2009 ARCA RE/MAX Series Season Opener Set For Daytona
Penty of Rookies Ready for The Superspeedway
As it has since 1964, the ARCA RE/MAX Series, in its 57th consecutive year of competition, will open its season at Daytona Int’l Speedway with the 46th running of the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona Saturday afternoon, February 7th, 2009.
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 where 62 drivers participated, an exceptionally healthy entry list combining series veterans with an onslaught of rookies is much anticipated for the series’ marquis event.
Expected entrants include nine-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel and five-time Daytona winner Bobby Gerhart, aiming for an unprecedented 6th Daytona victory. 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. Third generation racer Will Kimmel, Frank’s nephew, is also entered in a Kimmel Racing Ford. Will was fastest overall in single car runs at the Daytona test in December.
Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR) has already filed three entries with rookie drivers’ Tim George, Jr., Steve Arpin and Craig Goess. While George has two series starts in 2008, both Arpin and Goess will be making their series debuts at Daytona. ESR made news in 2008 becoming the first team in series history to field three full-time teams in ARCA. ESR’s line-up of drivers last year included Scott Speed, who has moved onto the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series full-time in ’09, and Ken Butler III, who is headed for the Nationwide Series full-time this year.
Other drivers entered from the rookie ranks include Mikey Kile in a Brad Keselowski Racing Chevrolet, Peyton Sellers in the Cardinal Motorsports Chevrolet, Cambridge Ontario’s J.R. Fitzpatrick in the TRG Motorsports Chevrolet, Derek Murphy in the Win Tron Dodge and James Buescher in the Mercedes Homes Toyota.
Additional notable entrants include NASCAR veterans’ Bobby Hamilton, Jr. and PJ Jones, as well as local Daytona Beach favorite Alli Owens in the ElectrifyingCareers.com Toyota.
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.
Craig Goess (Top) and Peyton Sellers (Bottom) are both eyeing Daytona for their ARCA debuts.
Registration opens at 8:00 am Tuesday, February 3rd 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. Pole Award Qualifying is scheduled for 12 noon Friday followed by a final practice session from 5:10 to 6:15 pm.
LIVE coverage of the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 begins at 4:00 PM ET on SPEED Saturday, February 7th.