Making their second trip to the tricky Nashville Superspeedway Friday, the ARCA RE/MAX Series held their first and only practice session of the day leading up to ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon. Friday's lone practice...
Making their second trip to the tricky Nashville Superspeedway Friday, the ARCA RE/MAX Series held their first and only practice session of the day leading up to ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon. Friday's lone practice session was held under record heat conditions. Following qualifying, the anticipated 41-car field will be impounded in preparation for Saturday's race. The green flag will waive Saturday, August 11, 2007 shortly after 2:30pm with live coverage on SPEED.
Here is what some of the drivers are saying from the practice session.
MICHAEL ANNETT, NO. 32 TMC TRUCKING DODGE CHARGER
Des Moines, Iowa native Michael Annett returns to the ARCA RE/MAX Series on the heels of a strong run earlier this season at Iowa Speedway.
Driving for County Joe Racing (CJR), Annett showed strong potential by posting solid practice laps. He would further storm his way into stardom by capturing the ARCA SIM Factory pole award. A threat in the event, Annett showed patience and maturity en route to a third place finish.
This weekend, Annett returns with Country Joe Racing looking to continue the strong momentum and post a top-10 finish in his speedway debut.
Country Joe Racing along with Annett participated in the open test session at Nashville Superspeedway last month. Unofficially, the team racked in the 10th fastest time. The team, however left the track with unfinished business as Mother Nature rolled in and canceled several hours of the remaining open practice.
When not competing in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, Annett is showing strong results in the ASA Late Model Challenge Series driving the TMC Trucking entry.
In practice today, Annett posted the 13th quickest lap producing a time of 31.080 seconds transferring to a speed of 154.402 MPH.
Annett drew the 22nd position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"We are in great shape. The car is going to run better during the race than it will in qualifying. We were faster on thirty lap tires than on stickers. The Country Joe Racing team has given me another stout racecar and I'm looking forward to the rest of the weekend."
DEXTER BEAN, NO. 6 FIVE STAR TELECOM CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO
Dexter Bean, a sophomore driver on the ARCA RE/MAX Series tour posted the 16th fastest time of the day with a quick lap of 31.173 seconds at 153.941 MPH.
The Westby Wisconsin native returns to Nashville Superspeedway looking for his second top-10 finish in four starts. Earlier this year, Bean and eight time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel wowed the crowd with an intense five lap battle which didn't end until Bean surged ahead of the reining champ coming to the start-finish line on the final lap.
Bean enters Nashville after notching a seventh place run at Pocono Raceway last Saturday. The run was the third top-10 in four career starts at Pocono Raceway.
The team brought a new shock package from Wood Brothers-JTG Racing hoping for advantage at Nashville Superspeedway.
Entering the 15th race of the season, Bean trails second place Michael McDowell competitor by 60 points. He trails second place runner Michael McDowell by 135 points and is 155 points from first, held by eight-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel. Bean knocked 90 points off that lead with his stellar run at Pocono Raceway last weekend.
The BlackJack Racing team has brought the same Chevrolet Monte Carlo the team raced at Pocono Raceway last weekend while putting in a Tesar motor that was run in the first Pocono Raceway event which saw Bean collect a second place finish.
It is also the same automobile that Bean has competed with at Nashville Superspeedway in April, Kansas Speedway, Kentucky Speedway (May), Iowa Speedway and both Pocono Raceway events.
In 14 events this season, Bean has collected two top-fives and six top-10s. With his top-10 run last weekend, Bean eclipsed his 2006 season stats which saw Bean notch two top-fives and five top-10s.
Bean drew the 17th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"We're not as quick as we want to be. We didn't pick up as much as we would have liked on our sticker run, so the guys are going to make some adjustments and hope they work in qualifying. This is an important race for us. We need to keep our string of consistent finishes going. The field looks pretty competitive, so we just have to catch up with the rest of them."
DAN BRODE, NO. 62 A. CASOLA FARMS-ANDY BELMONT RACING
Mocksville, North Carolina's Dan Brode has left Carter-2-Motorsports and landed a new gig with Andy Belmont Racing (ABR).
Brode is carrying the A. Casola Farms colors this weekend in support of teammate and close friend Dominick Casola, driver of ABR primary entry.
Heading into Nashville, Brode has one career start in the ARCA RE/MAX Series coming at Iowa Speedway driving for C2M (Carter-2-Motorsports). He finished 21st after starting 25th.
This weekend's goals for Brode are simple. Run competitively and finish the race.
The Ford Fusion he is piloting this weekend is nicknamed "Oklahoma".
At the present time, this is a one-race deal with Andy Belmont Racing, but the duo hopes to make arrangements to soar Brode into more events this season.
In practice today, Brode turned a time of 32.255 seconds at 148.777 MPH putting him 35th on the practice rundown overall.
Brode drew the 29th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"We're going to be fine. Andy Belmont and his team have given me a competitive racecar. We tried a few things and I think what we found late will help us the rest of the weekend. I want to thank everyone who made this trip to Nashville possible. I'm not worried about the race, we just need to reel in a good finish."
DOMINICK CASOLA, NO. 1 A. CASOLA FARMS FORD FUSION
Casola in his inaugural year on the ARS tour will make his second career start at Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday afternoon. The New Jersey native is driving for veteran car owner Andy Belmont of Andy Belmont Racing.
The likable rookie enters Nashville on a high note after notching a eighth place finish including leading three laps at Pocono Raceway last weekend.
His run inched him past Brad Smith in the ARCA RE/MAX Series championship standings rising from 18th to 17th heading into Saturday's TOYOTA ARCA 150. Casola is only 60 markers behind his next competitor Darrell Basham and 150 credits from entering the top-15. The former USAR (United Speed Alliance Racing) Series competitor looks to net his second top-10 in a row tomorrow afternoon.
Andy Belmont Racing elected to bring the same Ford Fusion they ran at Pocono Raceway last weekend along with a new motor courtesy of Roush-Yates motors.
The team is carrying sponsorship from A. Casola Farms, a family-owned business based out of New Jersey.
In practice today, Casola turned a time of 31.909 seconds at 150.390 MPH putting him 27th on the practice rundown overall.
Casola drew the 12th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"The car has a lot of power. But, I can't get it to turn the way I need it to. The guys are working really hard to put a comfortable setup underneath me for qualifying. The last time we were here, we picked up a bunch, I expect the same today. The car is in great shape. It's all about finishing this race. I think we can put together another top-10 run tomorrow, we just need a little luck too."
JOSH CLEMONS, NO. 21 GRAND VICTORIA-PREMIER MORTGAGE FUNDING-DOUBLETREE OF OPRYLAND FORD FUSION
New Albany Indiana's Josh Clemons returns to the site of his first career ARCA RE/MAX Series top-10 this weekend and the youngster is looking for his third career top-10 in Saturday's TOYOTA ARCA 150.
Clemons is hoisting the No. 21 for Jack Bowsher Motorsports & Associates in an effort to keep the 2007 ARCA RE/MAX Series owners point up for the team for the remainder of the season.
The team is carrying sponsorship from the Grand Victoria, Premier Mortgage Funding and DoubleTree Hotel of Opryland in the 14th ARS event held at Nashville Superspeedway.
Clemons Racing is running a limited schedule this season with hopes to find the additional backing which will leap the team further into a championship contending mode for 2008.
Clemons also recently became a father after longtime girlfriend Nicole Collins gave birth to a healthy baby girl on August 5. Taylor Alexis Clemons weighed in at five pounds, 11 ounces. She was 19 and a half inches long. Both daughter and mother are doing exceptionally well.
In practice today, Clemons turned a time of 32.643 seconds at 147.009 MPH putting him 37th on the practice rundown overall.
Clemons drew the first position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"We can't be happy with that lap. We're struggling a little bit, but we've been known to find the speed when we need it. It's frustrating because we've come here before and been very competitive, but we'll get everything figured out and focus on qualifying and the race."
BLAKE FEESE, NO. 95 SCOTTISH RITE-FPC DODGE CHARGER
On the string of two consecutive top-10 finishes in a limited ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule this season, Blake Feese returns to the site of his first career victory hoping to rekindle the Nashville love with his third ARCA victory in Saturday's TOYOTA ARCA 150.
Feese driving for Sadler Racing, based out of Tennessee has brought the same machine they ran strong with at Kansas Speedway and Kentucky Speedway hoping the success will continue in their backyard on Saturday.
The team is continuing their association with the Scottish Rite and the Fuel Performance Catalyst (FPC), for the 14th ARCA race held at the 1.333-mile facility.
Following Nashville, the next scheduled ARCA RE/MAX Series race for Feese and the Sadler Racing team will be Chicagoland Speedway for the ARCA 200 on Saturday, September 8, 2007 if funding becomes available.
In practice today, Feese turned a time of 31.194 seconds at 153.837 MPH putting him 17th on the practice rundown overall.
Feese drew the 30th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"The car is really good. We didn't make a qualifying run, we're concentrating more on the race. We know that we'll have a car capable of coming from anywhere in the field, but we wanted to make sure we had a setup that would work to our advantage in the race. I'm really proud of all the guys. I have a good feeling about tomorrow."
MIKE HARMON, NO. 38 RICHARDSON-NETZLOFF-HARMON RACING--RADISSON OF OPRYLAND CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS
Harmon, a veteran on the ARCA RE/MAX Series tour enters Nashville looking to make his 85th career start. Harmon also looks for his second consecutive top-10 run in Saturday's TOYOTA ARCA 150.
Last weekend at Pocono Raceway, Harmon busted off a great top-10 effort after starting 25th, deep in the field. He charged through the field to lead two laps before settling for his ninth career top-10 finish.
The Birmingport, Alabama native is hoping to continue the momentum heading into Saturday's event while looking to improve on the team's disappointing 27th place run in April.
The team has picked up associate sponsorship for Saturday's race from the Radisson of Opryland.
Harmon did not post a lap during practice as the team was plagued by an oil leak.
The team spent the entire practice working to fix the issue and should be set for activities later this afternoon.
In practice today, he posted the 27th fastest time with a time of 58.406 seconds at 154.094 MPH.
Harmon drew the 32nd position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"For the second straight week, we've had problems in practice. But the last time it happened, we came out of it with a top-10 finish. Hopefully we'll be able to bounce back from this weekend's hiccup and put in a good performance. I think ARCA is going to let us make a simulating run before qualifying and then we'll just have hold nothing back in qualifying and the race.
"PATRICK SHELTRA, NO. 60 CP CONCRETE-US CONSTRUCTION FLORAGANICS-BRADY RANCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS
After a nice 11th place run at Pocono Raceway last weekend, Florida's Patrick Sheltra is gunning for his third top-10 finish of the season while also hoping to continue to inch their way forward in the championship standings.
The rookie will make his 16th ARCA start on Saturday driving for his family owned Sheltra Motorsports. Rolling into Pocono, Sheltra sits
eighth in the championship standings just 20 markers from seventh while competing in 13 of a possible 14 races this season.
Sheltra has also recorded two top-10 finishes this season including a fabulous performance at Berlin Raceway where Sheltra maneuvered his Chevrolet into the fourth position. In May, Sheltra tackled Kentucky Speedway to record another top-10 finish.
Sheltra, nicknamed "Mr. Showtime" will make his second start at Nashville Superspeedway in Saturday's TOYOTA ARCA 150. In April, Sheltra qualified a strong 11th before slipping back in the rundown to log a 25th place finish. His team manager and crew chief is John Hayden, a former ARCA RE/MAX Series driver who recorded a career best finish at Nashville Superspeedway of third in 2002.
For the first time in his ARCA career, Sheltra will carry an on-board camera Saturday for the 15th ARCA race of the season. Sheltra is hoping the extra exposure will be a good luck charm, helping reel in a good finish.
In practice, the Indiantown, Florida native maneuvered a time of 31.082 seconds equaling a speed of 154.392 MPH positioning himself 14th on the charts.
Sheltra drew the 16th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"The car is really good. We're strong. I know we still have a lot left on the table. What a turnaround from the last time we were here. Our focus is to keep running strong and put ourselves in contention for a top-five championship finish. We'll be good the rest of the weekend."
BRYAN SILAS, NO. 11 NORTRAX, SHELL ROTELLA T, HOLLAND PUMP,
PALM BEACH GRADING (PBG) CHEVORLET MONTE CARLO
Bryan Silas returns to Nashville Superspeedway banking on the recent open test success will pay dividends in Saturday's TOYOTA ARCA 150.
Silas also looks to the "Music City" hoping to attract his fourth top-10 finish of the season after cooking up his last top-10 run, a eighth place finish at Kentucky Speedway last month.
In April, Silas rose to the attention of becoming a sleeper for the Nashville ARCA 150, but an engine failure halted that effort.
Silas will be plenty busy in August competing in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and United Speed Alliance Racing (USAR) Hooter's Pro Cup Series.
Driving for two-time ARS champion Andy Hillenburg, the team sits ninth in the championship standings heading into the 15th race of the 2007 season.After two races piloting a Ford Fusion, the team has reverted back to a Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the 14th ARCA race held at Nashville Superspeedway.
Silas, a native of Stuart, Florida posted the 19th fastest time with an effort of 31.270 seconds equaling a speed of 153.463 MPH.
Silas drew the 41st position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"Our car is really good. We're a little tight, but not to worry, we'll be fine in qualifying and the race. The test was crucial for us and it's paying off. The car is strong enough where with a little luck we can post a top-10 finish. I like this track a lot and the heat is not affecting me, so I'm ready to go for the rest of the weekend."
BILLY TANNER, NO. 07 CHEAPCARIBBEAN.COM CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO
After finishing a career best 14th last Saturday at Pocono Raceway, Billy Tanner invades Nashville Superspeedway looking for more, much more.
Hoping to find a tune of their own in Saturday's TOYOTA ARCA 150, the team has brought the same Chevrolet Monte Carlo they competed with at Pocono Raceway.
Sailing into Nashville, Tanner, 25 is in the seventh of 12 races with SCR (Stott Classic Racing) and sponsor CheapCaribbean.com, as the group is using this season as track time to prepare for a full season run in 2008.
Despite never having the opportunity to race at the 1.333-mile speed plant, Tanner participated in the open test at Nashville Superspeedway last month. While the results weren't spectacular, the team isn't breaking a sweat. The car the team participated with is a test car only and with the pressure off until race weekend, the team reverted to seat time only for Tanner.Tanner, a promising driver from Newtown, Pennsylvania is scheduled to make five more starts for Stott Classic Racing (SCR) this season. Following Nashville, the team also plans to run at The Milwaukee Mile in two weeks.
During the only practice today, Tanner clicked off the 28th fastest lap with a time of 31.991 seconds equaling a speed of 150.005 MPH.
Tanner drew the second position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"We're fine. We didn't make a qualifying run on purpose. There is no need to go out there and nail the throttle and risk losing the car. Corrie and the guys have done a great job preparing this car for tomorrow's race and I think you'll see a lot more out of us by the end of the weekend. We have some confidence rolling over from Pocono, so I think we be in good shape."
MICHELLE THERIAULT, NO. 37 GLOCK, INC. CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS
Female sensation Michelle Theriault returns to the ARCA RE/MAX Series this weekend looking to make her third career start in Saturday's TOYOTA ARCA 150.
Driving for veteran car owner Jeff Spraker, Theriault is hoping to back up her promising testing times from Nashville Superspeedway last month and award the Spraker Racing Enterprises team with their first top-10 finish of the season.
Theriault has been spending her season competing full time in the NASCAR Busch East Series also driving the No. 37 GLOCK, Inc. Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS. Currently, she sits 12th in the championship standings with two top-10 finishes. Her next NBES event is scheduled for next Saturday, August 18 in Lime Rock.
Theriault has two previous starts in the ARCA RE/MAX Series at USA International Speedway (March) and Kentucky Speedway (May). She qualified exceptionally well in both races. Her best finish in those two events came in Sparta, Kentucky where she maneuvered her black and white machine to a 22nd place finish.
Car owner Jeff Spraker will serve as Theriault's spotter and coach in Saturday's event.
Theriault's sponsor GLOCK, Inc. is proud to announce that the Tennessee Highway Patrol (G31 and G33), Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (G22, G23 and G27), Tennessee Wildlife Resource Center (G22) and the Metro Nashville Police Department (G22) currently carry GLOCK pistols. Following Nashville, the next scheduled ARCA RE/MAX Series race for Theriault and the Spraker Racing Enterprises team will be Gateway International Raceway for the Gateway ARCA 150 on Friday, August 31, 2007.
Theriault is one of four female competitors attempting to make the TOYOTA ARCA 150. In addition to Theriault, Erin Crocker (No. 98), Gabi DiCarlo (No. 90) and Deborah Renshaw (No. 75) also participated in Friday's practice session. She ranked second overall in the female category following practice.
During the only practice today, Theriault clicked off the 11th fastest lap with a time of 30.993 seconds equaling a speed of 154.835 MPH.
Theriault drew the 13th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"I am so glad we tested. It really paid off for us. I'm really proud of the entire Spraker Racing Enterprises team. We came here hoping to back up our test and we did that with flying colors. With this run, I'm really looking forward to the rest of the weekend. I'm appreciative to Jeff and the team for their support and our sponsor GLOCK, Inc. is one of the best sponsors in the world. I know a top-10 finish would be a huge reward for us tomorrow."
WAYMAN WITTMAN, NO. 80 STAN HOVER MOTORSPORTS FORD FUSION
Wayman Wittman driving for veteran car owner Stan Hoover will attempt to make his second of three ARCA RE/MAX Series starts this season in Saturday's TOYOTA ARCA 150.
Wittman has never seen Nashville Superspeedway before today, but is hoping that the experience and knowledge of his team will pay off in qualifying and the race.
Last weekend, Wittman made his first ARCA start since 2002 but didn't reel in the finish the team was looking for. After qualifying 32nd, the team was forced to exit the event earlier after battling an oil leak issue. The team finished 37th.
Following Nashville, the next scheduled ARCA RE/MAX Series race for Wittman and the Stan Hover Motorsports will be Talladega Superspeedway for the Food World 250 on Friday, October 5, 2007.
Wittman is a native of Appleton, Wisconsin.
During the only practice today, Wittman clicked off the 29th fastest lap with a time of 32.045 seconds equaling a speed of 149.752 MPH.
Wittman drew the 24th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"We did not make a sticker run, but our times are pretty solid. I spent the first laps really learning this place and then feel into a position where I followed some of the stronger cars and really found a good line. Stan Hover and the team have prepared a good piece for this race and I know we would like to have a good run tomorrow to bounce back from our disappointment from Pocono, but give us some more momentum heading into Talladega."
-credit: chris knight