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ARCA News & Notes From Daytona; 70-Plus ARCA Drivers Test
Posted by: newsla on Dec 23, 2013 - 06:36 AM
ARCA News & Notes From Daytona; 70-Plus ARCA Drivers Test

Drivers from 28 states, four Canadian Provinces and Sweden, England and Australia converged on Daytona Beach, Florida for the annual ARCA Test leading to the Feb. 15 Lucas Oil 200 presented by MAV TV American Real at Daytona Int'l Speedway. Over 70 drivers took part in the three-day test, which saw 49 different race cars on track. There were no on-track incidents.


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Venturini Motorsports led the speed charts overall with 2013 SCOTT Rookie of the Year Justin Boston, who circled the 2.5-mile superspeedway in 49.019 seconds, a top speed of 183.602 mph. Defending race winner, John Wes Townley, gave the Venturini team a clean sweep of the top two positions with the second best speed - 183.501 mph.

The Daytona ARCA event will open the season for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards for the 51st consecutive season in 2014. Bobby Gerhart brought four Lucas Oil-MAV TV Chevrolets to the test in his effort to grow his all-time record eight victories in the Daytona ARCA race, first run in 1964.

Cunningham Motorsports also made a big splash with four drivers testing, including rookies Tyler Reddick (fifth fastest), Austin Wayne Self (ninth fastest), Shannon McIntosh, and veteran Tom Hessert. Reddick recorded the most laps in any of the six different sessions, making 57 circuits on the final afternoon session Sunday.

ARCA's Road To Daytona initiative brought touring series champions Travis Braden (ARCA CRA Super Series) and Dan Fredrickson (ARCA Midwest Tour) to Daytona to gain experience on the famed high banks. In its second year with support from Fast Track High Performance Driving School, Roush Yates Engines and Hoosier Racing Tire, Braden and Fredrickson were guided by program administrator and spotter Andy Hillenburg, the 1995 ARCA Racing Series champion and a two-time Daytona ARCA 200 winner.

The familiar red Mallory Ignition trays, standard issue to ARCA teams since 2005, were being swapped out for yellow Accel Ignition brand products. Both brands are owned by Mr. Gasket Company. The brand change coincides with significant technological advances to the ARCA-mandated ignition systems. Major features of the new and improved systems are greater protection internally to prevent overvoltage charges, a design enhancement to reduce overheating of the systems and lightening the system from 16 pounds to 11 pounds. Graham Fordyce and Chris Whitworth represented Accel at the test.

Chase Elliott had an impressive lineup of Hendrick Motorsports mechanical talent assisting his Daytona ARCA Test effort including Jim Long, Billy Wilburn and Lance McGrew.

Justin Allison, who posted the third best speed overall in Saturday's drafting practice session, had help beyond the Howard Bixman-Grant Enfinger led BCR Ford team. His grandfather Donnie Allison, who nearly won the Daytona 500 in the now famous battle with Cale Yarborough which ended with Donnie and his brother Bobby Allison scuffling with Yarborough, was an interested observer at the test and enjoyed offering his insight.

USAC Midget, Sprint Car and Silver Crown legend Dave Darland, whose accomplishments are well documented in the USAC record book, made his initial laps at Daytona and plans to return to race in February.

Rich Lushes, car chief of the 2013 ARCA Racing Series championship team of owner Duke Thorson and driver Frank Kimmel, has moved to Venturini Motorsports to join the crew chief lineup. Venturini Motorsports fielded the full time effort of 2013 SCOTT ARCA Rookie of the Year Justin Boston. Venturini Motorsports brought five teams to the test including ZLOOP sponsored Boston, Zaxbys driver John Wes Townley, Mark Thompson, Leilani Munter (sixth fastest) and Michael Self (seventh fastest), all of whom logged many laps at the test.

Joey Coulter, whose career advanced through the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards en route to his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series success, was on hand spotting for Allegiant Travel Chevrolet driver Spencer Gallagher, who was fourth fastest overall. Newcomer Scott Sheldon also tested a Gallagher Motorsports entry, ending up eighth fastest overall.

Thomas the ‘Moose' Praytor gave Wayne Hixson's car a good ride with the 10th best speed overall among the 77 drivers who posted time and speed Friday through Sunday.

NASCAR Sprint Cup veteran Carl Long was at Daytona assisting in the efforts of Empire Racing and driver Sean Corr.

James Hylton combined efforts with the Empire Racing Ford team at the test and may be looking at plans to work together with the John Corr owned, John Bellesfield managed team for the full 2014 season.

1989 ARCA Racing Series champion Bob Keselowski was in the garage working with Matt Kurzejewski. Keselowski's son Brad is the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and son Brian is a multi-time winner in ARCA Racing Series competition.

NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series driver Joe Nemechek brought his son John Hunter to gain experience, working with veterans Del and Rick Markle and the John Fox Motorsports team.

Two teams notably absent from the Daytona test indicated they will do private testing at Talladega Superspeedway in January to prepare for the Daytona ARCA race. Win-Tron Racing's Nate Thiesse indicated Frank Kimmel would be at the wheel of the Win-Tron owned #44 Ansell Menards Toyota. Stange Motorsports crew chief Larry Moore was at Daytona and said MaryEve Dufault would be at test the team's Fords at Talladega in January as well.

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