ARCA RE/MAX Series Open Test Entry List for Kentucky Speedway Star Studded
If the entry list for Monday's (July 6) ARCA RE/MAX Series open test at Kentucky Speedway is any indication of the quality of the field coming back for the race, then race fans are in for a treat when the Click It or Ticket Buckle-Up Kentucky 150 rolls off on the 1.5-mile superspeedway Saturday night, July 18.
Among the entrants for the test is 15-time AMA Motocross champion Ricky Carmichael in the no. 33 Kevin Harvick, Inc. (KHI) Chevrolet. Nicknamed the "GOAT" (Greatest Of All Time), Carmichael also has 14 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races on his 2009 calendar with the KHI team.
Other ARCA test entrants include Austin Dillon, the grandson of Richard Childress Racing team owner Richard Childress. Dillon recently finished a career-best second at Michigan Int'l Speedway in mid-June.
Nine-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion and four-time Kentucky winner Frank Kimmel is also entered as is newcomer/open-wheel driver Dakoda Armstrong out of New Castle, Indiana. Armstrong debuted with the RE/MAX Series at Toledo Speedway in a Ken Schrader Racing entry and finished 20th. Armstrong will be in a Cunningham Motorsports-prepared Dodge for the Kentucky test. Current ARCA RE/MAX Series point leader Parker Kligerman, who also drives for Cunningham Motorsports, is not scheduled to test; however, the 18-year-old rookie sensation is planning to attend the test to assist Armstrong.
Second-generation driver Brent Brevak is also scheduled to test. Brevak is the son of 1990 ARCA RE/MAX Series national champion Bob Brevak.
Eddie Sharp Racing is also planning to bring two drivers - rookies' Tim George, Jr., of New York, NY, and Craig Goess, of Greenville, NC. Both are currently in the top-10 in championship points.
Other entries as of this day include Bryan Silas (Stuart, FL/4th in championship points), JR Heffner (Stephentown, NY), Chad Hackenbracht (Denver, NC), Grant Enfinger (Fairhope, AL) and Brad Sweet.
The ARCA RE/MAX Series open test at Kentucky Speedway will also feature live timing & scoring at ARCAracing.com of all the on-track activity, scheduled from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM ET.
In addition to Kimmel, former ARCA RE/MAX Series winners at Kentucky include Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, Steve Wallace, Tim Steele, Erik Darnell, Brad Coleman, Michael McDowell and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. to name a few.
The Click It or Ticket Buckle-Up Kentucky 150, which follows the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, marks the 19th appearance of the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Kentucky Speedway since 2000.
ARCA Point Leader Parker Kligerman a Quick Study at Iowa Speedway
By the looks of things, you'd think Parker Kligerman was one of the most experienced ARCA RE/MAX Series drivers on tour. After all, the Penske Racing development driver has earned three wins in his last four outings, and leads the points headed to Iowa Speedway for the Prairie Meadows 200 Saturday, July 11.
In reality, the 18-year-old Westport, Connecticut rookie is just that - a rookie in the truest sense. But don't tell that to Kligerman, who has nine top-10 finishes in 11 starts, most of which are top-fives.
And like most tracks on the 2009 ARCA RE/MAX Series tour, they are all new to Kligerman. Case in point: Kligerman, after attending his high school graduation ceremony on a Friday night, boarded a plane bound for Mansfield, Ohio where he woke up at Mansfield Motorsports Park Saturday morning. He had never seen the challenging short track before. It didn't matter; Kligerman held off the hungry pack to win the Tim Richmond Memorial 200.
And of course, the same will be true at Iowa. Kligerman's never seen the place, nor did he participate in the open test at the Newton, Iowa short-track last Tuesday. It was originally on his schedule, but Penske Racing had other plans for Kligerman.
"I thought we were going to Iowa (for the test), but then we got the call that we were going to have to miss the test," said Kligerman.
Penske Racing pulled the plug on the Iowa test in favor of a COT (Car of Tomorrow) two-day test at 'Little Rock', the new half-mile built behind the backstretch at Rockingham Speedway.
Kligerman has already been testing the COT car for Penske Racing out at the Proving Grounds, a five-mile oval test facility in Arizona.
"We thought about doing a private test (at Iowa), but in the bigger scheme of things, it didn't work out for our team - Cunningham Motorsports. We'll just figure it out in practice."
Kligerman has become the master at figuring things out in short order. New to the circuit as he still is, he has no choice.
"I've learned that the car is never perfect. It can always be better. I think my open-wheel background has really helped. In the open-wheel cars some of the adjustments are more precise and you really have to focus on those intricate adjustments.
"In stock cars, I think some drivers learn to drive around the problem rather than go after it."
At any rate, and for whatever reasons, Kligerman wastes no time getting up to speed.
"Well it definitely helps when you're with Cunningham Motorsports. We usually unload so prepared; it makes my job easier. We usually go out in practice, get a feel for the track, and then focus on tuning the car later in the session so we're not scrambling in the race.
"Chris Carrier (his crew chief), with all his experience, has accelerated my learning curve. That's a big part of it; he's taught me so much that now I can give the kind of feedback that he's looking for ..... like if the rear shocks need more rebound, stuff like that.
"I really feel like we should be doing better than we are. As good as Cunningham Motorsports is, I should be better. We should have one more win.
"My approach is always the same - no expectations. We don't get too down and we don't get too excited.
"Ya know, we probably come to the track with the least amount of guys, but they're all the best at what they do. I have the support of everyone at Cunningham Motorsports - Briggs Cunningham, Kerry Scherer, Mark Gibson. They've all done so much for me and gave me this opportunity."
And Kligerman is certainly making the most of his opportunity. And, no doubt, people are beginning to notice.
"Yah, people are starting to recognize me, which is cool. I usually don't have a very big autograph line at the tracks, but that changed at Mansfield, which is nice. I know Mr. Penske's been watching too; it's nice to know he's watching."
Kligerman will be moving from his Westport, Connecticut home to Charlotte, North Carolina in early August where he'll be closer to his team. He is also enrolled in UNC Charlotte where he starts his freshman year in college on August 24th, the day after the Allen Crowe 100 on the Springfield mile-dirt.
But first, it's off to Iowa for another ARCA RE/MAX Series adventure.
The Prairie Meadows 200 at Iowa Speedway is scheduled to go off Saturday, July 11 at 8:00 PM local time. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell precedes the race at 4:00 PM. The ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series will join the ARCA RE/MAX Series for an ARCA double-header with the IMTA 50 scheduled to go at 6:00 PM. The first on-track activity for the ARCA RE/MAX Series is a practice session on Friday, July 10 from 4:30 - 6:00 PM. The Star Mazda Series will join the race card on Friday with practice, qualifying and a race at 8:30 PM.
ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie Coulter Still on a Roll; Quickest in Iowa Speedway Open Testing
- Miami Springs, Florida rookie Joey Coulter, in a Chevrolet, shot to the top of the speed charts in the final moments of ARCA RE/MAX Series open testing Tuesday at Iowa Speedway.
The 19-year-old driver circled the .875-mile short track in 23.138 seconds, an average speed of 136.140 mph. The one-lap track record was set by Steve Wallace in 2006 at 137.357 mph.
"We got to try a lot of different things today," said Coulter. "We found out how the car reacts to big and small changes. We were really fast right out of the trailer, and then just adjusted on it little by little. After lunch, we made some really big changes, completely changed the set-up. Then, right before our quickest lap, we made our last adjustment - a combination of things, track bar, wedge and changed a couple shocks.
"It's the same set-up that we're using in the race, but we had the nose taped off and the tires set at qualifying pressures."
Coulter, who has climbed to 6th in championship points, is on a role lately with three consecutive top-five finishes, including a career-best second at Mansfield last weekend.
"It's the same situation as Mansfield. This will be my third time here at Iowa, so I could spend more time on how the car works on the track rather than having to spend all my time learning the track, or both."
In all, 15 drivers tested in preparation for the next event on tour - the Prairie Meadows 200 at the Newton, Iowa track on Saturday, July 11.
ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Austin Dillon, also in a Chevrolet, was second on the speed charts with a speed of 134.967 mph. Dillon, the grandson of Richard Childress Racing team owner Richard Childress, is also coming off a career-best run at Michigan Int'l Speedway where he finished second in mid-June.
Sixteen-year-old Chris Buescher was third on the charts in the Roulo Brothers-prepared David Ragan Fan Club Ford. The Prosper, Texas rookie posted a best speed of 134.495 mph.
NASCAR Camping World East Series racer/winner Brian Ickler was fourth overall at 134.088 mph.
Johanna Long, in a Venturini Motorsports-prepared Chevrolet, made her first laps in an ARCA RE/MAX Series car in the open test, posting the fifth best speed overall at 133.786 mph. Long, 17, recently made headlines at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida with a victory in the super late model Blizzard Series. Long dominated the 100-lap race from the pole leading the most laps en route to the win, her second triumph in three attempts in the Blizzard Series at Five Flags.
There was only one on-track incident when Tim George, Jr. spun off turn four and backed into the outer retaining wall. He was not injured.
Dakoda Armstrong, in a Cunningham Motorsports Dodge, made the most laps during the open test circling the track 111 times.
National Speed Sport News to Sponsor ARCA Most Popular Driver Award
Officials from the Automobile Racing Club of America announced today that National Speed Sport News will sponsor the Most Popular Driver Award in the ARCA RE/MAX Series in 2009. Voting for the fan-based award takes place exclusively on ARCA's social networking website, http://www.arcanation.com.
"We were excited to bring the ARCA Most Popular Driver Award back to the series," said Mark Gundrum, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for ARCA. "And now, we are even more excited to announce that National Speed Sport News will sponsor the award. It is a combination of the right time, and the right set of circumstances."
National Speed Sport News, the most recognizable name in weekly motor sports journalism since 1934, will help promote the 2009 National Speed Sport News ARCA Most Popular Driver Award through both its printed publication and the newly re-designed and re-launched website, http://www.nationalspeedsportnews.com.
Race fans who log onto http://www.arcanation.com to vote for the 2009 National Speed Sport News ARCA Most Popular Driver will have the opportunity to purchase a specially-priced subscription to National Speed Sport News and to win a trip for two to the 2009 ARCA RE/MAX Series Awards Banquet in December. The trip includes transportation, lodging and spending money.
"We've had a long, mutually beneficial relationship with ARCA and this is a great way to keep it going," said National Speed Sport News Publisher Corinne Economaki. "ARCA fans and participants are regular readers of NSSN, and this shows our appreciation, and gives one lucky fan a lifetime experience."
To be eligible for the Most Popular Driver Award, a driver must attempt to compete in at least 50 percent of the Series' races in 2009 and have an active ARCA Nation page. All ARCA RE/MAX Series drivers must have a valid 2009 ARCA Competitor's License and be members in good standing to be eligible for the award. Voting ends on October 23, 2009.
Race fans can log onto ARCA Nation to vote for their favorite ARCA RE/MAX Series driver by clicking on the "vote" button at the top of that driver's ARCA Nation page. All race fans will be permitted to vote once per day for the Most Popular Driver but votes from fans who are ARCA Nation members count 2:1 as compared to their non-member counterparts.
The Most Popular Driver Award will be presented at the ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship Awards Banquet in Covington, Kentucky, in December.