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After Onerous Week, Matt Kurzejewski Readies Kentucky Battle

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Matt Kurzejewski, Crosley Brands 150

After Onerous Week, Matt Kurzejewski Readies Kentucky Battle

Chris Knight
Knight Motorsports Management
September 24, 2015

Matt Kurzejewski
SPARTA, Kentucky (September 25, 2015) - - Matt Kurzejewski’s week at Kentucky Speedway hasn’t gone as planned.

Planning to test at the 1.5-mile speedway on Tuesday to prepare for Friday night’s Crosley Brands 150, a fire that burnt his tractor carrying his No. 54 Costy’s Energy Services Chevrolet left his trailer alongside Interstate 40 in Knoxville, Tennessee idle, while his competitor turned laps ahead of the penultimate race of the season.

To clear his thoughts, Kurzejewski decided to go for a bike ride. That was until he noticed a flat tire.

With his motorhome parked for the week in his reserved space, the personable driver decided to try the make the best out of the situation, all with colleagues screaming off Turns 3 and 4. Still, Kurzejewski knew all things considered, he was lucky to be there.

As the session ended at the Northern Kentucky-based track Tuesday afternoon, Kurzejewski’s hauler was sailing along Interstate 71, eyeing marker 57 exit for Sparta, Kentucky. With his equipment arriving shortly after 6:00 p.m. local time, Kurzejewski stood, reflected and prayed that his early week bad luck is now something of the past.

“It was disappointing that we didn’t get to test, because we had so many different things we wanted to try,” said Kurzejewski who leads the Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge with two races remaining. “Brian (Keselowski, crew chief) and the team have worked extremely hard on the car over the past few weeks – hoping to find just a little more on the race track.”

Of course, while capturing the Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge in his first season in part-time competition would be a huge accomplishment, but that isn’t enough for the Mansfield, Pennsylvania native.

The checkered flag is what he wants.

All that he dreams.

All that he imagines.

Being called a winner in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is what Kurzejewski has been focused on since the season-opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in February.

“It’s what every racer dreams of,” said Kurzejewski who pilots the No. 54 Costy’s Service Energy Chevrolet. “The reason we want it more? We’ve been close, you can see that checkered flag in the distance and for one reason or another, it fades away in the end. This team doesn’t quit though.

“We have two more chances.”

Of course, finishing six of his seven races this season inside the top-10 is nothing to be ashamed of, but the dynamic duo of Kurzejewski and Keselowski strive for eventual perfection and even with no practice on Tuesday, the team remains confident for the 100-lap dash ahead.

“There’s no choice but to get after it during practice on Friday,” the 24-year-old Kurzejewski noted. “An hour and a half will go by pretty quickly and then it’s qualifying and boom the race. Friday will fly, we just need to be going in the right direction and not backwards.”

In June, the family-owned team finished sixth at Chicagoland Speedway, another mile-and-a-half track with similar characteristics to Kentucky. While the team has good notes from the Windy City, Kurzejewski believes track conditions will continue to change as the day soldiers on.

“I’ve been told time and time again that Kentucky is a very temperature sensitive track and that will change immensely as the day goes on. I know Brian is prepared for that and we’re going to be in good shape.”

With his 2016 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards plans still contingent on sponsorship, Kurzejewski says his team must get through the next two races before putting full concentration towards next year.

“Next season is still up in the air at this point,” he said. “There’s no hiding behind that. We’ll be back I’m sure, but we want to be here more on a permanent basis. We’ll see. Right now, our only focus is winning the Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge and sealing the deal with our first “W.” From there, everything will fall into place, I hope.”

Kurzejewski, 24 has 12 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 eight top-10 finishes, including a career-best third in his most recent ARCA race at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway last month. He has completed 1,097 laps on the tour and led 117 of them.

Follow Matt Kurzejewski on Twitter @kurzejewski.

The Crosley Brands 150 (100 Laps / 150 Miles) is the 19th of 20 races on the 2015 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins for the one-day show on Friday, September 25 from 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Menards pole qualifying presented by Ansell is set for a short time later at 4:40 p.m. The event will take the green flag later that night around 8:00 p.m. The penultimate race will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 with including live timing and scoring available online at ARCARacing.com. All times are local (Eastern).

PHOTO CAPTION: Matt Kurzejewski, driver of the No. 54 Costy’s Energy Services Chevrolet for car owner Dan Kurzejewski in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.


John Bowen

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