ARCA BONDO/MAR-HYDE SUPERCAR SERIES CONCLUDES DAYTONA TEST Tripp fastest on Sunday, Hillenburg confident at test's end
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 17) -- Perry Tripp posted the fastest speed of the day Sunday at Daytona International Speedway as ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Supercar Series stock cars finished their three-day test session in preparation for the Feb. 11 Daytona ARCA 200.
Tripp's lap of 187.500 mph in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo continued the trend of falling lap speeds over the course of the three-day session as ARCA officials evaluated carburetor restrictor plate size and rear spoiler rules for 1996.
ARCA President Bob Loga said that he and ARCA Competition Director Joe Wells would probably issue a technical bulletin within the next two weeks regarding '96 specs.
On the race track Sunday, Florida Late Model standout Pete Orr was at 184.805 mph in another Monte Carlo. Rounding out the top five were Tennessean Randal Ritter in a Monte Carlo at 184.087, C.W. Smith in a Chevy Lumina at 183.673 and Harris DeVane in a Ford Thunderbird at 183.599.
The True Value Firebird IROC cars will open a three-day test session Monday with drivers Dave Marcis, Dick Trickle and Jim Sauter scheduled to be on hand. A section of the Oldfield Grandstand will be open with access through the Visitors' Center and guided tours will be available.
Defending ARCA 200 winner and '95 Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series champion Andy Hillenburg ended the ARCA session using a back-up, short track engine, but he and crew chief Tim Kohuth were pleased with what they found out at the test.
"We hadn't planned on doing this (engine swap) but our primary engine went bad on Friday," said Kohuth, who was reveling in his first December test at Daytona with Ken Schrader Racing. "We just wanted to make as many laps as we could. It ended up being a pretty good test, even though we put a hole in the oil pan on our last run!"
Kohuth is looking at masterminding his third straight victory in the ARCA 200, which Mike Wallace won in 1994 prior to Hillenburg's '95 score. The team's primary car will be a Monte Carlo purchased from Diamond Ridge Racing, which Steve Grissom drove to seventh in the '95 Daytona 500.
The Chevy Lumina that Hillenburg drove to victory in last year's ARCA race is being re-skinned as a Monte Carlo and will serve as the team's back-up car.
"We've won here the last two years without ever testing here in December," noted Kohuth, "so we feel like we're ahead of the game. We could take this car back, paint it and set it aside."
Hillenburg noted that his program for the coming year with Schrader at the least would include roughly 10 ARCA races, 10-15 NASCAR Busch Series shows and as many as five NASCAR SuperTruck events. Kohuth is licking his lips over the pair's Daytona Busch Series debut, in the Feb. 17 Goody's Headache Powders 300.
"I've been here for both races (ARCA 200 and Goody's 300) for a number of years," said Kohuth of Schrader's pole and runnerup Goody's 300 run in 1993 and a fourth place finish in '91. "We always find something out the first week that we can use on the Busch car. If I had to, I'd put the set-up we have on this (ARCA) car now on the Busch car and not be unhappy."
While Hillenburg will not defend his ARCA championship, the proprietor of the Fast Track Driving School in Charlotte, N.C., is looking forward to more than the one-race deal he had with Schrader and Kohuth in 1995.
"I am really looking forward to coming back here to defend the ARCA 200 win, and to making my first start in the Goody's 300," said Hillenburg. "We've got the confidence that winning last year gave us, and Timmy and I communicate real well.
"People look at our personalities and can't understand that, but when we get to the race track we're all business and we get with the program. Winning both races would be a tall order, but we feel like we'll be competitive enough to do it."
Advance reserved seat tickets for the Daytona ARCA 200 and Busch Clash of '96 doubleheader, set for noon on Sunday, Feb. 11, are available in the Roberts Tower for $55 each. For the Goody's 300 on Saturday, Feb. 17, advance reserved seat tickets are available ranging in price from $35-$70. To order tickets or for information on any Speedweeks '96 events, call the Daytona Ticket Office at 904-253-RACE (7223).
ARCA TEST SPEEDS* -- Sunday, Dec. 17 NO DRIVER/CAR TIME SPEED 6 Perry Tripp/Monte Carlo 48.00 187.500 88 Pete Orr/Monte Carlo 48.70 184.805 31 Randal Ritter/Monte Carlo 48.89 184.087 28 C.W. Smith/Lumina 49.00 183.673 33 Harris DeVane/Thunderbird 49.02 183.599 52 Andy Hillenburg/Monte Carlo 49.19 182.964 15 Dale Kreider/Lumina 49.70 181.087 97 Shane Doles/Grand Prix 49.74 180.941 32 Mark Stahl/Thunderbird 49.82 180.650 48 Jeff Jones/Grand Prix 52.50 171.429 0 Delma Cowart/Thunderbird 52.89 170.164 69 Glenn Miller/Thunderbird 53.54 168.099 99 Drew White/Grand Prix no time no speed * = Randomly hand-timed and from various sources, using a variety of restrictor plates.