From his high school graduation ceremony Friday night, to the winner's circle at Mansfield Motorsports Park Saturday night, 18-year-old Parker Kligerman padded his point lead with another convincing ARCA RE/MAX Series victory.
With an exceptional and ultra-enthusiastic crowd on their feet, the Penske Racing development driver, in the Cunningham Motorsports Dodge, held off Joey Coulter during a green-white-checker finish to win the inaugural Tim Richmond Memorial ARCA 200 presented by National Speed Sport News at the Mansfield, Ohio short track.
"This has been a pretty crazy weekend," said Kligerman, who led the final 103 laps of the 202 lap race. "Twenty-four hours ago I was running through an airport trying to catch an airplane following my high school graduation. I think I still have my diploma sitting on the front seat of my passenger car in the parking lot. This team is successful because we are prepared week in and week out. We unload and are very close to where we are going to race."
The win was Kligerman's third ARCA RE/MAX Series victory in his last four attempts on tour.
Coulter, in the Darrell Gwynn Foundation-Tempest Cycles Chevrolet, finished a career-best second about three lengths away, his third consecutive top-five finish.
"Harold [Holly, crew chief] and the guys are awesome," said Coulter. "The pit strategy we used was awesome and the pit stops were too. It was like Harold knew what was going to happen in front of us before it happened. Kligerman was getting a really good run off of the corners. He's really tough."
Sixteen-year-old Chris Buescher nearly edged Coulter at the final stripe but settled for third, a career-best finish for the Prosper, Texas rookie.
"We really didn't need the green-white-checker," said Buescher. "I was a little bummed. We were three wide passing for second and that last caution just came at the wrong time. Mansfield is a great track and it was good for the ARCA RE/MAX Series to race here because it was almost everyone's first time here. When we go to Salem Frank Kimmel has won there 9 times so when we go here it's neat that we are all on the same level."
Menards Pole winner Justin Lofton battled back from a spin to finish fourth.
"I think that if we would have had five more laps we would have been right there," said Lofton. "This is the hardest I drove all year-these 100 miles here at Mansfield. This is an awesome little track. We need more ARCA RE/MAX Series races here. I'm ready for another 200 laps."
Steve Arpin, who led 14 laps, finished a career-best fifth in the Eddie Sharp Racing Toyota.
"It just felt so good to be up front," said Arpin. "I had so much fun out there tonight. I come from the dirt, and I have to say, this was more fun tonight. What a neat little track. I'd love to take another run at this place."
Lofton led the first 69 laps, holding off Kligerman before both came down pit road for service. That handed the lead to Arpin who held the lead before Matt Merrell, who had already pitted for service, past Arpin for the lead on lap 84. By the halfway point, Kligerman and Lofton had raced back through the pack to challenge the leaders. Kligerman got underneath Merrell in turn one before contact between the two resulted in a bottle-neck effect which caused Lofton to spin in turn two. Lofton had to make an unscheduled pitstop to repair damage before he raced back through the pack again to earn his fourth place finish.
Jake Crum, in the Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet, battled back from several unscheduled pitstops to repair heavy rear-end damage to finish sixth in his first series start.
Stephan McCurley, in Donny Kelley's Porter Glass Chevrolet, recovered from an early-race on-track incident that put the Humble, Texas rookie one lap down to finish a career-best seventh on the lead lap.
Bryan Silas finished eighth in Andy Hillenburg's Rockingham Speedway-Holland Pumps Chevrolet. Frank Kimmel was ninth in the Ansell-Menards Ford. Craig Goess finished 10th in the Greenville of NC Toyota.
Two- and three-wide racing was norm all night, which also helped breed 13 cautions for 77 laps. Few cars went back on the hauler unscathed.
Robb Brent, after an accident in turn three, was transported, conscious and alert, to a local area hospital. The Shelby Township, Michigan driver exited his car under his own power.
The next event for the ARCA RE/MAX Series will be the Prairie Meadows 200 at Iowa Speedway on July 11.