2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series Season Opener Set For Daytona
Season Will Start Within One Month
As it has since 1964, the ARCA RE/MAX Series, preparing for its 56th consecutive year of competition, will open its season at Daytona Int’l Speedway with the 45th running of the ARCA 200 at Daytona Saturday afternoon, February 9th, 2008.
The event, live on SPEED at 4 pm eastern, serves as a show-opener for Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star race, the Budweiser Shootout.
After a three-day open test in December among a record 79 drivers, an exceptionally healthy entry list is much anticipated for the ARCA RE/MAX Series’ marquis event.
Expected entrants include nine-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel and five-time ARCA 200 winner at Daytona Bobby Gerhart. The event will mark Gerhart’s return to the driver’s seat following injuries sustained in a 2007 wreck at Pocono Raceway. Gerhart will be aiming for an unprecedented 6th Daytona victory and fourth consecutive. 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.
Kimmel, who parted ways with longtime car owner Larry Clement late in 2007, is paired up with Cunningham Motorsports for the Daytona season opener. And, for the first time in his career, Kimmel will be in a Dodge rather than a Ford.
Cunningham Motorsports will also be entering rookie Tayler Malsam, the newest development driver for the Dodge Driver Development program. Malsam has also announced he would be running the entire 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule under the Cunningham Motorsports/Dodge Development banner.
Bobby Gerhart will strive for six when the ARCA RE/MAX Series season starts at Daytona.
In addition, driver development entries are expected from a variety of high-profile teams including one from Roush Fenway Racing with rookie Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. Stenhouse is expected to run the full ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule in 2008. Stenhouse was fourth quickest overall in recent Daytona testing.
Other driver development teams expected include Rusty Wallace, Inc. with driver Chase Austin and Hendrick Motorsports with driver Landon Cassill.
Eddie Sharp Racing is expected to file two entries, one with Formula 1 veteran Scott Speed at the helm, and the other with Ken Butler, III driving. In one career ARCA RE/MAX Series start, Speed finished seventh at Talladega in 2007. Butler, in 11 career starts in 2007, has one victory at Toledo Speedway. His career-best superspeedway finish was seventh at Michigan Int’l Speedway. Both drivers will be in Toyota Camry’s for the Daytona event.
Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti, in a Ganassi Racing Dodge, is also expected to enter.
Only seven different drivers have won from the pole in the ARCA 200 at Daytona: Gerhart ’05 & ’06, Benny Parsons '69, Andy Hampton '72, Iggy Katona '74, Woody Fisher '77, Jeff Purvis '93 and Andy Hillenburg '97. Only Gerhart has repeat wins (’05, ’06 & ‘07) in consecutive years.
Registration opens at 8:00 am Tuesday, February 5th before haulers enter the garage area at 10 am. Tuesday and Wednesday are slated for inspection procedures only prior to the first on-track activity on Thursday with practice scheduled from 12 noon to 5 pm. SIM Factory Pole Award Qualifying is scheduled for 12 noon Friday followed by a final practice session from 5:10 to 6:15 pm.