Draft Opens at Daytona: Gordon, McCumbee Lead Way at Top of Second Day's Test Chart
(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) - With under one hour remaining in the second day of ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards testing at Daytona International Speedway, five cars set out to draft, in turn creating the highest speeds seen yet this week.
Benny Gordon, a NASCAR Nationwide Series driver looking to make the first start of his ARCA Racing Series career in February 12's Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona, topped the chart by turning his 49th of 58 laps in the No. 09 Enfinger Motorsports Ford in 48.414 seconds (185.897 mph), just edging the 48.427-second (185.847 mph) lap from Chad McCumbee (pictured), his 16th of 25 afternoon laps in the No. 1 Andy Belmont Racing Ford.
Drafting was allowed this afternoon for the first time in two days of testing at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.
"We have, obviously, a really good car right now. We did a lot of qualifying runs the first thing this morning and the car's pretty decent by itself, but the car's extremely fast in the draft. We hung around that top 10 in qualifying trim and qualifying runs, but in the draft it was really good," Gordon said.
McCumbee finished in the top 10 in each of the last five races last season, and with a full season's slate ahead of him, saw today's strong performance as a potential wave of momentum for continued success in 2011.
"It's so far, so good," McCumbee said. "The Andy Belmont Racing guys have really worked over the offseason and we've brought in some new people. The first couple days working with (crew chief) Wayne Carroll have been great. We're still off from where we'd like to be, obviously. We've got some more to do that we haven't shown."
Of the other three cars involved in the leading draft at approximately 4:15 p.m., Ty Dillon drove the No. 41 Richard Childress Racing Development Chevrolet to the third position, Sean Corr was fourth in the No. 82 Empire Racing Ford, and Joey Licata Jr. reached the fifth spot in the No. 77 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge.
Chad Hackenbracht, Hal Martin, Kyle Fowler, and Steve Arpin all posted speeds higher than any seen in the previous three sessions. Milka Duno finished the session 10th, matching her previous best mark of 48.673 seconds (184.907 mph). Just 0.259 second separated the top 10 drivers.
Six-time Daytona winner Bobby Gerhart finished the session 25th, following a best lap of 49.578 seconds (181.532 mph). Nine-time ARCA Racing Series champion Frank Kimmel elected not to participate in the afternoon session. Though drafting practice was allowed in the afternoon, numerous drivers chose not to participate or to simply make single-car runs, as had been allowed in the previous three sessions.
In all, 39 drivers turned laps in 42 different cars in the afternoon session.
Open testing for teams and drivers will conclude Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. Only single-car runs will be allowed in the morning, and drafting will be permitted in the afternoon.
The 2011 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season will mark the sanctioning body's 59th year of competition and begins with the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, February 12. The event will air live on SPEED.