After three days of rain that cancelled the ARCA Series open test, eight teams finally made it on the track on Tuesday at the Rockingham Speedway to test for next month’s Carolina 200.
Defending race champion, Venturini Motorsports had two cars on track today with Sean Caisse and Alex Yontz driving for the team. Yontz will be attempting the double – he will race in his own UARA Late Model on Saturday, April 18th and then will race for Venturini on Sunday, April 19th in the Carolina 200.
Caisse will be driving the exact same car that Joey Logano took to victory lane one year ago at the first race since the speedway was reopened.
“Based on a car that was already proven to win, we made some changes and adjustments and we are really, really good right now,” said Caisse. “Getting in this car we were able to do some long runs today and figure out where you need to get your groove but not go too hard on the track or you will start to lose time, you can burn up the right rear really easy here so I feel like with the balance of the car and if I can mentally stay focused we are going to be hard to beat.
Patrick Sheltra was back in a race car for the first time since his accident last February in Daytona that caused a compound fracture in his back and a dislocated knee cap.
“It is a little sore getting in and out of the car today but it is something I’m gonna have to deal with and my knee is hurting a little bit but it is not as bad as I was expecting it to be and everything feels pretty good,” said Sheltra. “We went out early and figured some stuff out and got it all fixed so we were good on old tires so we are pretty happy with the day.”
Drew Herring made his first laps in an ARCA car today getting valuable experience for his first ARCA start next month. Herring narrowly missed winning the Pro Cup race here last November and plans to run both ARCA races this year while running the entire Pro Cup schedule in his BTS Tire and Wheel Distributors car.
“It has been a little bit different that I thought it was [going to be], the horsepower is a little bit different and with the weight and the difference in the tires it has been a whole lot different than the Pro Cup car,” said Herring. “Coming to Rockingham where I had such a good run in the Pro Cup car I thought I would be a little more acclimated and able to jump right into it but we are not too bad and I have a great crew behind me so I know we will be able to figure this thing out.”
Also taking advantage of the clear track today was Joey Coulter and Matt Merrill who both ran the American 200 last November at Rockingham. Rob Brent and Tony Polumbo rounded out the cars testing and both are looking to make their first start at Rockingham during the Carolina 200.
Carolina 200 race weekend kicks off on Friday April 17th with Thunderfest in downtown Rockingham from 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. There will be a hauler parade through downtown Rockingham at noon on Friday for the day-long celebration as well as most of the drivers signing autographs at 6:00 p.m.
On track activities begin Friday as well with UARA practice and qualifying. Saturday April 18th will feature the UARA race and practice and qualifying for the ARCA cars. The Carolina 200 is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Sunday April 19th.
Reserved seat tickets for the Carolina 200 start at $20 with kids 12 and under admitted for only $15 in any section with paid adult. Tickets for Saturday April 18th are only $15 in advance or $20 the day of the race with kids 12 and under free with a paid adult for general admission seating. Friday is free admission for everyone.
For more information about the Carolina 200 or to order tickets, please contact the speedway at (910) 205-8800 or visit our website at www.rockinghamspeedway.com.