As it has since 1964, the ARCA RE/MAX Series, preparing for its 55th consecutive year of competition, will open the stock car season at Daytona Int’l Speedway with the 44th running of the ARCA 200 at Daytona Saturday afternoon, February 10, 2007.
The event, live on SPEED at 4 pm eastern, will set the stage for the 23-race schedule, which showcases the ultra-versatile stock car tour in a variety of venues on high-profile superspeedways and classic short-tracks, on both pavement and dirt.
This year’s ARCA 200 at Daytona serves as a preamble for Saturday night’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Series All-Star race, the Bud Shootout.
After a record three-day open test in December among 77 drivers, an exceptionally healthy entry list is much anticipated for the series’ marquis event.
Expected entrants include eight-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel and four-time Daytona ARCA 200 winner Bobby Gerhart. Gerhart, in addition to chasing an unprecedented fifth win at Daytona, will also be shooting for a record fifth consecutive Daytona pole award. Kimmel, despite solid finishes of second at Daytona in 2004 and 2005 and a pair of third place finishes in 2001 and 2002, is winless at the legendary 2.5-mile superspeedway.
In addition, driver development entries are expected from a variety of high-profile teams including Michael Waltrip Racing/Eddie Sharp Racing debuting the first-ever Toyota Camry in RE/MAX Series competition with USAC National Sprint Car champion Josh Wise driving.
Other driver development entries expected include Rusty Wallace, Inc. with Rusty’s son Steve Wallace driving and Evernham Motorsports with Erin Crocker driving. Keven Wood, a third-generation racer from the famed Wood Brothers family, also tested in the recent ARS test at Daytona as did a Hendrick Motorsports Chevy with NASCAR veteran David Green driving.
Other notable entrants include 1999 ARS champion Bill Baird, who at 57, is making his return to Daytona in a Ken Schrader Racing Dodge. Baird hasn’t raced in ARS competition since 2005, nor has he raced at Daytona since 2000.
Sons of former ARS champions entered include Billy Venturini (Bill Venturini champ in ’87 & ’91), Todd Bowsher (Jack Bowsher champ in ’63, ’64 & ’65) and Brian Keselowski (Bob Keselowski champ in ’89).
Only seven different drivers have won from the pole in the ARCA 200 at Daytona: Gerhart ’05 & ’06, Benny
Can Gerhart win again at Daytona?
Parsons '69, Andy Hampton '72, Iggy Katona '74, Woody Fisher '77, Jeff Purvis '93 and Andy Hillenburg '97. However, only Gerhart has repeat wins (’05 & ’06) in consecutive years.
Practice for the 44th annual ARCA 200 at Daytona is set for Thursday, February 8 from 12 noon to 5 pm. Pole Award Qualifying is scheduled for 12 noon Friday followed by a final practice session from 5:10 to 6:15 pm.
Todd Bowser will be among the ARCA regulars taking on Daytona.