Tom Hessert

Photo courtesy AM Racing

Updated: Scary wreck ends ARCA race five laps early; Theriault wins

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UPDATE 11:40 p.m. ET

Justin Fontaine, who was involved in a late multi-car crash during Saturday’s ARCA race at Daytona International Speedway, suffered a mild compression fracture of his L1 vertebrae, his team announced late Saturday night. Fontaine would be kept overnight at a local Daytona Beach, Fla. hospital for observation.

“Justin is awake and alert following a hard crash at Daytona International Speedway,” said Win-Tron Racing owner Kevin Cywinski said in a media release. “Justin is in good spirits and we hope to be able to provide a further update on his recovery time when it’s appropriate.”

Fontaine added, “I just want to let everyone know that I’m okay and I’m thankful for the outreach of support. I also want to thank Win-Tron Racing for building me a safe race car. … It looks like I’ll be out of the car for a while.”

ORIGINAL STORY FOLLOWS:

A scary accident with five laps remaining brought an early end to Saturday’s ARCA Racing Series season-opening Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 at Daytona International Speedway.

Austin Theriault was declared the winner after 75 laps of the scheduled 80-lap event. Terry Jones was second, followed by Shane Lee, Dalton Sargeant and Tom Hessert.

With five laps remaining, ARCA veteran Bobby Gerhart, Codie Rohrbaugh, Fletcher and Justin Fontaine, making his ARCA debut, were involved in a crash on the frontstretch.

justin-fontaine-mug
Justin Fontaine (Photo courtesy ARCA Racing)

The three drivers were fighting for 12th place when the crash occurred in the restart zone and brought out a lengthy red-flag race stoppage.

Fontaine’s Win-Tron Racing No. 33 ProMATIC Automation Toyota Camry was collected in the wreck, was turned on its side and then slid down the frontstretch for several hundred feet before it flipped on its roof and came to rest.

Gerhart and Rohrbaugh were both able to climb from their own cars, were taken to the infield care center, were checked and released.

Because of the heavy damage and delicate nature of the rescue — including being forced to cut off the roof of the car — safety personnel needed several minutes to right Fontaine’s Win-Tron Racing car to allow him to be extricated.

After hanging upside down, the 19-year-old Fontaine took off his helmet, was placed on a stretcher and put in a waiting ambulance, which transported him to a local Daytona Beach hospital for treatment and evaluation

Because the stoppage was so long, plus there was damage to a SAFER barrier, officials ruled the race official.

In addition to Saturday being his first career start in the ARCA Racing Series, Fontaine is also slated to return to run a limited series of races for AM Racing in NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series this season.
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Myatt Snider, son of NBC’s Marty Snider, wins ARCA Racing debut

(Photo courtesy Cunningham Motorsport Twitter account)
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Myatt Snider was just hoping to finish in his ARCA Racing Series debut Sunday at Toledo Speedway.

Snider finished, alright – and with the checkered flag, capturing the victory in the Menards 200 in the 29-driver field.

Son of NBC NASCAR announcer Marty Snider, 21-year-old Myatt Snider started the race from the third position. He drove the No. 22 Cunningham Motorsports Ford Fusion, with sponsorship from The Original Louisiana Hot Sauce, which just signed on as his sponsor for Sunday’s race this past week.

Here’s some social media posts about the younger Snider’s achievement:

Dalton Sargeant finished second, followed by Kyle Weatherman, Chase Briscoe, Matt Kurzejewski, Josh Williams, Gus Dean, Tom Hessert, Brian Keselowski and Bo LeMastus.

Sunday was the first of nine ARCA races Snider will take part in this season. Others coming up include both season races at Pocono Raceway, as well as Michigan International Speedway, Iowa Speedway, Lucas Oil Raceway (Brownsburg, Indiana), Chicagoland Speedway, Kentucky Speedway and Kansas Speedway.

“I hope to win a race for sure,” Snider said last week. “I want to learn all I possibly can about racing the bigger and heavier cars on the bigger tracks.

“It’ll be a huge learning experience getting adapted to the radial tires. I plan on being like a big sponge in soaking up all the knowledge and experience that I possibly can.”

He apparently has learned his lessons well already.

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John Wes Townley wins ARCA Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona

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Three years after his lone ARCA Racing Series win, John Wes Townley followed up the effort by leading the final 30 laps and winning the season-opening Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona International Speedway.

A regular in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Townley started fifth in the race and took command when pit strategy left pole-sitter Cole Custer back in the pack after leading 42 laps.

“We had it planned out from the beginning and very rarely at these race tracks does it work out like you planned and tonight it did,” Townley told Fox Sports 1. “I was a little worried there at the beginning that if I pulled down (to the inside lane) they were going to surge forward. It ended up working out. Once I got (to the front) they couldn’t quite get to me, which was kind of familiar to me because when I was behind some other guys, I had the same problem.”

Custer, a rookie in the Camping World Truck Series, started from the pole in his fourth ARCA race and his first race ever at Daytona. He finished 10th.

Rounding out the top five was William ByronKyle Weatherman, Chase Briscoe and 10-time champion Frank Kimmel

The race was red flagged after a Lap 2 crash in the tri-oval that involved nine cars: Bobby Gerhart, Kevin Thomas, Terry Jones, Shane Lee, Austin Wayne Self, Jairo Avila, Mark Thompson, Cole Powell and Gus Dean. The red flag was out for 10 minute and 58 seconds.

The race restarted on Lap 8. Ten laps later, the second caution waved for a four-car incident in Turn 2 with Mark Thompson, Derrick Lancaster, Matt Kurzejewski and Dylan Lupton. Lupton, a NASCAR Next driver, was able to continue on while the rest came to a stop stuck together against the outside wall on the backstretch.

Lupton would stay in the lead draft until suffering mechanical problems with two laps left in the race.

The third caution came four laps passed the halfway point when Tom Hessert blew a tire entering Turn 3 and spun out, avoiding making contact with the outside wall.

The pit strategy during the third caution sent Custer, who led 42 laps, back to the rear. That left Townley to jockey for the win with Byron for the final 30 laps. Townley, the 2013 winner at Daytona, kept the point position until the checkered flag waved.

Results

  1. John Wes Townley
  2. William Byron
  3. Kyle Weatherman
  4. Chase Briscoe
  5. Frank Kimmel
  6. Bo LeMastus
  7. Kevin Thomas
  8. Willie Mullins
  9. Grau Gaulding
  10. Cole Custer
  11. Sara Cornett-Ching
  12. Tyler Audie
  13. Brett Hudson
  14. Thomas Praytor
  15. Bryan Dauzat
  16. Brandon Lynn
  17. Ed Pompa
  18. Will Kimmel
  19. Josh Williams
  20. Steve Fox
  21. Gene Paul
  22. John Ferrier
  23. Cory Howard
  24. Dylan Lupton
  25. Dale Shearer
  26. Tim Viens
  27. Sean Corr
  28. Tom Hessert
  29. Matt Kurzejewski
  30. Dick Doheny
  31. Derrick Lancaster
  32. Brad Smith
  33. Mark Thompson
  34. Cole Powell
  35. Gus Dean
  36. Austin Wayne Self
  37. Bobby Gerhart
  38. Shane Lee
  39. Jairo Avila
  40. Terry Jones

 

Truck Series rookie William Byron to join in ARCA test this weekend

(Getty Images)
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NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie William Byron, who will compete full-time this year for Kyle Busch Motorsports, can’t wait for the racing season to begin.

That’s why Byron has joined Venturini Motorsports drivers Tom Hessert and Mark Thompson to take part in ARCA testing Friday and Saturday at Daytona International Speedway.

The test is in preparation for ARCA’s season-opening race there, the Lucas Oil 200, on Feb. 13. Byron plans to compete in that race as a prelude to the Truck Series opener there Feb. 19.

Byron is coming off a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship season. He also competed in two races for Venturini Motorsports in 2015, earning a career-best second-place finish at Lucas Oil Raceway.

Byron will drive the No. 4 Toyota Tundra for KBM in the Truck series.

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