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Posted on September 18th, 2011

When the #22 Cunningham Motorsports team pulled the Dodge off of the hauler, they were looking to gain more valuable track time on the Salem bullring. The test session last week for the team and Ryan Lynch had proven to be a struggle, with the weather causing problems, not allowing Lynch enough laps to become comfortable in his first ARCA stock car experience. After the 90 minute practice session, Lynch had the 20th quickest position on the speed chart. After the practice session, an excited Lynch said, “This track is a tough old track. It is very unforgiving, but I am getting more comfortable with each lap.” Lynch picked up .4 seconds during his qualifying run, posting the16th starting spot.

The Texas Wildfire Relief Fund Dodge, driven by Ryan Lynch from New Boston, Texas, took the green flag in 16th, as Lynch settled in to his rhythm, finding a comfortable spot to learn all that he could from his fellow drivers during the race. He maintained a top 20 spot for the first 65 laps. As the caution came out, crew chief Paul Andrews brought Lynch into the pits for right side tires and fuel. As the field restarted the race on lap 70, Lynch was posted in 15th. With a long green flag run during the middle half of the race, Lynch experienced how the race car changes as the tires wear and the fuel is burned off, making the handling considerably different than after a pit stop. He picked off positions, running as high as 11th, before pitting, during caution, on lap 150 for four tires and fuel. The green flag flew on lap 152. By lap 162 Lynch radioed to Andrews that his left rear tire had gone flat, just after he had passed the entrance to pit road. As he slowly limped around to the pit opening, he was getting lapped several times. After losing only a couple of positions, to 14th, Lynch rejoined the race. In the final 20 laps, Lynch picked up one position, to his finishing spot of 13th.

After the race Lynch, commented, “It hasn’t really even soaked in, what we accomplished this weekend at Salem. To finish 13th in my first ARCA start is pretty unbelievable. That just says so much about the Cunningham Motorsports team. They are committed to helping you do your best and they believe in you whether you are a rookie or seasoned veteran. The support from the whole team---Kerry, Paul and every single one of those guys who laid a hand on that car this weekend---was just phenomenal. It was a very fast paced learning experience. The car was just awesome the whole race, it just took some time for me to get in a rhythm, especially in turn 3 where the car seemed to be on the edge of grip every lap. The cut tire incident under green was just really unfortunate, but you are going to have that kind of deal in racing. It was a completely awesome experience all around and I can’t thank Cunningham Motorsports and MPM enough for giving me this opportunity. It was also great to support the Texas Wildfire Relief Fund and help my home state, not to mention the excitement of racing in front of the packed Salem Speedway crowd. I can’t wait to do it again!”