 16 from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Menards pole qualifying presented by Ansell is set for later in the day at 2:30 p.m. The event will take the green flag later that night around 7:30 p.m. The season finale will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 with including live timing and scoring available online at ARCARacing.com. All times are local (Central).