The charismatic PJ Chesson claimed his first Menards Infiniti Pro Series victory in just his fourth career start for Mo Nunn Racing's new team in Sunday's Paramount Health Insurance 100 at the Michigan International Speedway.
Despite having less than six months experience in open-wheel racing cars following a stellar career in the World of Outlaws Championship, the 25 year-old New Jersey native outduelled current points leader Thiago Medeiros to win the 50-lap event by just nine hundredths of a second.
Chesson and Medeiros battled for first the final 20 laps around the two-mile Michigan oval, with the lead see-sawing every few laps. Chesson led by 0.3102 of a second and was running 190.705 mph with three laps left.
They ran side by side as they crossed the line with two laps remaining, before Chesson gained the advantage and held on.
”Man, that was awesome,” said an elated Chesson. “I don't know. I came on the radio and said, 'Does this thing do donuts?' They said, 'I don't know. Go try some,' so we ripped some donuts. I was so excited. Just to get win there on a big track and running side by side with guys in my fourth race. I'm so excited I can't talk."
The win was Nunn's first in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series. It joins A.J. Foyt Enterprises, Panther Racing and Hemelgarn 91 Johnson Motorsports as teams to win in both the IndyCar Series and the Menards Infiniti Pro Series.
Chesson's win was achieved at an average speed of 173.112mph, the fastest in series history as the race was slowed just once, for four laps, by the yellow flag.
Despite losing out in the final laps, Medeiros led 37 laps and has now led a record 429 laps this season. The previous record was 425 laps led by Mark Taylor last year.
Al Unser completed the podium, recording his third third-place finish in four Menards Infiniti Pro Series starts.