Empire Racing tops charts at final Daytona ARCA test

Sean Corr fastest in his Ford Fusion.

It just wasn't enough for Empire Racing to top the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards charts in open testing at Daytona Int'l Speedway back in December. One month later, Empire returned and did it again, topping the charts with the No. 48 Hylton-Empire Ford Fusion with Sean Corr at the helm Friday afternoon at the "World Center of Racing". Corr (in photo above) was fastest overall with a speed of 187.692 mph. 

Then, in the final seconds, right before the five o'clock closing bell, his Empire Racing teammates Austin Hill and Patrick Staropoli drafted their way to the front, taking their places in second and third right behind the boss. 

"I thought we'd have our hands full with three cars...I can't believe how amazing this crew was today," Corr said. "We don't have a lot of guys. I thought they'd be completely overwhelmed but they had a game plan for everything...they were amazing. We brought that other Ilmor (396 engine) car down. We just measured everything exactly from my car...mimicked every line, everything the exact same way. It was the perfect three-car train. We may have to turn that third car into an Ilmor. All three are planning to come back for the race." 

Newcomer Austin Hill, with a legacy engine, was second overall at 187.165 mph in the No. 8 Ford Fusion, sandwiched in between Corr and Staropoli. Staropoli, whose speed was 187.126 mph in the No. 82 Ford Fusion, made it to the test just in time.

'Eventful day' 

"It was an eventful day," Staropoli said. "Drove down at the last second. I had an exam in Miami this morning. Drove up right after that...got here about 3:30. Everyone was drafting at that point. That last run...wow...it was the best run all day. We came down with a different car this time...had the Ilmor motor in it. It pulled a little better, but all three of Empire's cars were great. I want to thank American RF for helping me get here. I learn more every time I go out there...I'm really excited for the race." 

Matt Kurzejewsi, with Brian Keselowski crew-chiefing, was fourth fastest overall in the No. 54 Dodge at 187.029 mph. 

Jones and Kimmel fast in Venturini cars

Venturini Motorsports teammates Brandon Jones and Frank Kimmel were fifth and sixth on the speed charts. Venturini had just announced the day before that Jones and Kimmel would split the season in the No. 25 Toyota Camry car, each taking 10 races. Jones, however, won't turn 18 until after the upcoming Daytona race, leaving the seat open for Kimmel. 

"Overall, a really good day for both Venturini cars," Kimmel said. "I couldn't be happier. The motor performed well...it really gets up and goes. Fun to drive." 

Kimmel is the all-time ARCA winner with 80 wins but none at Daytona. 

"I came in with a lot of confidence and I'm leaving with even more. I'd have to say this will be one of my best shots to finally win this thing. I've got the speed...got the equipment, but I still need to get it done."

Ryan Heavner, in the No. 19 Chevy Impala, was seventh overall on the charts ahead of Will Kimmel in eighth. Kimmel's effort in the No. 69 Kimmel Racing Ford garnered a good deal of attention as the only car in the garage wearing the new ARCA Racing Series composite body. The event marked the first appearance of the new body on a track more than a mile length.

 "Everything went really good," Will Kimmel said. "The new Five Star body performed great...no loose ends, nothing moving in the draft. Overall, I'm really happy with it. I think ARCA's going to do really well with this car. We had to make some changes to the car to get it to run faster when you're carrying that much body, but it responded to all our changes and went fast. I was pleasantly surprised." 

Newcomer Daniel Hemric and defending ARCA Racing Series champion Mason Mitchell rounded out the top-10 respectively.

 Thirty-eight drivers posted time and speed during the one-day test cut short by three hours in the morning due to wet track conditions. Despite all night rains, cars were on track by noon and went all the way, without pause, up through 5 p.m. There were no on-track incidents. 

Race set for February 14

The 63rd season for the ARCA Racing Series will kick off at Speedweeks at Daytona with its first practice session Thursday, February 12 from 4:00-6 p.m. ET with the second and final practice session following Friday morning at 9:30, February 13. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell will take place at 3:30 Friday afternoon, which will be done in group sessions. The Lucas Oil 200, which serves as the preamble for NASCAR's Sprint Unlimited, is set to get the green flag at 4:15 Saturday, February 14. 

ARCAracing.com will feature live timing and scoring of all on-track activities as well as an open chat board for commenting.

 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards

Daytona Int'l Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fla. Open Test Results (1-16-15)

POS NO NAME TIME SPEED MAKE
1 48 Sean Corr 47.951 187.692 Frd
2 8 Austin Hill 48.086 187.165 Frd
3 82B Patrick Staropoli 48.096 187.126 Frd
4 54 Matt Kurzejewski 48.121 187.029 Chv
5 25B Brandon Jones 48.131 186.990 Tyt
6 25 Frank Kimmel 48.141 186.951 Tyt
7 19 Ryan Heavner 48.183 186.788 Chv
8 69 Will Kimmel 48.189 186.765 Frd
9 92 Daniel Hemric 48.217 186.656 Chv
10 98B Mason Mitchell 48.257 186.501 Frd
11 90B Grant Enfinger 48.274 186.436 Chv
12 98 Austin Wayne Self 48.276 186.428 Frd
13 83B Derrick Lancaster 48.296 186.351 Chv
14 52 Mark Thompson 48.390 185.989 Chv
15 22 Blake Jones 48.426 185.851 Dge
16 77 Tom Hessert 48.522 185.483 Dge
17 30 Terry Jones 48.543 185.403 Dge
18 17 Buster Graham 48.716 184.744 Frd
19 19B Dalton Hopkins 48.778 184.509 Chv
20 6 Russ Dugger 49.133 183.176 Chv
21 10 Kody Swanson 49.211 182.886 Frd
22 57B Bryan Dauzat 49.334 182.430 Chv
23 90 Scott Sheldon 49.376 182.275 Chv
24 58A Kaz Grala 49.402 182.179 Frd
25 9 Thomas Praytor 49.539 181.675 Frd
26 2 Tommy Barrett 49.635 181.324 Chv
27 10 Ed Pompa 49.657 181.243 Chv
28 57 Matt Frahm 49.831 180.610 Chv
29 57A Andy Seuss 50.123 179.558 Chv
30 97K Mark Montgomery 50.220 179.211 Dge
31 99B Kyle Weatherman 50.225 179.194 Frd
32 99 Buster Graham 50.441 178.426 Frd
33 58 Michael Lira 50.450 178.394 Frd
34 83 Derrick Lancaster 50.637 177.736 Dge
35 97M Eric Caudell 50.706 177.494 Dge
36 12 Tyler Audie 50.956 176.623 Dge
37 97A Cassie Gannis 51.208 175.754 Dge
38 73 Dale Shearer 54.938 163.821 Frd

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Frank Kimmel , Tom Hessert , Mark Montgomery , Brian Keselowski , Terry Jones , Mark Thompson , Will Kimmel , Kody Swanson , Matt Kurzejewski , Sean Corr , Russ Dugger , Grant Enfinger , Ed Pompa , Buster Graham , Mason Mitchell , Thomas Praytor , Daniel Hemric , Austin Hill , Andy Seuss , Michael Lira , Tyler Audie , Scott Sheldon
Article type Testing report
Tags arca, daytona