Practice Notes & Quotes Thursday, June 14, 2007 Making their only trip to the "Motor City" this season, the ARCA RE/MAX Series held their first and only practice session Thursday morning in preparation for ARCA SIM Factory Pole qualifying set...
Practice Notes & Quotes
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Making their only trip to the "Motor City" this season, the ARCA RE/MAX Series held their first and only practice session Thursday morning in preparation for ARCA SIM Factory Pole qualifying set for later this afternoon. Following qualifying, the anticipated 41-car field will be impounded in preparation for Friday's race. Teams endured warmer than normal temperatures for June at MIS during the two hour session. Today's activities are setting up for tomorrow's ARCA 200, the 11th installment on the 2007 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule.
Here is what some of the drivers are saying from the practice session.
DEXTER BEAN, NO. 6 FIVE STAR TELECOM CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS
Dexter Bean, a sophomore driver on the ARCA RE/MAX Series tour posted the 22nd fastest lap with a time of 40.695 seconds at 176.926 MPH.
The Westby, Wisconsin native enters Michigan coming off a career-best second place finish last Saturday at Pocono Raceway. In that race, Bean led a race-high 19 laps before settling up for the runner-up position. The finish marked the fourth top-five finish of his career.
Bean returns to Michigan with an impressive two top-10 finishes in three starts. Last season, Bean collected a ninth place finish in the summer event. His other top-10 occurred in August 2005 when his family owned BlackJack Racing team ran a limited schedule.
Entering the 11th race of the season, Bean trails third place Bobby Gerhart competitor by 20 points. He trails second place runner Justin Allgaier by 45 points and 160 points from first, held by eight-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel. Bean outran the top-three points competitors last weekend.
The BlackJack Racing team has brought a brand new Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS to Michigan International Speedway this weekend. The team has been preparing the new automobile since January. The team plans to run the new machine in several upcoming events this season. The team's backup machine is the same racecar that Bean nailed his second place effort at Pocono Raceway.Bean drew the 38th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"We're okay. This is a brand new car and we're trying to work out the bugs. We're going to make some changes before qualifying and hope they work out. I really think we will qualify a lot better than we practiced. We usually race a lot better than we practice or qualify, so I'm sure it's going to be another race sporting that statistic."
DOMINICK CASOLA, NO. 1 A. CASOLA FARMS FORD FUSION
New Jersey native Dominick Casola will make his Michigan International Speedway debut Friday behind the wheel of the No. 1 A. Casola Farms Ford Fusion for veteran ARCA RE/MAX Series owner Andy Belmont.
Casola enters MIS on the heels of a career best 14th place finish last Saturday at Pocono Raceway. Casola is also on a string of four consecutive top-20 finishes. He finished 18th at Toledo, 16th at Kentucky Speedway, another 16th place effort in his debut at Iowa Speedway before stepping it up a notch with his first top-15 finish of the season at Pocono Raceway.
The former USAR (United Speed Alliance Racing) Series competitors turns to MIS hoping to maneuver his first top-10 effort Friday afternoon.
Competing in nine of a possible 10 races this season, Casola sits 18th in the championship standings just 190 markers from 15th place competitor Darrell Basham. Car owner Jennifer Belmont also locks 18th in ARS car owner standings.
The team is carrying sponsorship from A. Casola Farms, a family-owned business based out of New Jersey.
Andy Belmont served as spotter for today's practice guiding his developmental driver around the high-banked two-mile oval.
In practice today, Casola turned a time of 40.766 seconds at 176.618 MPH putting him 26th on the practice rundown overall.
Casola drew the 32nd position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"This place is cool but terrifying. We had a very good practice. The car is good. Andy Belmont and the Andy Belmont Racing team did an absolutely awesome job preparing our A. Casola Farms Ford Fusion for tomorrow's race. I'm feeling really good about the race and everyone on the team is really pumped up."
ALEX GARCIA, NO. 7 DIXIEN-OMNISOURCE-PRIME METAL COATINGS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO
NASCAR Busch Series rookie Alex Garcia will attempt to make his Michigan International Speedway debut on Friday afternoon behind the wheel of the No. 7 Chevrolet Monte Carlo for Transnet Racing.
Garcia, a native of Venezuela will attempt to make his second ARS start tomorrow.
Last season at Salem Speedway, Garcia started 28th and rallied to score a 20th place finish.
Garcia is dabbling with the ARCA RE/MAX Series to enhance his NASCAR Busch Series program for the remainder of the 2007 schedule before turning all efforts towards a full NBS schedule in 2008.
Garcia's next scheduled race following Michigan is the NASCAR Busch Series debut in Canada at Circuit Gilles Villenueve on August 4th.
In practice today, Garcia mounted a time of 41.647 seconds at 172.882 MPH positioning himself 31st on the practice rundown overall.
Garcia drew the 33rd position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"We're a lot better than when we tested and that's a good thing. The Transnet Racing crew has done a great job getting this car prepared for this race. We're going to make some additional adjustments and I'm confident we're going to qualify solidly into the show. Once we're in, we plan to compete in all 100 laps and go home with a solid top-20 finish."
JIM HOLLENBECK, NO. 62 SPECTRA CONTRACTING FORD FUSION
Hollenbeck will attempt to make his second start at Michigan International Speedway on Friday afternoon.
The second generation driver hopes to put two Hollenbecks into the field on Friday with father Larry Hollenbeck also attempting to qualify for the ARCA 200.
In practice today, Hollenbeck posted a time of 42.172 seconds at 170.729 MPH positioning himself 33rd on the practice rundown overall.
Hollenbeck drew the 33rd position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"We didn't get a whole lot of practice time because of the starter issue. We're working on it now, trying to get it fixed in time for qualifying. Overall, the car is running really good and I'm excited about our chances of racing on Friday afternoon. We'll make a few minor adjustments and give it our all in qualifying later today."
MIKE HARMON, NO. 38 RICHARDSON-NETZLOFF-HARMON RACING CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS
Harmon, a veteran on the ARCA RE/MAX Series tour enters Pocono looking to make his 82nd career start at a track where Harmon think owes him one.
Last year at Michigan International Speedway, the veteran racecar driver collected disappointing finishes here in 2006. However, coming off a solid 16th place finish at Pocono Raceway, Harmon heads into the 11th race of the season with some momentum and hoping to back-up last week's performance.
Harmon will be pulling double-duty this weekend as he will head to Kentucky Speedway to drive the No. 48 Richardson-Netzloff-Harmon Racing entry in the NASCAR Busch Series event.
The team is looking for sponsorship for the remainder of the 2007 ARCA RE/MAX Series season.
In practice today, he posted the 30th fastest time with a time of 41.550 seconds at 173.285 MPH.
Harmon drew the 26th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"I'm satisfied. The car is running really good. We need to rebound from atwo poor finishes here last year and I think we're on the right track to make that happen. The team is going to tweak the car a little bit and we should be good to go the rest of the weekend."
DAMON LUSK, NO. 25 DYNATEK-PANELITE-RACE CITY STEEL DODGE CHARGER
Damon Lusk returns to the ARCA RE/MAX Series circuit for the first time since the 2007 opener at Daytona International Speedway.
Carrying the No. 25 for Venturini Motorsports, Lusk looks to make his 51st ARS start on Friday afternoon.
Former Lusk sponsor Dynatek returns on the hood of the No. 25 this weekend.
During his career that spans eight years, Lusk has achieved two wins (Atlanta and Pocono Raceway, 2002), 10 top-fives, 23 top-tens, 255 laps led and two ARCA SIM Factory poles.
Hoping to find additional sponsorship to run the remainder of the 2007 season, Lusk hopes to finds his MIS magic from 2002 when he claimed the runner up position.
This morning, Lusk carried his No. 25 to the 19th quickest lap with a time of 40.214 seconds transferring to a speed of 179.042 MPH.
Lusk drew the 18th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"We're a little tight, but the car is handling good. I'm really happy about how quick this deal has come together and we're able to come out here and perform like we have. We're going to make a change or two preparing for qualifying and I think we have the capabilities of putting our No. 25 Dynatek-Panelite-Race City Steel Dodge into the top-10."
PHILLIP MCGILTON, NO. 47 SIPERFORMANCE FORD FUSION
Phillip McGilton returns to Michigan International Speedway with confidence following a strong open test at MIS last month. During the eight-hour test, McGilton maneuvered the fourth fastest effort and considerably ran stronger than his other competitors on race runs.
The Brewco Motorsports team is debuting a brand new Roush-Yates motor package for Friday's ARCA 200.
Sitting sixth in the championship standings, McGilton is searching for his second top-five finish of the season and his fifth top-10 effort of the year.
After two weeks with Danny Gill aboard, Shawn Parker resumes the crew chief role of the No. 47 SIPerformance Ford Fusion. Parker is married to former ARS driver Deborah Renshaw.
The team has brought the same automobile than ran with at Pocono Raceway last weekend. McGilton appeared to be heading towards a top-five finish but tire woes late in the race dissolved the strong finish.
The Marion, Illinois native bolted around the Brooklyn, Michigan based track in a time of 39.526 seconds amounting to a speed of 182.159 MPH, locking him sixth on the charts.
McGilton drew the 36th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"The car is real good. The team is working really hard to put a good qualifying setup underneath our SIPerformance Ford Fusion. We ran most of practice in race trim and I was happy with the outcome. I really think our Brewco Motorsports team is going to be a factor during qualifying and the race tomorrow."
PATRICK SHELTRA, NO. 60 CP CONCRETE PRODUCTS, US CONSTRUCTION, FLORAGANICS-BRADY RANCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS
ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie Patrick Sheltra will make his 13th ARS start on Friday afternoon driving for Premier Motorsports, owned by businessman Dan Kinney.
Rolling into Michigan, Sheltra sits 10th in the championship standings in nine of a possible 10 races this season, while also collecting a career best top-10 finish at Kentucky Speedway last month.
Sheltra, nicknamed "Mr. Showtime" will make his second start at Michigan International Speedway this week. Last June, Sheltra drove for long-time ARCA competitor Ken Schrader. After notching towards the top-15, engine failure removed Sheltra from the hunt. After a solid season in the No. 60 this year, Sheltra is looking to rebound.
The team welcomes CP Concrete Products and US Construction onboard as primary sponsors for the 11th race of the season.
His team manager is John Hayden, a former ARCA RE/MAX Series driver.
In practice, the Florida native maneuvered a time of 40.731 seconds equaling a speed of 176.770 MPH positioning himself 24th on the charts.
Sheltra drew the 28th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"We're tight. The car is running really tight. I really like it here at Michigan International Speedway, but we need to get our Premier Motorsports car handling a little better. We're going to put the car on the scales before qualifying and adjust a few things to loosen it up, but I think we should be good to go."
BRYAN SILAS, NO. 11 NORTRAX, SHELL ROTELLA T, HOLLAND PUMP, PALM BEACH GRADING (PBG) CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO
Fresh off another solid showing last Saturday at Pocono Raceway, Bryan Silas invaded Michigan International Speedway with some confidence and a year older.
Wednesday, Silas celebrated his 20th birthday.
Silas will make his Michigan International Speedway debut on Friday. After spending eights hours of testing in the open session last month, the Fast Track Racing team is turning focus towards racing conditions.
Driving for two-time ARS champion Andy Hillenburg, Silas inched forward in the points standings to ninth sitting five markers ahead of 10th place runner Patrick Sheltra.
Silas will be running double duty this weekend at MIS. In addition to ARCA, Silas will attempt to make his third NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start of the season behind the wheel of the No. 71 Nortrax-Palm Beach Grading-Fast Track High Performance Driving School Chevrolet Silverado for Fast Track Racing.
Silas, a native of Stuart, Florida posted the 18th fastest time with an effort of 40.189 seconds equaling a speed of 179.154 MPH.
Silas drew the 44th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"We're solid. I'm really happy with the way things are going this weekend. We're off to the same type of start we've had the last couple of weeks. Everyone makes changes before qualifying and we're no different. I'm looking forward to qualifying and I think we can lay down a lap that will be competitive and we can get a good starting position for tomorrow's race. I want to thank Fast Track Racing and all of our sponsors for all their support."
CHRIS WIMMER, NO. 32 RED LINE OIL DODGE CHARGER
Wimmer will make his ARCA RE/MAX Series debut behind the wheel of the No. 32 Red Line Oil Dodge for Country Joe Racing Friday afternoon.
Michigan International Speedway marks the first of several planned attempts for the former American Speed Association (ASA) driver.
Wimmer is the brother of NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series driver Scott Wimmer.
Country Joe Racing turns the wheel to the younger Wimmer after NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (NNC) rookie Johnny Sauter piloted the No. 32 machine to a 21st place effort at Pocono Raceway last Saturday.
Country Joe Racing holds the team honor of the 2005 and 2006 ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie-of-the-Year with drivers Joey Miller and Blake Bjorklund.
During practice Friday morning, Wimmer secured the 10th fastest time with a quick lap of 39.851 seconds at 180.673 MPH.
** NOTE ** Country Joe Racing lost their primary engine shortly into the first practice. The team has reverted to a backup engine for the remainder of the race week.
Wimmer drew the third position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"The car is great, but I wish we would have been able to get a little more track time. I'm not really sure what happened to the motor, but she blew. The Country Joe Racing guys have done a great job this morning. We were fast right off the hauler. They are putting the backup motor in and we're going to be just fine. I think we still can come away with a top-10 starting position in qualifying."
The ARCA 200 (100 laps/200 miles) is the 11th of 23 events on the 2007 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule. ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying is set for later in the day at 3:00pm Local Time. The event will take the green flag on Friday at 5:00pm Local Time. The race will be aired live on SPEED with additional race coverage online at arcaracing.com
-credit: Chris Knight