Kentucky in the Rear View as Ryan Mathews Focuses on Berlin ARCA Rookie Looks to Bounce Back at Short Track after Early Crash at Kentucky DENVER, NC (July 10, 2006) -- The good part about mid-summer weeks in the ARCA RE/MAX Series is that no...
Kentucky in the Rear View as Ryan Mathews Focuses on Berlin
ARCA Rookie Looks to Bounce Back at Short Track after Early Crash at Kentucky
DENVER, NC (July 10, 2006) -- The good part about mid-summer weeks in the ARCA RE/MAX Series is that no matter how your last race went, you don't have to wait too long before getting back on the track to rebound. The schedule may get hectic at times, but for Ryan Mathews, the back-to-back schedule from Kentucky Speedway last week to Berlin Raceway this week is perfect.
Mathews will head to Berlin Raceway with hopes to regain momentum built up in the rookie's first ARCA starts this season before taking a trip into the wall early in last Friday's WLWT Channel 5-150 at Kentucky. With the bad luck at Kentucky now behind them, Mathews and the Eddie Sharp Racing team are focused solely on Berlin to get the strong run that the team has been working for all season long.
The 25-year-old rookie will pilot the #4 Cunningham Motorsports entry, which is a division of Eddie Sharp Racing, in Saturday's Sara Lee/GFS 150 at Berlin Raceway. It's a return to where Mathews cut his racing teeth, the short tracks of the upper Midwest like the facility in Marne, Michigan.
"I grew up racing Super Late Models on tracks like Berlin, so it'll be fun to get back to a place like that after spending so much time on speedways over the last few months," said Mathews, who has a career-best ARCA finish of 13th at the big tracks of Michigan International Speedway and Kansas Speedway. "I made my ARCA debut on a short track and since then I've learned a lot about these cars and the competition, so I'm ready to go out and have a good run at Berlin."
The Sara Lee/GFS 150 takes place eight days after the Channel 5-150 at Kentucky, but it couldn't come soon enough. Mathews' hopes for besting his top ARCA finish at Kentucky were dashed just one lap into the contest, as his #22 ESR Dodge went spinning into the turn-three wall.
"It's unfortunate. There were some other circumstances involved, but I will take this one my shoulders. It's pretty frustrating to have that happen so early in the race, but it's something that I will learn from and take it and put that knowledge toward Berlin.
"We had a pretty good car in practice, too. We qualified 14th, which was okay, but we wanted to be better than that. We thought we'd have a pretty good car for the race, but we never had the chance to show it."
Now Mathews will have the chance to show that he's got what it takes to compete with the elite ARCA drivers on Saturday at Berlin. Each track he's visited this year in ARCA has been a new experience to him, as he's never been to those facilities before. It will be a different story at Berlin for Mathews, as he competed at the historic Michigan 7/16-mile oval once last year in Super Late Model competition, finishing 13th.
"I've got some laps at Berlin and I remember the line pretty well. Even though the cars are different, the line's still the same. It will be fun getting back to the short tracks, but I've gotten to like this speedway racing that I've been doing lately. If I can get a good run at Berlin, then I'll have even more confidence at the speedways where hopefully our luck will turn around."
Berlin marks Mathews' fifth race out of 10 currently-scheduled ARCA RE/MAX Series races for him and the Eddie Sharp Racing team. Mathews has been competing in the ESR #22, but Berlin marks his first start in the Cunningham #4 Dodge. Cunningham Motorsports and Eddie Sharp Racing share a shop and resources in Denver, NC, where Mathews is a teammate with Ken Weaver's #20 1-800-4-A-PHONE Dodge for ESR and the various drivers in the Cunningham Motorsports #4.
The Sara Lee / GFS Marketplace 150 is scheduled to take the green flag at 8:30pm on Saturday, July 15th.