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Apr 04, 2013 - 03:12 PM
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Venturini Motorsports 'Wide Open' In Talladega ARCA Open Testing; Townley, Duno, Armstrong, Boston Lead
Posted by: newsla on Apr 04, 2013 - 03:11 PM
NASCAR News
Venturini Motorsports 'Wide Open' In Talladega ARCA Open Testing; Townley, Duno, Armstrong, Boston Lead


Wide open space. That's how New Castle, Indiana's Caleb Armstrong described Talladega Superspeedway Wednesday after taking his first laps around the 2.66-mile track during ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards open testing.

 

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Known for its spectacular three- and four-wide 200 mph mad scrambles, Talladega is the widest among the superspeedways that ARCA races on, and at times, the wildest.

"What struck me most about Talladega, in comparison to Daytona, was the wide open space," said Armstrong, as if he were describing the 'wild west'.

"There is so much more room. Daytona is a lot narrower than it looks on TV. Talladega is one awesome track. We started out pretty quick, fell back a little, but I think we could have been faster had it not rained."

Persistent rain showers cut today's test session about three hours short of the intended mark, but not before 17 drivers posted time and speed.

And if Armstrong "fell back a little", it wasn't much. Armstrong, the cousin of Dakoda Armstrong (ARCA winner at Talladega in 2010), was third fastest overall (179.108 mph), and third among his Venturini Motorsports teammates, led by Daytona winner John Wes Townley.

"The test was great," Townley said.

"We unloaded, made a few changes - some things we wanted to try, and picked up right where we left off (at Daytona). Despite the rain, I think we got what we needed. This is the same car we won with at Daytona, and it's still fast."

Townley, of Watkinsville, Ga., agreed with Armstrong regarding the wide open space at Talladega.

"The biggest thing that stands out to me is the room you have to race at Talladega. It gets a little edgy at Daytona when you start going three wide, but here (Talladega), you can run three-wide comfortably, and squeeze in a fourth car when you need to."

Venturini Motorsports led the charts, taking the top-four spots with Townley, in the No. 15 Zaxby's Toyota, the quickest overall with an average speed of 180.264 mph.

Milka Duno, who qualified second at Daytona, leading the first 11 laps, was second fastest overall. The Caracas, Venezuela driver, in the No. 35 CANTV-Milka Way Toyota, circled the track Wednesday with an average speed of 179.625 mph.

Baltimore, Maryland rookie Justin Boston, in the No. 25 ZLOOP Toyota, was fourth fastest overall at 178.720 mph.

"I thought the test went really good," Boston said.

"Collectively, as a (Venturini Motorsports) group, it was awesome. For me, personally, it was a comfort thing - building my confidence for when we return. But today was really more important for us as a team, than for me as a driver.

"The track definitely feels a lot bigger (than Daytona) going down the straightaways. The other difference I noticed was the access roads - getting onto and exciting pit road is different."

Current ARCA Racing Series point leader Mason Mingus, also in a Toyota, was fifth fastest overall at 177.854 mph.
Former Talladega polesitter Tom Hessert was sixth on the charts with an average speed of 177.745 mph in the No. 77 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge.

Former Talladega winner and eight-time Daytona winner Bobby Gerhart was seventh overall in the No. 5 Lucas Oil Chevrolet.

Gerhart tested two cars, a newer machine and an old reliable car he calls "Sweet Pea". Gerhart's Sweet Pea is the same car that he won in at Talladega in 2001. It's also the same car that got wrecked in a multi-car pile-up at Talladega during last year's race.

"Both of the cars we tested are former Daytona winners. In fact, there are four Daytona wins between these two cars - two apiece. One of our goals was to find out which car is the best, and leave it at that."

Hessert's Cunningham Motorsports teammate, rookie Korbin Forrister, was eighth fastest followed by fellow rookies Cody McMahan (Wes Gonder Racing) and Galen Hassler (Carter 2 Motorsports) to complete the top-10 respectively.

ARCA Racing Series open testing is scheduled to continue Thursday, barring no rain. ARCAracing.com will feature live timing and scoring.

The two-day scheduled test is in preparation for the 51st annual Talladega ARCA 250, live on SPEED at 5:00 p.m. eastern Friday, May 3.

Former Talladega ARCA winners include Ramo Stott, Mark Martin, Davey Allison, Red Farmer, Grant Adcox, Charlie Glotzbach, Jimmy Horton, Tim Steele, Mike Wallace, Paul Menard, Frank Kimmel, Justin Allgaier and Ty Dillon to name a few.

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