MOORESVILLE, N.C. (May 1, 2017) – In 2016 Dalton Sargeant turned his first laps in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards at Salem Speedway. One year later, he found himself waving the checkered flag at the same historic track where he made his series debut. Sargeant, the first ARCA driver since 2006 to lap an entire field to win a race, brought Cunningham Motorsports its first victory in the 2017 season in his No. 77 Big Tine Ford Fusion in the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200.
“It was a great day for everyone at Cunningham Motorsports yesterday,” said Sargeant. “Everyone worked so hard to get this car ready for Salem and going into the race we knew we had a car that could win. This race track is tough and exciting to run. Last year I made my ARCA debut here and to be able to come back one year later and win is really special. There was some pressure coming into this season in the championship car and it feels great to get that first win out the way so we can look ahead and just focus on winning more races from here on out.”
The 19-year-old from Boca Raton, Fla. started in the seventh spot and slowly worked his way through the field on a long green flag run…and by lap 64, the No. 77 Big Tine Ford Fusion was up to the fifth position. With a late race caution on lap 130, Sargeant had made his way into second when he came in for four fresh General Tires and Sunoco fuel.
“I just kept telling him to race the track and keep his mind clear,” said crew chief Chad Bryant. “He was able to work the lines he needed to and he made moves when he needed to. Salem is a tough track with lap traffic and he stayed focused and worked his way through to get to the top. When the caution came and we came in to pit, he just needed to make a strong restart and hold his line…and he did.”
Restarting on the outside line, Sargeant went three-wide into turns one and two and secured the lead by the time he hit the entrance of turn three. From there Sargeant began to take dominance, eventually lapping each car in the field before finding victory lane, earning his second win in the ARCA Racing Series.
“I knew I had to stay patient the entire race and that my time would come and on that restart…I knew it was my time,” said Sargeant. “I took the outside line and just stayed with it and pushed hard coming out of turn two and once we took the lead, it was just maintaining a fast pace and staying out of trouble until the last lap. Cunningham always has good, fast cars each race and this win is a testament to how hard this team works to make sure we have a chance to win every weekend. I can’t wait to keep the momentum going and bring this No. 77 Big Tine Ford Fusion to victory lane again this season.”
Next up for Sargeant and Cunningham Motorsports is Talladega Superspeedway. The General Tire 200 is set for Friday, May 5, at 6 p.m. EDT and will air live on FS1.
Keep up with Cunningham Motorsports on Facebook and Instagram (@CunninghamRace) and on Twitter (@Cunningham_Race). Head to www.cunninghamrace.com for more news. Follow Dalton on Facebook (@DaltonSargeantRacing) and Twitter and Instagram (@DaltonSargeant).