Rookie Steve Arpin Fastest in ARCA RE/MAX Series Open Testing at Rockingham Speedway; 22 Test in Prep for American 200 Championship Weekend ROCKINGHAM NC (9-23-09) - Rookie Steve Arpin, in a Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet, led the speed charts...
Rookie Steve Arpin Fastest in ARCA RE/MAX Series Open Testing at Rockingham Speedway; 22 Test in Prep for American 200 Championship Weekend
ROCKINGHAM NC (9-23-09) - Rookie Steve Arpin, in a Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet, led the speed charts in ARCA RE/MAX Series open testing Wednesday at Rockingham Speedway.
The Fort Frances, Ontario driver circled the historic one-mile oval in 24.877 seconds, an average speed of 144.712 mph.
"The biggest thing we have been working on today is learning the place; learning tire management and getting me acquainted with what that's all about," said Arpin. "We got a really good car. The Venturini's have had a good car every time they have come here. We are just going to do it again."
To say the Venturini's have had good cars at Rockingham could be an understatement. In the last two ARCA races at Rockingham, the Venturini's have won both with Joey Logano in 2008 and earlier this year with Sean Caisse. Arpin's in the same no. 25 car that carried Logano and Caisse to victory lane.
"This place is awesome," added Arpin. "Of all the places we go this is my favorite. It's racy. It has three or four distinct grooves. It's going to be a lot of fun."
Arpin was one of 22 drivers that posted time and speed at Rockingham Wednesday in preparation for the October 11th ARCA RE/MAX American 200, all part of championship weekend for the 57-year-old tour.
Troutman, North Carolina driver Clay Rogers, also in a Chevrolet, was second fastest overall with a time of 25.014, an average speed of 143.919 mph.
With just two events remaining in 2009 (Kansas Speedway Oct 1 and Rockingham Speedway Oct 11), Justin Lofton and rookie Parker Kligerman are in a very tight title fight with Lofton leading by just 25 points.
Kligerman, the 19-year-old Penske Development Driver, was third fastest overall in a Cunningham Motorsports Dodge.
"The biggest thing at the Rock is making the tires last," said Kligerman. "This is a very abrasive surface. In the spring we did a hundred lap run, so we are working towards that. If we keep a consistent, balanced car then the speed will come. Today, we have changed springs, shocks, a lot of stuff to keep the car balanced. Right now we are taking this thing one race at a time. We go to Kansas next and if we get the job done, we will come here with the points lead."
Justin Marks, in a second Venturini Motorsports Chevy, was fourth fastest overall.
"We are just working on the long runs," said Marks. "The tires fall of so quick that the handling goes away so fast. We are trying to tune the car to run on old tires and try to make it work on long runs. In the spring race they ran green for a long time. Trying to get a good balance to where we can move up the track a little bit and get a good car when the tires fall off.
Marks considers Rockingham his favorite track.
"I love this place," added Marks. "It is my favorite track. You can move around and find a place where your car works and where it is fast. It's a big challenge. It's racing where you have to be smart to win, which is the kind of racing that I like."
Rookie Casey Roderick, in a Dodge, was fifth fastest overall ahead of ARCA point leader Lofton, who was sixth fastest.
"The car is really good," said Lofton. "This is the car that we should have brought to the first race. We are really excited about it and glad we got the day in, considering the rain. We have the same car we won Pocono and Chicagoland with, and we are hoping we are going to bring home a win from the Rock. (Crew Chief) Mark Rette and I are making really big changes and we have a different set up from previous races. Coming back to the Rock, a track that has so much history, makes me look forward to an exciting championship weekend."
Rookie Craig Goess, in a Toyota, was seventh fastest in front of Pensacola, Florida rookie Johanna Long, who was eighth fastest in a D'Hondt Motorsports Toyota. Long also made the most laps during the open test, circling the track 149 times.
"I'm excited to learn more about Rockingham's characteristics today with some experienced drivers," said Long, who made her ARCA RE/MAX Series debut at Iowa Speedway earlier this year. "Brian Ickler and I race Super Late Models together, so I am looking forward to having track time with him in ARCA RE/MAX. At 17, this is a great opportunity to get some track time and gain a lot of collective knowledge from the veteran team at D'Hondt motorsports and my peers."
Drew Herring and Kyle Martel were ninth and 10th fastest overall.
Championship weekend for the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Rockingham Speedway gets underway with practice on Saturday, October 10th from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell follows Saturday at 2:30 PM. The ARCA RE/MAX American 200 is scheduled to roll off at 1:00 PM Sunday afternoon, October 11th.
The ARCA RE/MAX American 200 will feature live timing and scoring and live streaming audio at ARCAracing.com. The race will also air same night on SPEED at 10:00 PM Eastern.
For more information about the ARCA RE/MAX American 200 or the accompanying USARacing Aaron's 150 October 9-11 or to order tickets, please contact the Rockingham Speedway at (910) 205-8800 or visit our website at www.rockinghamspeedway.com. Tickets begin at $20 for single-day reserved seating with $5 back-to-school special pricing for students. Weekend and pit passes are also available.