Chicagoland: Driver practice quotes, notes

For the final time this season the ARCA RE/MAX Series will compete on a mile-and-a-half track tomorrow at Chicagoland Speedway for the 20th event on the ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule. This afternoon over 40 teams participated in the lone practice ...

For the final time this season the ARCA RE/MAX Series will compete on a mile-and-a-half track tomorrow at Chicagoland Speedway for the 20th event on the ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule. This afternoon over 40 teams participated in the lone practice session in preparation for ARCA SIM Factory Pole qualifying set for later this afternoon. Following qualifying, the anticipated 41-car field will be impounded in preparation for tomorrow's race. Teams welcomed cooler conditions but the track was surrounded by threatening skies during their two-hour practice session.

Here is what some of the drivers are saying from the practice session.

DEXTER BEAN, NO. 6 FIVE STAR TELECOM CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS

Dexter Bean, a sophomore driver on the ARCA RE/MAX Series tour posted the 24th fastest lap with a time of 31.715 seconds at 170.266 MPH.

The Westby, Wisconsin native enters Chicagoland Speedway after a tough two races. Last Friday night at Gateway International Raceway, Bean was involved in an vicious accident while running third. The following Monday, Bean charged back at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds running in the top-10 before a jumbled restart inside five laps to go resulted in a 11th place finish.

Now returning to the track that awarded the 20-year old rising star with a superb fourth place finish in the SK Hand Tool 200 in 2006, Bean is hoping that his stout record at the Joliet, Illinois facility will continue.

After losing their Chicagoland car at Gateway International Raceway last week, the BlackJack Racing team led by veteran crew chief Chris Bires has elected to bring a BlackJack Racing chassis to the track this weekend.

Sporting a black and white paint scheme, a switch from the team's normal red and white logos, the team last ran this machine at Kentucky Speedway this past July. The car also competed at Michigan International Speedway leading five laps before settling for a 12th place finish.

Bean will make his third career start at Chicagoland Speedway Saturday. The team first landed at the track in 2005 when Bean was running a limited ARCA schedule. Rewinding to two years ago, Bean turned heads with an impressive 12th place finish.

Entering the 20th race of the season, Bean trails second place Michael McDowell by 150 markers and 245 points from the top spot currently held by reining ARCA champion Frank Kimmel.

Bean drew the first position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.

"We're tight in the center off. We haven't raced this car since the Kentucky Speedway race in July. We've made some adjustments to it and it running pretty good here. The car will race; it's just trying to find some more speed out of it so we can have a shot at the win tomorrow."

PIERRE BOURQUE, NO. 62 LA RAZA-IMPREMEDIA FORD FUSION

Making his comeback tour late in the game in 2007 is Pierre Bourque.

Reuniting with Fast Track Racing and Andy Hillenburg, Bourque plans to make his first start of the season this Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway.

Promising testing results last month gives this diversity driver a lot of flavor heading into the 20th ARCA event of the season.

Picking up the primary sponsorship for Saturday's race is La Raza.

La Raza is the number one Spanish-language newspaper in Chicago with an audited circulation 196,594 according to Certified Audit Circulation (June 30, 2006). It is also among the largest Sunday Hispanic newspapers in the United States. La Raza has been recognized by the National Association of Hispanic Publications as the "Best Spanish Language Weekly" five times over the past decade and was named by Editor & Publisher as one of "Ten That Do It Right." It is owned by ImpreMedia LLC.

ImpreMedia is the No. 1 Hispanic news and information company in the United States in online and print. ImpreMedia is also the nation's largest Hispanic newspaper publisher with publications reaching 23 cities representing 72% of the U.S. Hispanic population. Those publications include El Diario La Prensa, Hoy Nueva York and Fin de Semana in New York, El Mensajero in the San Francisco Bay area, La Opini0x00f3n and La Opini0x00f3n Contigo in Los Angeles, La Prensa in Orlando and Tampa and La Raza in Chicago, each the leading Spanish language newspapers in their respective markets.

ImpreMedia's titles also include La Vibra, the premier weekly entertainment publication for young urban Hispanics, with a circulation of 630,000 in seven key Hispanic markets, and Vista magazine distributed in 31 newspapers with one million copies across 23 U.S. markets. ImpreMedia provides marketers with effective multi-platform solutions in print and online to reach the rapidly growing and influential Hispanic market.

Before turning his focus to the ARCA RE/MAX Series, Bourque has spent the 2007 season competing in the NASCAR Busch East Series and the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.

Following Chicagoland, Bourque is expected to compete in next month's ARCA RE/MAX 250 from Talladega Superspeedway.

In practice today, Bourque turned a time of 32.654 seconds at 165.370 MPH putting him 36th on the practice rundown overall.

Bourque drew the seventh position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.

"There's room for improvement. The car is solid. We'll make some adjustments before qualifying and they should work. This place is very fast, so concentration and a good car is everything. We're very excited to have our new sponsor La Raza aboard and hope we can put ourselves in prime position for qualifying and the race tomorrow."

DOMINICK CASOLA, NO. 1 A. CASOLA FARMS FORD FUSION

Still on a waive of momentum following his outstanding fifth place finish at Gateway International Raceway last Friday night, ARCA rookie Dominick Casola heads to Chicagoland Speedway this weekend looking to continue his surge.

Finishing 17th this past Monday at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, the second and final dirt track race of the season, Casola is looking forward to getting back to speedway racing.

Crew Chief Andy Belmont has elected to bring Casola "Nina" to Chicagoland Speedway this weekend. This is the same Ford Fusion that Casola piloted at Pocono Raceway (Casola finished eighth) and Nashville Superspeedway earlier this month.

It is also the same automobile that Casola competed with at Gateway International Speedway last Friday night awarding the rookie driver with his career best qualifying effort (sixth) before turning in an outstanding fifth place finish. The team's backup machine is nicknamed "Oklahoma".

Competing in 18 of the 19 races on the 2007 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule, Casola unofficially sits 13th in the championship standings, jumping three positions (16th to 13th) within the last two races. Casola is only 70 markers from moving into the top-12 currently held by female competitor Gabi DiCarlo.

Casola, the Holmdel, New Jersey native is also beginning to promote an exciting event for his sponsor. Every year Casola's sponsor A. Casola Farms offers New Jersey natives the opportunity to head to their farm for a day full of fun and activities celebrating the traditions of Halloween.

Coming in late September and all of October, A. Casola Farms will have daily pumpkin pickings, hay rides, petting zoos, corn mazes and their haunted hay rides at night. And new for this year, A. Casola Farms will also open their Motorsports exhibit, not to mention the traditional fall cider and donuts. For an official list of activities and times, please call 732.332.1533

Competing in 16 of the 17 races on the 2007 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule, Casola sits 16th in the championship standings. 70 points separate Casola from overtaking the 15th position controlled by Jason Hedlesky. Casola only sits 100 points from moving into 14th held by veteran Mike Harmon.

In practice today, Casola turned a time of 31.575 seconds at 171.021 MPH putting him 15th on the practice rundown overall.

Casola drew the 16th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.

"This car is going to be strong in the race tomorrow. We are awesome in race trim. The car not does not fall off which is great news for us tomorrow. It's the same car we ran at Gateway last weekend so everyone is hoping we can back up our performance during the race. I think we have another shot at qualifying in the top-10, the guys will make a few minor adjustments and we'll give it everything we have."

BLAKE FEESE, NO. 8 SCOTTISH RITE-FUEL PERFORMANCE CATALYST

DODGE CHARGER

Two-time ARCA RE/MAX Series winner Blake Feese returns to Chicagoland Speedway looking to add another win to his resume in Saturday's Chicagoland ARCA 200.

While never having the opportunity to compete at the 1.5-mile speed plant, Feese is extremely excited about racing in his backyard as Feese grew up in Saybrook, Illinois.

In addition to racing at home, Feese is also looking to keep his steak alive of consecutive top-10 finishes. Earlier this year, Feese posted top-10s at Kansas Speedway, Kentucky Speedway and Nashville Superspeedway.

Feese knows he has a good chance of keeping that performance alive as his Sadler Racing team has brought the same Dodge Charger the former USAC competitor has raced in all three events this season.

The Sadler Racing team will not carry their familiar No. 95 this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. With an increased chance of rain, Sadler Racing has aligned with Benning Motorsports and will carry the No. 8 this weekend in Joliet. Feese will race in Saturday's event should ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying be rained out thanks to the owner points, Benning Motorsports has retained this season.

An interesting side note, Feese will make his ninth career start on Saturday and in his previous eight starts his worst finish is 11th at South Boston Speedway in 2003.

In practice today, Feese turned a time of 31.472 seconds at 171.581 MPH putting him 10th on the practice rundown overall.

Feese drew the sixth position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.

"The car is pretty neutral. We're going to make some changes and see if we can lay down a good qualifying lap. The guys on the Sadler Racing team have worked hard to give me a great racecar and I don't want to let them or our sponsors down. I'm looking forward to racing here at Chicagoland, I've been waiting a long time to do this. I think we're going to be fine in qualifying and a factor in the race tomorrow."

MIKE HARMON, NO. 38 JUST1SHIRT.COM-SUPER SOURCE CAR CARE PRODUCTS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS

Harmon, a veteran on the ARCA RE/MAX Series tour enters Gateway International Speedway looking to make his 90th career start at Chicagoland Speedway.

A milestone weekend for Harmon at Chicagoland has many hoping that it will yield stellar results. Harmon's two previous races in Illinois haven't gone as planned.

Falling off the lead lap early at Gateway kept Harmon from his second top-10 finish of the season. Contact with an inexperienced driver at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds also ripped a top-10 finish from his hands.

However, with his never give up attitude; Harmon realizes that Chicagoland can be a track that can put his team back on track.

In last year's SK Hand Tool 200, Harmon finished a respectable 18th after starting 38th.

The team is looking for sponsorship for the remainder of the 2007 ARCA RE/MAX Series season.

In practice today, he posted the 43rd fastest time with a time of 34.067 seconds at 158.511 MPH.

Harmon drew the 38th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.

"We're okay. The car will come to us in qualifying and the race. I think we can put ourselves in position to have a good run if we play it smart and not press the issue. It's a tough field here this weekend and I know we're the underdogs, but we can shine, I promise you that. Nate (McGuire, crew chief) has done a good job making this car competitive and I think this is another race where we can turn a lot of heads."

BRETT HUDSON, NO. 0 BRETT HUDSON MOTORSPORTS DODGE CHARGER

Another driver that has some momentum heading into Chicagoland Speedway this weekend is Kentucky's Brett Hudson.

Brett Hudson has made two ARCA RE/MAX Series start this season at Salem Speedway this past April. After starting eighth, Hudson used his veteran knowledge of the brutal short track to score a fourth place finish, a career best. Earlier this summer, Hudson made his speedway debut at Kentucky Speedway. Blasting from his 22nd starting spot, Hudson maneuvered to net a ninth place run, his second top-10 in 2007.

The Brett Hudson Motorsports team debuted the new piece and it delivered in a big way for them. The organization has brought back the same car for Saturday's final intermediate track of the season.

The Brett Hudson Motorsports team will not carry their familiar No. 43 this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. With an increased chance of rain, BHM has aligned with Peterson Motorsports and will carry the No. 0 this weekend in Joliet. Hudson will race in Saturday's event should ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying be rained out thanks to the owner points, Peterson Motorsports has retained this season.

Brett Hudson will attempt to make his 13th career ARCA RE/MAX Series start Saturday. In his previous 12 races, Hudson has produced one top-five and five top-10 finishes.

Following Chicagoland Speedway, Hudson is scheduled to compete in the Eddie Gilstrap Motors ARCA Fall Classic by Advance Auto Parts at Salem Speedway on September 15.

In practice today, Hudson turned a time of 31.563 seconds at 171.086 MPH putting him 14th on the practice rundown overall.

Hudson drew the third position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.

"I'm glad that the rain held off. The car is very good. I think its even better than it was at Kentucky earlier this summer. The Brett Hudson Motorsports guys have worked their tails off preparing this car. I want to thank Wayne Peterson and Peterson Motorsports for allowing us to use the No. 0 this weekend at Chicagoland. I think we'll have a good enough piece where we'll make some noise of our own this weekend." JOEY MILLER, NO. 32 RED LINE OIL DODGE CHARGER2005 ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie-of-the-Year Joey Miller returns to Chicagoland Speedway on the stretch of his most recent consecutive top-10 finish at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds this past Monday.

Joey Miller will make his 30th career start on Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway. In his previous 29 starts, the veteran NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver has captured five wins, six poles and 13 top-five finishes. Miller has also led 1,013 laps in six races.

Miller will also make his fourth start of the season Saturday afternoon. His previous three starts (Nashville, Pocono and DuQuoin) have all come with Country Joe Racing.

Last year at Chicagoland, Country Joe Racing finished second after starting eighth with driver Blake Bjorklund aboard.Rewinding back two years ago at Chicagoland, Miller claimed the ARCA SIM Factory pole award before leading a race high 83 laps before settling for third. Miller has had time to reflect on that day and knows he still as some unfinished business at the Joliet, Illinois speed plant.

During the practice session today, Miller mounted the 28th quickest lap racking in a time of 31.928 seconds at 169.131 MPH.

Miller drew the 35th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.

"Not too bad, the car will go. The Country Joe Racing bunch will make some adjustments and we'll go from there. I love running at this place, so I'm looking forward to qualifying and the race. I'm not sure if the rain will move in or not, but we'll have a good enough car that it doesn't matter where we start, we'll go to the front."

JULIEN PENARUIZ, NO. 93 RED OIL JEANS-CATCHIT CAM

CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO

Paris France's Julien Penaruiz (pronounced Pen-Da-Ruse) hopes to make his second career ARCA RE/MAX Series start on Saturday afternoon.

Last Friday night at Gateway International Raceway, the developing protege made his debut for K&B Motorsports finishing 27th after starting 38th.

Driving the No. 93 for K&B Motorsports, Penaruiz will utilize several of the remaining events on the 2007 schedule to prepare himself for a much broader racing schedule next year.

Carrying sponsorship from France's Red Oil Jeans, Penaruiz looks to increase the company's intent to move their production line to the United States.

With a background in the Formula-A & Campus Series, this weekend's ARS event sounds provides another opportunity for Penaruiz to make a name for himself in the United States.

When not racing, the 30-year old is a frequent stunt man in California.

In practice today, he posted the 40th fastest time with a time of 33.795 seconds at 159.787 MPH.

Penarulz drew the 40th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.

"Learning is everything. We're tweaking some adjustments on our No. 93 machine to find some more speed. The K&B Motorsports has some more ideas and we're going to use them and see what it deals us. I'm excited to be here at Chicagoland. It's a fun place to race, but very fast. We just want to go out and have a good run tomorrow to set ourselves up for the rest of the year."

PATRICK SHELTRA, NO. 60 CP CONCRETE PRODUCTS, US CONSTRUCTION, FLORAGANICS-BRADY RANCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS

Patrick Sheltra returns to Chicagoland Speedway with some momentum following an exceptional top-10 finish at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds this past Monday.

Driving the No. 60 for Sheltra Motorsports, the rising star is looking for his second career top-five finish while also hoping to reel in his first victory.

The Indiantown, Florida will make his second career start at the 1.5-mile speed plant Saturday afternoon.

Rewinding back to Chicagoland 2005, Sheltra piloted a second entry for Clements Racing driving the No. 94 Sheltra Construction Chevrolet. After qualifying a very solid 21st, Sheltra looked smooth in the race and en route to a top-20 finish before clutch problems relegated the Florida driver to a disappointing 36th place finish.

Continuing their sponsorship of Sheltra's No. 60 entry this weekend is CP Concrete Products, US Construction, SawHorse Outfitters, Brady Ranch and FloraGanics.

Despite only competing 18 of the possible 19 races this season, the Florida native currently sits seventh in the championship standings inching in on fellow drivers Justin Marks and rookie Phillip McGilton. Patrick Sheltra will make his 21st career ARCA RE/MAX Series start on Saturday. In his previous 20 starts, Sheltra has collected two top-fives at Berlin Raceway (July 2007) and Illinois State Fairgrounds (August 2007) while holding additional top-10s at Kentucky Speedway in June and DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in September.

Sheltra's crew chief John Hayden is a former ARCA RE/MAX Series driver with 10 starts to his credit. Hayden holds a career best finish of third at Nashville Superspeedway in 2002 as his personal best effort.

In practice, the Florida native maneuvered a time of 31.502 seconds equaling a speed of 171.418 MPH positioning himself 12th on the charts.

Sheltra drew the 46th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.

"Tight off. That's what we're fighting. The car has some steam, so I'm not worried about that, it's all about handling on some of these tracks. We'll be fine though. The Sheltra Motorsports team is a dedicated bunch and I think we have a car that can move into the top-10 and stay there if we don't put ourselves in that position later today. Chicagoland Speedway hold a lot of memories for me, I just want to make the race results better tomorrow afternoon."

BRYAN SILAS, NO. 11 NORTRAX, SHELL ROTELLA T, HOLLAND PUMP,

PALM BEACH GRADING (PBG) FORD FUSION

For the second time in his ARCA RE/MAX Series career, rookie Bryan Silas will tackle the 1.5-mile track of Chicagoland Speedway Saturday afternoon.

Retiring the Chevrolet Bowtie for Saturday's Chicagoland ARCA 200, Silas is relying on his prior success in a Ford Fusion to soar this talented rookie into the top-10 for the fourth time this season.

Silas heads to Gateway looking to redeem himself from another race that showed extreme potential but ended in disappointment. After strong runs at both Gateway International Raceway and DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, Silas is banking on his past intermediate success to aid him once again.

Heading into Chicagoland, Silas has 25 ARCA RE/MAX Series starts to his credit with a career best finish of eighth at Salem Speedway (April 2007) and Kentucky Speedway (July 2007) while holding an additional top-10 performance at USA International Speedway (March 2007). He holds a career best short track time trials effort of seventh at Berlin Raceway (July 2007). A fourth place qualifying effort at Pocono Raceway (June 2007) is Silas's best speedway run to date. He has controlled the ARCA field for 15 laps in one race.

Driving for two-time ARS champion Andy Hillenburg, Silas sits ninth in the championship standings heading into the 20th race of the season.

Silas, a native of Stuart, Florida posted the seventh fastest time with an effort of 31.375 seconds equaling a speed of 172.112 MPH.

Silas drew the 37th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.

"The car is very good. This is a new car for us and it seems to be working very well. We're fighting some minor handling issues, but nothing that we can't work on or adjust during the race. I'm really proud of the Fast Track Racing bunch, they are an awesome group of guys who have once again given me a superb racecar. I'm looking forward to the final intermediate track of the season and I think our No. 11 Nortrax-Shell Rotella T-Palm Beach Grading Ford will be strong the rest of the weekend."

BILLY TANNER, NO. 07 CHEAPCARIBBEAN.COM CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS

Fresh off a solid showing at Gateway International Speedway last Friday night, ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Billy Tanner plans to step up to the plate and reward his Stott Classic Racing team with their best finish of the season in Saturday's Chicagoland ARCA 200.

Driving for Stott Classic Racing and car owner Corrie Stott, Tanner will make his 12th career start in the ARCA RE/MAX Series this weekend.

Following Chicagoland, Tanner plans to run in the ARCA RE/MAX Series events at Talladega Superspeedway and the season finale at Toledo Speedway.

Tanner's No. 07 entry is sponsored by CheapCaribbean.com. CheapCaribbean.com is owned by COMM Group, Inc (Customer Oriented Marketing and Management Group) which provides wholesale and direct to consumer distribution of vacation packages, resort reservations, and cruises worldwide to Bermuda, the Caribbean, and Mexico, servicing over 250,000 passengers per year.

In practice, the Pennsylvania native maneuvered a time of 32.442 seconds equaling a speed of 166.451 MPH positioning himself 33rd on the charts.

Tanner drew the 34th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.

"Tight. I've talked to a bunch of other drivers and they feel the same way. The Stott Classic Racing team has given me a very good racecar once again this weekend. We didn't push the issue in practice, we'll push it in qualifying and then the race. We had a good run at Gateway and I want to head into tomorrow's event knowing that we have the capabilities of improving that run in a big way."

MICHELLE THERIAULT, NO. 37 GLOCK CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS

After posting a best career finish of 15th last Friday night at Gateway International Raceway, female ARCA driver Michelle Theriault invades Chicagoland Speedway looking to pick up the pace and leave the track with her first career top-10 Saturday.

The NASCAR Busch East Series (NBES) rookie plans to make her fifth career ARCA RE/MAX Series start and her first at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend.

Following Chicagoland, next up in the ARCA RE/MAX Series for Theriault and Team GLOCK include Talladega Superspeedway and the season finale at Toledo Speedway both events held in October.

Spraker Racing Enterprises has also been handling Theriault's NBES program.

Theriault is one of three females entered for Saturday's Chicagoland ARCA 200. In addition to Theriault, Gabi DiCarlo (No. 90) and Erin Crocker (No. 98) are scheduled to start Friday night's race.

Theriault is a veteran of the USAR Hooter's Pro Cup Series. Theriault became the first woman in history to ever qualify for the series coveted championship playoffs.

Car owner Jeff Spraker will serve as Theriault's spotter and coach in Saturday's event.

Theriault sponsor is gun manufacturer GLOCK. Utilizing advanced technological methods, GLOCK has a leading position in the world market as a pistol and accessories designer and manufacturer. With their commitment to uncompromised quality, GLOCK uses high-tech engineering to provide the international benchmark for safety, reliability and ease of maintenance. GLOCK's remarkable knowledge and experience from their applications and processing of steel and polymer are being used to design revolutionary products.

These products meet and exceed the ongoing demands of law enforcement, military and civilian customers for firearms that demonstrate the very best in reliability, durability and safety of use. Their high-tech engineering and construction create a handgun that can stand up to punishment that even the most unforgiving conditions can generate.

In practice, she maneuvered a time of 31.862 seconds equaling a speed of 169.481 MPH positioning herself 27th on the charts.

Theriault drew the ninth position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.

"The car is good, we're tight off, but we'll be fine. We had a tire rub at the beginning of the run and we had to come in and fix it. It's a good piece that we have this weekend and I think with the adjustments we're going to make, we'll be in great shape for qualifying and the race. I've never been to Chicagoland Speedway, but I can tell you it's a fast place, no room for error. The fans should see a good race tomorrow and we plan to have our No. 37 GLOCK Chevrolet in the hunt." The Chicagoland ARCA 200 (134 laps/200 miles) is the 20th of 23 races on the 2007 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule. The seventh ARCA race held at Chicagoland Speedway is a two-day show. ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying is set for later in the day at 5:00pm Local Time. The event will take the green flag, Saturday, September 8 shortly after 1:00pm Local Time. The race will be televised live on SPEED with additional race coverage online at arcaracing.com.

-credit: Chris knight

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Frank Kimmel , Andy Belmont , Andy Hillenburg , Mike Harmon , Jason Hedlesky , Blake Feese , Justin Marks , John Hayden , Joey Miller , Jeff Spraker , Phillip McGilton , Bryan Silas , Blake Bjorklund , Dexter Bean , Pierre Bourque , Billy Tanner , Patrick Sheltra , Michelle Theriault , Gabi DiCarlo , Brett Hudson