Hal Martin, Grant Enfinger Lead Thursday Sessions; Benny Gordon Finishes Daytona ARCA Test as Overall Leader
(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) - Yesterday, Benny Gordon drove Grant Enfinger's car to the lead position on the overall ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards testing chart at Daytona International Speedway. Today, Enfinger put his own name one slot below Gordon's on the same list.
Enfinger drove the No. 36 Allgaier Motorsports Dodge to a best lap of 48.418 seconds (185.881 mph) in this afternoon's drafting session, achieving a time just four thousandths of a second off of Gordon's leading time in yesterday's drafting session. Gordon finished as the overall test leader, while Enfinger took the session and the second overall spot for the three-day test.
Brian Rose and James Hylton tied for second in the afternoon drafting session at 48.664 seconds (184.942 mph). Joey Licata Jr. and Jason Bowles completed the top five for the afternoon. Milka Duno, Kevin Swindell, Randy Renfrow, Brent Brevak, and six-time Daytona winner Bobby Gerhart comprised the remainder of the final session's top 10.
Numerous teams, such as Richard Childress Racing, Kimmel Racing, and Enfinger Motorsports, elected not to participate in the final day's testing. Other teams, including Venturini Motorsports and Andy Belmont Racing, chose to finish at the lunch break, having already achieved their goals for the week.
Hal Martin, driver of the No. 55 Toyota for Venturini Motorsports, explained his team's decision to finish after today's three-hour morning session.
"We had a game plan coming into this test session. We were able to run through our list of things we wanted to try and see what benefited the car and what hampered our performance. We got our checklist done and completed, so we're done," Martin said just before 12 p.m.
Martin led the morning session - reserved for single-car runs only - with a lap of 48.815 seconds (184.37 mph). Venturini swept each of the top four morning positions, with Kyle Fowler (No. 15), Steve Arpin (No. 25), and Mark Thompson (No. 66) falling in line behind Martin.
However, Martin's quick morning time was over 0.11 second behind his time from the previous morning, and nearly 0.13 second off of Fowler's leading time in the same Wednesday session. Fowler's Wednesday lap of 48.668 seconds (184.926 mph) registered as the best in a single-car-only session, and 13th overall.
"It's windier today, that's for sure. We had a little bit of a headwind going down the backstretch, which slowed us down a little bit. Other than that, our cars are quick. The Venturini guys put in a heck of a lot of work coming in and leading into this week and this test session, and the cars are all fast. The cars are performing like they should be," Martin said.
Bobby Dale Earnhardt, the 23-year-old son of ARCA winner Kerry Earnhardt and grandson of the late NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, drove his best morning lap in 50.477 seconds (178.299 mph) to finish 22nd of 33. He improved to 50.452 seconds (178.387 mph) in the afternoon and finished 21st of 23. Earnhardt's 21 laps in the No. 3 Brevak Racing Ford were his first on a superspeedway.
The final top 10 for the three-day ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards test at Daytona International Speedway is as follows: 1. 09 - Benny Gordon, 48.414 seconds (185.897 mph); 2. 36 - Grant Enfinger, 48.418 (185.881); 3. 1 - Chad McCumbee, 48.427 (185.847); 4. 41 - Ty Dillon, 48.431 (185.831); 5. 82 - Sean Corr, 48.432 (185.828); 6. 77 - Joey Licata Jr., 48.473 (185.670); 7. 58 - Chad Hackenbracht, 48.522 (185.483); 8. 55 - Hal Martin, 48.609 (185.151); 9. 15 - Kyle Fowler, 48.652 (184.987); 10. 25 - Steve Arpin, 48.66 (184.957).
Excluding only Enfinger's lap this afternoon, nine of the top 10 times for the week came in Wednesday's afternoon drafting session.
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards returns to central Florida in 26 days, as February 8 marks the opening of preparation for the February 12 Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona International Speedway. The 80-lap, 200-mile race - the first of 19 races in 2011 - will air live on SPEED and open the 59th season of competition for the developmental stock car tour.