If the entry list for Wednesday's (April 29) ARCA RE/MAX Series open test at Kentucky Speedway is any indication of the strength of the field coming back for the race in early May, then race fans are in for a treat when the Drive Smart Buckle-Up Kentucky 150 rolls off on the 1.5-mile superspeedway Saturday night, May 9.
More than 30 drivers have already filed entries for the open test to include a host of fascinating characters - a 9-time champion, an 18-year high school student who happens to be leading the points, this year's Daytona and Talladega winners, a plethora of rookies, rookies and more rookies, and a healthy assortment of veterans.
Penske development driver Parker Kligerman, who is still a senior in high school in Westport, Connecticut, leads the ARCA RE/MAX Series point standings over Westmorland, California's Justin Lofton. Kligerman, in a Cunningham Motorsports Dodge, hasn't finished out of the top-10 yet after six series starts reaching back to the New Jersey Motorsports Park road course where he finished 6th in his debut last September. Lofton, who drives for Eddie Sharp Racing's four-car team, cleaned up last Friday at Talladega with a big win and surged in points to second just five points behind leader Kligerman. Both are entered for Wednesday's Kentucky test.
Other open test entrants from the Cunningham Motorsports stable include Dallas, Texas driver Ken Weaver, entered in a team car to Kligerman. The contrast in age between the teammates is glaring given the fact that Kligerman is 18 while Weaver is 53.
Eddie Sharp Racing has packed up the entire four-car team for the test. In addition to Lofton, ESR's coming loaded up with three full-time rookies: New York, New York's Tim George, Jr., Fort Frances, Ontario's Steve Arpin and Greenville, North Carolina's Craig Goess. All four of ESR's drivers are in the top-10 in points.
kimmelcandidansellmenards.jpgNine-time series champion Frank Kimmel has not exactly had a banner season, yet the four-time Kentucky winner sits third in points, 65 out of first. Kimmel is the only driver entered who has competed in all 17 series events at Kentucky since the series debut there in 2000. The all-time Kentucky lap leader (553 in 11 races) hasn't won at Kentucky in four years, since May of 2005. Apparently, the Clarksville, Indiana driver is bound and determined to change that having filed his entry for the open test.
Also entered for the open test is this year's Daytona winner James Buescher, who also competes part-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series when he's not running ARCA RE/MAX Series superspeedway events with Win-Tron Racing.
Rookie Austin Dillon, the grandson of Richard Childress, is also entered as is Brad Keselowski Racing's Mikey Kile, who finished 4th at Talladega in his second series start. Veteran James Hylton, coming off a 15th place finish at Talladega at 74 years young is entered as is Andy Belmont Racing's Tom Hessert, the polesitter at Talladega.
Stuart, Florida's Bryan Silas, currently fifth in series points, is expected to be at the open test as is a trio of Venturini Motorsports entries with rookies Jesse Smith and Alex Yontz, and New Berlin, Wisconsin's Tom Berte.
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.
ARCA RE/MAX Series Open Test Entries
Kentucky Speedway (4-29-09)
NO DRIVER/HOMETOWN TEAM & CAR OWNER 1 Tom Hessert/Cherry Hill NJ Andy Belmont Racing Ford Jennifer Belmont 2 Tim George Jr/Petaluma CA Eddie Sharp Racing Toyota Eddie Sharp 4 Ken Weaver/Dallas TX Cunningham Motorsports Dodge Kerry Scherer 6 Justin Lofton/Westmorland CA Eddie Sharp Racing Toyota David Bean 11 Bryan Silas/Stuart FL Fast Track Racing Chevrolet Andy Hillenburg 15 Alex Yontz/Walnut Cove NC Venturini Motorsports Bill Venturini 20 Steve Arpin/Fort Frances ON Eddie Sharp Racing Toyota Jessica Sharp 25 Jesse Smith/Wildwood MO Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet Cathy Venturini 26 Brad Smith/Shelby Township MI Brad Smith Motorsports Ford Brad Smith 29 Mikey Kile/Westlake LA Brad Keselowski Racing Chevrolet 31 Austin Dillon/Lewisville NC Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Richard Childress 32 James Buescher/Plano TX Win-Tron Racing Dodge Kevin Cywinski 32 Justin Boston Win-Tron Racing Dodge Kevin Cywinski 33 Ricky Carmichael/Tallahassee FL Kevin Harvick Racing Chevrolet Delana Harvick 35 Tom Berte/New Berlin WI Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet Bill Venturini 36 Robb Brent/Shelby Township MI Justin Allgaier Motorsports Dodge Mike Allgaier 43 Kyle Martel/Lebanon PA Bill Martel Chevrolet Bill Martel 44 Frank Kimmel/Clarksville IN Kimmel Racing Ford Frank Kimmel 48 James Hylton/Inman SC Hylton Motorsports Dodge James Hylton 74 JR Heffner/Stepenton NY Chevrolet Howard Bixman 77 Parker Kligerman/Westport CT Cunningham Motorsports Dodge Mark Gibson 81 Craig Goess/Greenville NC Eddie Sharp Racing Toyota Eddie Sharp 06 Barry Fitzgerald/Sykesville MD Wayne Peterson Racing Wayne Peterson 06 Zachary Gibson Wayne Peterson Racing Wayne Peterson Brian Ickler/Mooresville NC Ickler Motorsports Toyota