LICATA SHOWS WELL IN ARCA TESTING AT DAYTONA
LAKE BALBOA, CALIF. (January 17, 2011) -- Back-to-back ASA TRUCK SERIES champion Joey Licata, Jr. finished sixth overall out of 58 competitors that participated in the ARCA Racing Series testing last week at Daytona International Speedway.
Licata, 19, is a member of the Ron Sutton's Winner's Circle driver development program based in Sacramento, CA. Penske development team, Cunningham Motorsports, ran Licata in their famed #77 Dodge at the three day Daytona test, in preparation for the 2011 ARCA season.
Despite this being Licata's third ever time in an ARCA car and his first time on the newly repaved Daytona, Licata was up to speed quickly.
"I was very impressed with how fast Joey adapted to the speed of the famed 2.5 mile Daytona International Speedway," Crew Chief Paul Andrews said. "With the new pavement and no more large bumps we are seeing faster speeds than last year. It's very challenging for a veteran let alone a rookie who has never been on a track larger than a 1 mile."
Licata's banner day came on Wednesday afternoon during the drafting sessions, when he was fifth fastest at 185.670 miles per hour. His lap time of 48.473 was just .059 seconds off of the leader.
"We made single car runs for the first day and a half, and then it was time to draft with several other cars," Andrews said. "(It was) another impressive outing, learning how the draft works figuring out where to be or not to be in the draft is very important. He listened to our input...we had a great test and are look forward to going back with Joey."
Licata's laps on Wednesday placed him sixth overall during the three day testing session.
With the successful test, Licata backed up his strong speeds in practice at Rockingham last fall and in testing at Caraway Speedway. Licata looks to be well-prepared to tackle the "Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200" which will be live on SPEED on February 12.
"To actually do laps at Daytona was one of the greatest experiences of my life," Licata said. "Running with a team of the caliber of Cunningham Motorsports was like nothing I have experienced before. My goals for this first race are to stay out of trouble, be smooth in the pits, and get a good solid finish."
Licata's opportunity to race for Cunningham Motorsports in the ARCA Racing Series is a big moment for the Ron Sutton's Winner's Circle program. It encompasses 27 drivers from all over the world with a NASCAR-oriented development platform.
Licata has rapidly ascended through the program, showing exceptional race craft and talent along the way. His 2010 season was highlighted by five poles and four wins including a victory in his first career NASCAR Modified start.
"Joey's performance at Daytona has made us all very proud. He has a ton of talent and heart," Driver Coach Ron Sutton said. "This is sure to be just the first of many big accomplishments for this young man as he makes his way in big league motorsports!"
-source: joey licata jr PR