ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series Notes, Pre-Atlanta Motor Speedway Rookie David Keith was quickest in a February 25th ARCA test session at the Atlanta Motor Speedway posting a speed of 184.985 mph in preparation for the March 12th Johnson ...
ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series Notes, Pre-Atlanta Motor Speedway
Rookie David Keith was quickest in a February 25th ARCA test session at the Atlanta Motor Speedway posting a speed of 184.985 mph in preparation for the March 12th Johnson Industries-EasyCare 300k. That’s unofficially faster than the ARCA track record at Atlanta set by Bobby Hamilton, Jr. at 184.345 mph in November of ’98. Keith, scheduled to make his ARCA debut at AMS, is penciled in to run selected ARCA superspeedway races in ’99 driving Ford Tauruses for NASCAR Winston Cup driver and former ARCA Rookie of the Year Jeremy Mayfield and Winston Cup car owner Michael Kranefuss. The new Mayfield-Kranefuss ARCA team will carry primary sponsorship from K-Mart.
NASCAR Busch Series driver Jimmy Kitchens was 2nd quickest in the Atlanta test session at 179.767, but more than 5 mph off Keith’s top mark. Bill Baird checked in 3rd quickest at 178.608 followed by last year’s AMS season finale winner Mike Swaim, Jr. at 178.206, Dill Whittymore, who returns full-time to the ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series schedule in ’99, at 177.692, the ’99 Daytona ARCA 200 winner Bobby Gerhart at 177.181, Ron Cox at 177.011, Carl Long at 176.955, Christian Elder at 175.166 and Jon Herb at 174.340 to complete the top 10.
Billy Venturini, son of 2-time ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series champion Bill Venturini, will make his return to ARCA competition in Atlanta in a family-owned #25 Chevrolet Monte Carlo with primary sponsorship from Permatex. "I’m very happy to have Permatex on the car for Atlanta," said the young Venturini. "Over the years they’ve helped this team and myself, and it’s great to have them back. Now the plan is to get the #25 up front and get a good finish." Permatex has been associated with the Venturini race team for years most notably with the senior Venturini’s 1987 ARCA championship run when the team was fielded by the Permatex Blue all female pit crew.
Ford Motor Company and TOSCO Marketing Company have stepped up their contingency and point fund award programs with ARCA for 1999. Competitors who compete with Ford or Lincoln-Mercury vehicles powered by Ford engines will receive an additional $2,000 for winning an ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series race, $1,000 for 2nd and $750 for 3rd. Ford Motor Company will also provide $5,000 to the champion should that driver be in a Ford. TOSCO, makers of 76 Performance Products, will award $600 for first, $400 for 2nd and $200 for 3rd at all ARCA superspeedway events in ’99 as well as provide a 76 Race Gasoline Point Fund; $5,000 for the champion, $2,500 for 2nd and $1,000 for 3rd.
Additionally, three new race event sponsors have come on aboard the ARCA schedule for ’99 including Jasper Engines & Transmissions who will sponsor the June 25th Toledo Speedway event as well as the July 31st Flat Rock Speedway date. Both events will be recognized as Jasper Engines & Transmissions 150s. The August 22nd race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield has a new title sponsor compliments of PAR-A-DICE Hotel and Casino in East Peoria, Illinois. The event will be officially known as the PAR-A-DICE 100.