Salem, Indiana, USA, October 3, 2021—After spending the week with David Gilliland Racing team testing and getting to know the #46 car at Orange County Raceway in North Carolina, Jean-Philippe “Bergy” Bergeron then moved to Salem Speedway in Indiana for his first ARCA Menards Series race yesterday. “Salem Speedway in Indiana is known to be one of the most difficult tracks on the circuit for its rough surface, and I could feel it very well in the driving. It was an extra challenge for me, but luckily I had a good car and a professional team to help me learn,” said the 23-year-old driver who has been working his way up the stock car ranks for the past year.
After qualifying in seventh position, Jean-Philippe quickly got comfortable behind the wheel of his Fusion and fought for the sixth position for almost 20 laps before finally taking the position on lap 30. When the yellow flag waved on lap 43, the Quebec driver was in the top five. 20 laps later, the yellow flag waved again and he was in fourth place. At one point, he was even recording the fastest laps.
The first competition flag came out on lap 101 and the #46 car was in seventh place. The team refueled for two tires, fuel and adjustments to soften the race car. On the restart, Bergeron moved into eighth and held on to it. Unfortunately, the changes made the car much too loose and difficult to drive. This second part of the race was difficult. He lost a lap to the leader on lap 136. Jean-Philippe was still in eighth position when the yellow flag waved again for the second pit stop on lap 150.
Crew chief Derek Smith brought the #46 into the pits to change all four tires, add fuel and they went back to the previous stop adjustments. Bergeron restarted the race from eighth with 45 laps to go and ran that way until the checkered flag waved, earning his first career top 10 in ARCA. “The changes we made on the second pit stop were successful. The car was going well again, but too little too late, I didn’t have enough time to get back up the field,” said Jean-Philippe who was the only Canadian on the track.
Next Step: The Reese’s 150 in Kansas City on October 23
Still with David Gilliland Racing team in the ARCA Menards Series, Bergeron will take the wheel of the #46 Ford Fusion for the second time on October 23 at Kansas Speedway. His 2021 series journey will conclude in Phoenix on November 6.