ARCA 200 at Daytona Solid With 70-Plus Entries
Driver Development Teams Will Be Out in Full Force
Open the gates, and they will come. That’s certainly the case at Daytona Int’l Speedway where the 45th annual ARCA 200 at Daytona is taking shape as the most competitive in ARCA RE/MAX Series history. Entries are pouring in for event, which is LIVE on SPEED Saturday afternoon, February 9th at 4:00 pm ET.
At present, 74 entries make up the current entry list, which includes a healthy combination of Driver Development teams mixed in with some very solid series regulars.
Entries from the Driver Development teams include one from car owner Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who is listed as the car owner for rookie driver Landon Cassill in the no. 88 Stanley-Vidmar-Proto Chevrolet. It marks the first time that Earnhardt, Jr. has participated in the ARCA RE/MAX Series as a car owner.
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) has filed an entry with the 2007 Indy 500 winner and IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti in the driver’s seat. CGRFS announced Franchitti has signed a multi-year deal with the organization to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2008.
Roush Fenway Racing has entered Olive Branch, Mississippi rookie Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.. Roush Fenway Racing recently announced that Stenhouse, an open-wheel veteran from the USAC ranks, would run the complete 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule in a Roush Fenway-prepared Ford.
Bill Davis Racing has filed an entry with Des Moines, Iowa rookie Mike Annett as the driver of Davis’s Toyota Camry. The team made history last year at Talladega where Annett drove to victory lane, marking the first win for the Toyota nameplate in ARCA RE/MAX Series competition.
Also entered from the Driver Development ranks are entries from Rusty Wallace, Inc. (RWI) and Cunningham Motorsports/Dodge Motorsports. RWI has entered rookie Chase Austin in a no. 61 Atreus Homes & Communities Chevrolet. Cunningham Motorsports has filed three entries, one for Dodge Development rookie Tayler Malsam, who is entered in the #4
Michael Annett won the last ARCA RE/MAX Series superspeedway race - at Talladega in the fall.
Cunningham Motorsports-Dodge Motorsports Dodge. Other entries out of the Cunningham camp include the no. 45 and the no. 59 with rookies’ Nur Ali and Ray Mooi listed as the drivers. All three participants, needless to say, will be Dodges.
Eddie Sharp Racing has filed two entries for Daytona. Formula 1 veteran Scott Speed, a story to watch all season, is entered in the no. 2 Red Bull Toyota. Speed, whose career-best F1 finishes are ninth in the Monaco Grand Prix ’07, ninth in the Australian Grand Prix ’06, 10th in the Canadian Grand Prix ’06 and 10th in the French Grand Prix ’06, finished seventh in the ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Talladega in 2007. ESR’s second entry is for Ken Butler, III in the no. 22 ESR Development Toyota. Butler steered his way to victory lane at Toledo Speedway in 2007. Both drivers have announced full ARCA RE/MAX Series schedules in 2008.
Nine-time series champion Frank Kimmel has filed an entry under his new Kimmel Racing banner with an assist from Cunningham Motorsports. The effort marks Kimmel’s first appearance in a Dodge. The Clarksville, Indiana native will carry the no. 44 at Daytona.
Kimmel’s former ride, the Larry Clement-owned no. 46 Ford, will now be occupied by Matt Carter, who is the son of longtime NASCAR team owner Travis Carter. The team is expected to run the full schedule in 2008.
The entry list will also include senior statesmen Bill Baird and James Hylton. If either driver were to win the race, he would become the oldest winner in superspeedway history. Baird, the ’99 ARCA RE/MAX Series national champion, is 58. Hylton is 73.
RAB Racing with Brack Maggard will be debuting with rookie driver John Wes Townley at Daytona. After running Dodges in 2007 with driver Justin Marks, the team has switched to the Ford nameplate for 2008. RAB also announced a full schedule in 2008. The team has also switched car numbers – from 65 to 09.
Marks, running the full NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule in 2008, has also filed an entry. Ironically, Marks will again carry the #65 at Daytona, but it will be in a Germain Motor Company-sponsored Toyota.
Venturini Motorsports has filed two entries with Surrey British, Columbia rookie Ryan Fischer listed as the driver of the no. 25 Chevrolet, and Billy Venturini listed as the driver of the no. 15 Chevrolet. The Venturinis are renowned for their restrictor plate savvy.
Speaking of restrictor plate savvy, none could carry that banner bigger than five-time Daytona winner Bobby Gerhart. Bobby Gerhart Racing has filed two entries with Bobby in the no. 5 and Kyle Krisiloff in the no. 7. Gerhart has won the last three consecutive Daytona ARCA 200s. In addition, the Lebanon, PA driver has led an amazing 83% of the total laps run in the last three Daytona events.
Spartanburg, South Carolina driver Jeremy Clements is entered in the #3 Clements Automotive Chevrolet. Clements broke through big time in 2007 with a victory at Nashville Superspeedway. Clements also finished third in the ’07 ARCA 200 at Daytona.
From the female ranks, Gabi DiCarlo, Michelle Theriault and rookie Alli Owens are entered. Owens will be in a no. 12 Mario Gosselin-prepared Chevy as a teammate to Gosselin’s no. 21 James Carter Attorney at Law Chevy. DiCarlo is entered in Doug Stringer’s Great Clips Chevy, while Theriault is entered in the Markle Racing Chevy.
Dexter Bean, who finished third in national championship points in 2007, will certainly be one to watch. The Westby, Wisconsin driver is entered in the Glock-sponsored Chevy, an alliance with Spraker Racing Enterprises.
Other notable entries include Wayne Reutimann entered in his cousin David Reutimann’s Toyota, open-wheel veteran Brian Tyler entered in the no. 01 Hattori Racing Toyota, ARCA RE/MAX Series veteran/two-time series winner Kirk Shelmerdine entered in the no. 27 Wabash Motorsports Chevrolet, and NASCAR veteran driver Greg Sacks entered in Bobby Jones’s Dodge Charger.
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.
Dario Franchitti (L) and Scott Speed (R) are using the Daytona ARCA race as part of their transistion from open wheeled cars into stock cars.