Logano Leads The Way in Opening Practice at The Rock From Rockingham Speedway PR
ARCA Teams Prep For Sunday's Race
Joey Logano led ARCA RE/MAX Series practice Friday at Rockingham Speedway, but only in the final minutes of the three-hour session as festivities began for Sunday's Carolina 500 – the reopening of “The Rock”.

Throughout Friday's practice at the 1-mile track, Matt Carter, the series point leader and son of former NASCAR crew chief and team owner Travis Carter, sat atop the speed chart. But in the session's final minutes, Logano's team placed a new set of tires on his Joe Gibbs Racing Oil-Gresham & Associates Chevrolet, allowing him to leap over Carter and into the No. 1 position with a 25.111-second, 143.363-mph lap. Carter, in his Stine Seed-NuSouth Lemonade Ford, wasn't far behind at 25.121 seconds, 143.306 mph.
“We came off the trailer nothing like the test,” said Logano, who will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut next month for Joe Gibbs Racing. “I wasn't happy at all. We had to work at lot harder in practice and got it closer to where I wanted it. (We) made some mock runs, made it a little better with the mock run. But, I don't know if that Happy Hour deal is gonna help us out a whole lot.”

Rounding out the top five, respectively, were Michael Annett and Justin Marks, both in Toyotas, and Dexter Bean in a Chevrolet.

Austin Dillon, grandson of NASCAR championship car owner Richard Childress, posted the 13th quickest lap. Driving his Garage Equipment Supply Chevrolet, Dillon recorded a lap of 25.852-second, 139.254-mph lap.

Defending series champion Frank Kimmel was 17th quickest, while Chad McCumbee was 18th fastest.

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series regular Johnny Benson, a former Cup winner at Rockingham, practiced Ken Schrader's Four Winds Motorhomes Dodge. Schrader was in Richmond for NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying. He will be at Rockingham Saturday for qualifying.

Veteran James Hylton, who finished second to Richard Petty in the NASCAR Grand National [now Sprint Cup] standings in 1967, hit the wall during practice and had to settle for 48th quickest.

Qualifying for Sunday's race begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, with the second round of time trials set for 2:30 p.m. NASCAR two-time Cup champion Tony Stewart is scheduled to wave the green flag on the Carolina 500, signaling the reopening of The Rock, at noon on Sunday.

For more information or to order tickets for the May 4 ARCA RE/MAX Series Carolina 500 and the Nov. 1 Hooters Pro Cup American 200, please contact the speedway at (910) 205-8800 or visit our Web site at www.rockinghamspeedway.com.

Joey Logano (No. 25 Joe Gibbs Racing Oil-Gresham & Assoc. Chevy) – How was practice today?  “It went OK.  We came off of the trailer nothing like the test.  We were really good in the test.  I wasn’t happy at all.  We had to work a lot harder in practice and got it closer to where I wanted it.  Made some mock runs, made it a little better with the mock run.  But, I don’t know if that Happy Hour deal is gonna help us out a whole lot. “

How do you feel about your qualifying tomorrow?  “We ended number one here in practice, so no excuses, I guess, right?  We really got a good shot.  The rest of these cars are really good.  Definitely feel like me and Billy (Venturini) work really well together.  I think we can make something happen.”

Chad McCumbee ( No. 10 Danco Electrical Contractors Chevrolet)- How was the track today?  “It was real slick.  Awesome old race track, but when you’re having a bad day, you’re having a real bad day. We’re not having the day we thought we were gonna have, that’s for sure.  We put this thing together pretty quick as far as trying to run the race, made a lot of progress today, but we got a lot of work to do.  I’m not real happy with where we’re at.  We don’t have the overall speed, so we started working on the race stuff and we still need to be a lot better there.  We’ll tune on it tonight and tomorrow and go have fun on Sunday.

How do you feel about your qualifying run tomorrow?  “We won’t be a threat for the pole by any means.  I feel like we’ll be a top 20 qualifier.  I think with the setup we got here we have to concentrate on race setup, we’re not gonna be able to concentrate on qualifying.  We’ll just make a few laps and go to Happy Hour and work on it a little bit.”

Brent Sherman (No. 57 Trackers Lodge Chevrolet) – How was the car today?  Well, we had a lot of issues, let’s put it that way.  We brought a new car and this car has had some handling issues and really kind of wish I was in the old car.  We ran a lot faster in that car.  We’re gonna work on it and definitely by tomorrow we’ll have it right.  In qualifying, we want to qualify well, obviously, in the top 25 would be nice.  I’m a little disappointed in practice, we didn’t make a qualifying run; we didn’t have time.  We were trying to get the handling right on it.  Basically, we only got about 30 minutes of practice.  These guys are gonna fix it up for me.  I’m pretty confident in the team.  They are gonna make it happen for me.

How do you feel about being at Rockingham, and do you think there will be a lot of side-by-side racing?   “Man, I don’t know.  I would think so.  I hope there’s gonna be a lot of give and take, because it’s tough to make your car stay in one line.  The car seems like it’s moving around a lot.  You drive in too deep and go up the track and if there’s somebody there, you hope not to hit them.  Hopefully, people will understand where their car is at in the run and they drive it to that limit and not beyond it.  Hopefully, people will stay out of trouble that way.  I have a pretty simple goal and that’s to last until about 50 laps to go and really try to get after it.  I feel like if we’re around with about 50 laps to go, then we have a shot at a good finish.  I want to keep my nose clean.  It’s a long day, 312 miles is a long way to go.  So we’ll see how it goes.

Austin Dillon (No.31 Garage Equipment Supply Chevrolet) – How was the track today?  “It got hot.  A little bit greasier than what I’m used to.  I’m just kinda getting used to it.  The tires are gonna be huge here because it eats the tires up, but the track’s good other than that.”

How do you feel about qualifying?  “I think we’re gonna be fine.  I think we’re close to the top 10 right now with our qualifying run.  So now we just have to go out there and put a good lap down and run out front.  We don’t want to start in the back; it just takes more time if we have to start back there.”

How do you feel about racing at Rockingham?  “It’s pretty cool.  I’ve talked to a couple of the old guys that ran here.  I talked to Burton, he helped me a lot.  I can talk to him about some of the lines and where the track goes.  It’s just really cool to come to a fast place like this and where the grassroots of racing always were.”

John Wes Townley (No. 09 Zaxby’s Ford) – How was practice out there today?  “It went pretty decent.  We had two test sessions.  So we’re kind of ahead of the game a little bit.  It’s a real neat track and it’s a privelge for us to come run here.  I really want to thank RAV Racing, Zaxby’s and Roush-Yates Motors for letting us come out here.  Without them, we wouldn’t be able to run here today.  We’re really excited to run here.

How do you feel about qualifying?  “I feel pretty decent.  The thing is you gotta focus on practice so you don’t go out for a qualifying session.  You gotta be prepared, you got a car slipping and sliding all day.  You gotta, know where you are.  I feel pretty decent about tomorrow, though.”

Scott Speed (No. 11 Red Bull Toyota) -   What’s it like to race at Rockingham when you’ve raced all over the world?  “Honestly, all the ovals are kind of like the same to me.  This one in particular puts a lot of wear on the tires, so we’re sliding around.  You got very little grip, the track eats the tires away quite a bit. It should make for a very interesting race. It’s gonna be fun sliding around out there.”

How do you feel about your qualifying effort tomorrow?  “I think it’s not gonna matter at all. So we’re gonna get around the track and I’m sure be somewhere in the top 10, top 15.”

Racing has returned to The Rock.  (Rockingham Speedway / Leo Dougherty Photo)