DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. * The first day of testing for the ARCA Re/MAX series at Daytona International Speedway began just as the series' race ended during Speedweeks 2002 * rain shortened. Rain soaked the Speedway most of the day and prevented the...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. * The first day of testing for the ARCA Re/MAX series at Daytona International Speedway began just as the series' race ended during Speedweeks 2002 * rain shortened.
Rain soaked the Speedway most of the day and prevented the 40 teams at Daytona from taking to the track. That meant Christian Fittipaldi, driver for Petty Enterprise's No. 44 team, would have to wait another day for his first laps at Daytona International Speedway.
"I've been here to the track a couple of times but I have never raced here before," said Fittipaldi. "Kyle and Richard (Petty) have talked to me. Richard - that guy has stories, a lot of stories about this place - they've tried to help me as much as they could."
A star in the open-wheel arena, Fittipaldi says his plan is to race five or six ARCA Re/MAX series events in 2003 for Petty Enterprises while concentrating on NASCAR Winston Cup series competition.
"We're concentrating more of our efforts on the Cup side," said Fittipaldi. "We're talking about running both the the ARCA race and the Daytona 500 in February, but that's something we don't know yet. For sure we'll be running the ARCA race in February. That's one of the reasons why we're testing right now. Obviously everyone's goal is to do Cup, and to go to Cup well prepared the training ground is ARCA. Especially since the cars are so similar. ARCA is a good series no doubt about it.
"It's a big honor to be a part of this group with the Pettys. If you're a racer in America and up to a certain point on worldwide standards, Daytona is the place to be. There's a lot of history behind this place. The Daytona 500 is by far one of the most important events worldwide. Going to Daytona in this country is like going to Monaco if you're a Formula 1 driver. It's where you want to be."
The Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 may not be Fittipaldi's first race at Daytona however. That opportunity may come his way when he races against his boss Kyle Petty in the upcoming Rolex 24 At Daytona.
"There's a good possibility that I will do the Rolex 24 here this year," said Fittipaldi. " I haven't run the Rolex 24 before, so this would be the first time."
Kyle Petty is scheduled to drive the Rolex 24 at Daytona with Orbit Racing February 1-2. Petty raced with Orbit the last two years, with his highest finish in the race coming in 2001 in the GT class when the team finished fourth.
"I think the testing days we have here I'm going to try and get prepared here the best I can and come back in February and be as competitive as possible."
Testing for the Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 ARCA Re/MAX series race continues Saturday. Oldfield Grandstand access is free and open to the public during testing with access through the lobby of DAYTONA USA. Tickets for Speedweeks 2003 events can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway Ticket Office at (386) 253-7223.