Chris Buescher Leads Open ARCA Test at Rockingham Speedway (ROCKINGHAM, N.C) - Chris Buescher drove the fastest lap of the three-hour morning ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards test session at Rockingham Speedway, topping the...
Chris Buescher Leads Open ARCA Test at Rockingham Speedway
(ROCKINGHAM, N.C) - Chris Buescher drove the fastest lap of the three-hour morning ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards test session at Rockingham Speedway, topping the chart in 24.726 seconds (145.596 mph), and his lap stuck as the day's best after five hours of afternoon testing. The test helped drivers and teams to prepare for Saturday's American 200 presented by Black's Tire and Auto Service, the 2010 season finale.
Buescher, the driver of the No. 17 David Ragan Fan Club Ford for Roulo Brothers Racing, has two ARCA Racing Series wins in 2010 (both at Toledo Speedway) and spoke about Rockingham Speedway's challenging conditions.
"It's slick here, for sure. You definitely have to slow your pace down a little bit around here. You experience less and less bite every time around," said Buescher. "We were a little snug, but I think that's kind of a common problem around here."
Buescher was happy to have an additional day of driving on a track where he has made just one ARCA start.
"It's huge, especially with all the cars that showed up and you can get a lot of track time on a day like this. It's real nice on a track I haven't had a lot of time on. Every lap counts," Buescher said.
Scott Wimmer, testing the No. 31B Richard Childress Racing Development Chevrolet, charted second in 24.731 seconds (145.566 mph). Championship contender Craig Goess, who is 10 points behind Patrick Sheltra for the ARCA Racing Series points lead, was third at 24.781 seconds (145.273 mph) in the No. 81 Eddie Sharp Racing Toyota.
Ty Dillon of Richard Childress Racing and Steve Arpin of Venturini Motorsports filled out the remainder of the top five. Chad McCumbee, Frank Kimmel, Joey Licata Jr., Kevin Swindell, and Chad Finley rounded out the top ten. Each of the seven fastest speeds came in the morning session.
Finley earned last season's Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell at the track in 24.492 seconds (146.975 mph), a Rockingham ARCA record.
Series points leader Patrick Sheltra finished 19th on the day's overall chart. Joining him in his quest for the 2010 title was 2009 ARCA Racing Series champion Justin Lofton, who drove the No. 60 Sheltra Motorsports Toyota for several laps to assist Sheltra.
"(Lofton) has been here and won the championship, so we couldn't think of a better guy to come over here and help us out a little bit. We're both feeling the same thing in the car, so we're going to put our heads together," Sheltra said.
Lofton finished the day 17th.
"It's really cool to have Patrick ask me to come down to just kind of confirm things and feel out his race car. It's cool to think that someone I ran against last year really looked up to me in that way and wants my knowledge," Lofton said. "Coming back to Rockingham, it's a great place for me. Unfortunately, we never won a race here but we won the championship here and that's a whole lot cooler than winning a race. It's a great place to race, and I'm really excited to be down here with everyone, and to see Sheltra Motorsports and Eddie Sharp Racing compete for a championship."
Indeed, with Lofton and the Sheltra camp parked next to Eddie Sharp Racing, the team with which Lofton won his championship, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver felt a familiar connection to his former mates.
"It's like I told them, I'm not really doing much. I just came down here to help out," Lofton said. "By the looks of things, the (ESR) 81 has really got it together. It's a great looking race car, which I know personally; it was the car I drove last year. It's really cool to see that car still running good, and to watch these guys work hard like they always do and running for the championship."
Driving the chassis Goess will enter this weekend, Lofton finished third in last season's American 200 to clinch the series championship over race winner Parker Kligerman.
Tom Hessert, who currently stands third in points, finished the day 16th.
Rockingham's slick surface gave several drivers trouble, forcing the use of backup cars for two drivers in the top 11 of the series standings.
Robb Brent's No. 36 Allgaier Motorsports Dodge suffered heavy rear end damage in the morning session, and Tim George Jr. experienced severe right front corner damage in the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Development Chevrolet in the afternoon. George's original car, which had finished 10th at Pocono in June and won twice in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with RCR driver Kevin Harvick in 2006, was replaced by a chassis which George drove to eighth place at Michigan in June.
Max Gresham (No. 71 Gresham Motorsports Toyota) was forced to retire after an afternoon crash, and Licata Jr. (No. 50 TMT Racing Dodge), who had hoped to make his ARCA Racing Series debut, was forced to search for a backup car after a crash halfway through the afternoon session. Licata's Dodge had just posted the fastest lap of the afternoon session, and ended the afternoon second behind Arpin.
Practice for the American 200 presented by Black's Tire and Auto Service begins tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. and will last for 90 minutes. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell begins at 2:30 p.m. Live audio coverage and live timing and scoring of all events will be presented by ARCA Nation and the ARCA Racing Network at ARCARacing.com.