Improvement the Name of the Game for Ryan Mathews at Kansas Using Lessons Learned in Michigan, ARCA Rookie Headed to Next Speedway Experience DENVER, NC (June 25, 2006) -- For a rookie driver such as Ryan Mathews in the ARCA RE/MAX Series,...
Improvement the Name of the Game for Ryan Mathews at Kansas
Using Lessons Learned in Michigan, ARCA Rookie Headed to Next Speedway Experience
DENVER, NC (June 25, 2006) -- For a rookie driver such as Ryan Mathews in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, improvement from week-to-week is what will make for a strong first year. To come right out and set the series on fire would be nice, but as long as there can be improvement in each race, Mathews considers it a success. The 25-year-old improved on his 18th-place finish in his ARCA debut last month at Toledo with a 13th at Michigan last week.
Now Mathews again jumps into the seat of the Eddie Sharp Racing #22 Dodge at Kansas Speedway on July 1st hoping to continue his steady improvement as he shoots for what will hopefully be more routine strong finishes for the remainder of the season.
"We've had moderate success so far this season, but now I'm ready to get the finishes that this team deserves," said Mathews. "We've gained on everything from where we started the season, so we're headed in the right direction, but still, we're looking to run in the top five in both qualifying and the race. We've gone right to the top of the speed charts right off the trailer in practice, but that's just practice. We want to stay there for the rest of qualifying and the race, too. That's when it really counts."
Mathews made his ARCA debut at the bullring of Toledo Speedway and made his first speedway start at Michigan a couple weeks ago. Mathews' 13th-place finish may not have been indicative of the strong car that he had at the end of the race, but the young driver is looking at Michigan as a learning experience for how to drive the tricky big tracks like Michigan and the one he'll encounter this week at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway.
"At Michigan, I learned how much of an adjustment I need to make to the racecar at these big tracks. I know how to give better information to the crew. Now that I've had a lot of laps in these cars I know how much wedge to put in or to take out, or what kind of air pressure adjustments to make in order to get the car handling the way I want it. I kind of had a feel of how to do that on short tracks, but it's a whole different ballgame on speedways. I know now thanks to what we did at Michigan what tight feels like and how to loosen it up and vice versa. I know what the feel of the car is at 180mph now that I've gone that fast on a racetrack.
"At a mile-and-a-half like Kansas, we won't be doing the same speeds that we were doing at Michigan, but we're still going pretty fast. I know a little more about how to handle these tracks. I'll be using a little brake at Kansas, which I didn't have to do at Michigan, so it'll be a little more of a short-track feel but still a big track that will take a lot of speed and smoothness."
When Mathews gets to Kansas Speedway, his first practice laps will also be his first laps ever at the track. That doesn't faze the youngster, however, as a trip to Kansas' sister track with his teammates at Cunningham Motorsports last month gave Mathews plenty of notes to go off of.
"I paid particularly close attention to what the guys at the track did earlier in the year at Kentucky because the tracks are pretty similar. Even though I didn't test there with my #22 car, I'm going to Kansas with a lot of what I learned at Kentucky and a lot more experience on these speedways than I had before, so I'm pretty excited about this race. Hopefully we'll keep on building from week to week and we'll be running up front consistently pretty soon."
The Kansas Lottery $200 Grand is scheduled to take the green flag at 4:45pm at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, July 1st. The race will be aired on a next-day tape delay telecast on SPEED Sunday, July 3rd, at 3:00pm.