Record Turnout of ARCA RE/MAX Series Testers at Daytona Venturini Motorsports, Country Joe Racing Top Speed Charts DAYTONA BEACH FL (12-17-07) -- In preparation for the 45th annual ARCA 200 at Daytona, a record 79 drivers and 68 racecars ...
Record Turnout of ARCA RE/MAX Series Testers at Daytona
Venturini Motorsports, Country Joe Racing Top Speed Charts
DAYTONA BEACH FL (12-17-07) -- In preparation for the 45th annual ARCA 200 at Daytona, a record 79 drivers and 68 racecars participated in the three-day ARCA RE/MAX Series open test this past weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Daytona Int'l Speedway.
And despite the record turnout and a healthy crop of development teams on the grounds, it was, in the end, ARCA RE/MAX Series regulars' Venturini Motorsports and Country Joe Racing that topped the speed charts.
Venturini Motorsports, renowned for their restrictor plate savvy, was quickest in single car runs with Canadian rookie Ryan Fischer in the driver's seat. Fischer circled the legendary 2.5-mile superspeedway in 49.558 seconds, an average speed of 181.605 mph.
Fischer, from the province of British Columbia, edged Roush Fenway Racing powerhouse teammates' Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Erik Darnell, who were second and third on the single car speed charts with speeds of 181.580 mph and 181.243 mph respectively. Stenhouse, from the open-wheel ranks, recently announced that he would be running the full 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule under the Roush Fenway Racing banner. Darnell won two RE/MAX Series events in 2007 at Kentucky and Michigan while participating in the full NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule.
Country Joe Racing's James Buescher was fourth quickest overall in single car runs ahead of Mario Gosselin (DGM Racing) and five-time and defending ARCA 200 at Daytona winner Bobby Gerhart (Bobby Gerhart Racing). The event marked Gerhart's return to the cockpit after recovering from injuries sustained in a crash at Pocono Raceway in July of 2007. Former series Rookie of the Year Chad Blount (Jones Group Racing), Dominick Casola (Country Joe Racing), Ed Kennedy (Ralph Solhem Racing) and Matt Carter completed the top-10 fastest drivers in single car runs. Carter, son of longtime NASCAR car owner Travis Carter, was aboard nine-time ARCA RE/MAX Series car owner champion Larry Clement's no. 46 Ford Taurus, the same ride recently vacated by Frank Kimmel.
Buescher, who became the youngest winner in ARCA RE/MAX Series history at 16 with his victory at USA Int'l Speedway in March of 2007, was, however, quickest in the draft after series officials opened up the test to four and five car drafts late Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
Buescher, in the no. 9 Country Joe Racing Dodge Charger, topped the speed charts in drafting with a time of 49.191, an average speed of 182.960 mph. Donny Lia (HT Motorsports), John Townley (RAB Racing), Stenhouse, Jr., Darnell, Chase Austin (Rusty Wallace Inc.), Dexter Bean (Spraker Racing Enterprises), JR Heffner (74 Operations, LLC), Tayler Malsam (Cunningham Motorsports) and Patrick Sheltra (Sheltra Motorsports) completed the top-five best speeds in the draft. Lia's effort (182.678 mph) was the best among the Toyota teams in attendance, which included the 2007 Talladega winner Michael Annett (Bill Davis Racing) and Eddie Sharp Racing's two car team with Formula 1 veteran Scott Speed and Ken Butler, III driving.
Nine-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel tested a Dodge Charger for the first time under the Kimmel Racing/Cunningham Motorsports banner. Kimmel, who adorned the no. 44 -- the same number his father Bill Kimmel, Sr. used throughout his career -- was 18th fastest in the draft with a speed of 179.756 mph. In single car runs, Kimmel could do no better than 38th quickest at 177.880 mph.
Other notable drivers testing over the weekend included 2007 Indy 500 winner and IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti, who was 23rd fastest (178.384 mph) overall in single car runs in a Ganassi Racing Dodge, and Landon Cassill, who, in a Hendrick Motorsports Chevy, placed 16th fastest in the draft and 45th overall in single car runs. NASCAR veteran driver/champion David Green was on hand to assist Cassill.