ARCA: Hal Martin, Ty Dillon and Kyle Fowler Lead Practice No. 1 at Daytona

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ARCA: Hal Martin, Ty Dillon and Kyle Fowler Lead Practice No. 1 at Daytona
(C)ARCA Racing Network

The ARCA Series Presented by Menards opened up their first day of on-track action today, with a four-hour practice this afternoon.

Just like in testing last month, Hal Martin drove his No. 55 NOLA Motorsports Park Toyota to the top of the practice chart as his team, Venturini Motorsports, took three of the top four positions.

"What a successful day, all in all," Martin said. "We've spent a lot of long hours at the shop, and I've put in a lot of long hours of mental prep for this day. There were some things in practice we wanted to try, and the car just ran fast. That's all I can say. It's driving really well, and dicing in and out of traffic. We did a lot of drafting this afternoon and ran well in every situation."

Martin's best lap was 48.092 seconds, hitting an average speed of 187.141mph. Martin's teammates, Kyle Fowler (No. 15 Chevrolet) and Steve Arpin (No. 25 Mike's Hard Lemonade/Trent's Tire Toyota), were third and fourth, respectively.

Sandwiched in second was Richard Childress Racing driver and Childress' grandson, Ty Dillon (No. 41 University of Northwestern Ohio Chevrolet), with his teammate Tim George Jr. (No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Development Chevrolet) in fifth to complete the top five.

Contributing to a top-five sweep by Venturini and RCR was the drafting that was done during practice, as Martin cited both his two teammates and the RCR teammates as "dancing partners".

Martin noted that he spent the beginning doing mock qualifying runs, as this is the only practice they'll get before qualifying.

"We started out the day with mock qualifying runs, just to see where we stood basically," he said. "Hopefully, we get the pole, but you never know what will happen out there. I hope we can get a solid top-five start and go win it from there on Saturday. If we can start up front, we hope to stay out front."

Steve Blackburn, Matt Merrell, Bryan Silas, Brian Rose and Tom Hessert comprised the remainder of the top 10.

Other notables include six-time and defending Daytona ARCA Champion Bobby Gerhart, who drove his No. 5 Lucas Oil Slick Mist Chevrolet to the 20th position on the chart, one spot ahead of nine-time ARCA Racing Series Champion Frank Kimmel.

Some people were concerned what the rain earlier in the day would do to the track, however, Martin said it had no effect.

"The grip level's still there," Martin said. "You know, it's not like a track where it's been worn in and you get a little rain and the track gets green and there's no grip. That didn't happen. I know we had a good bit of rain this morning—it woke me up in the motorhome at 5 or 6 a.m.—but the track is just like it was at the test. The tires aren't wearing."

Fowler said that as a whole, the track hadn't actually changed that much from before the paving.

"We talked about the old and the new, as far as whatever he was doing and what it was like to run around this place, and where I'm running around this place, and the similarities," Fowler said. "Over time, it hasn't really changed as much as people think even through different pavements. The core of it is still the same."

However, Fowler said he is ready for whatever happens.

"I've been mentally preparing," Fowler said. "Preparing, preparing, preparing. I've been doing a little bit of the iRacing (computer simulation) stuff, because I've got to get familiar with this place more. I've been watching tapes of races and (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver) David Ragan's been giving me advice."

With three of the five drivers at Venturini Motorsports in the top five, its no wonder that Venturini Motorsports General Manager Billy Venturini is happy.

"All the cars seemed really good," Venturini said. "The Nos. 15, 25, and 55 seemed to be the best three cars during single-car runs. So, I think we will have a very solid performance in qualifying. No. 28 (Miguel Paludo) and No. 66 (Mark Thompson), we expect to put them in the top 10 also. (In) drafting practice, all the cars seemed extremely strong. I think that we should be tough to beat. All the hard work seems to be paying off. I expect to qualify very well and make sure we can back that up on Saturday with a victory."

All 47 entered drivers took laps; 43 will start in Saturday's Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200, scheduled to air at 4:30 p.m. on SPEED. The starting field will be set in the Menards Pole Qualifying, presented by Ansell, tomorrow at 2 p.m.

 

2011 Event #1, ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards

Daytona Int'l Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL, 2-12-11

 

Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

POS

NO

DRIVER/HOMETOWN

TIME

SPEED

1

55

Hal Martin/Galliano, LA

48.092

187.141

2

41

Ty Dillon/Lewisville, NC

48.133

186.982

3

15

Kyle Fowler/Smyrna, GA

48.378

186.035

4

25

Steve Arpin/Fort Frances, ON

48.415

185.893

5

31

Tim George Jr./New York, NY

48.421

185.870

6

68

Steve Blackburn/Prestonsburg, KY

48.493

185.594

7

32

Matt Merrell/Portland, TX

48.837

184.286

8

11

Bryan Silas/Stuart, FL

48.863

184.188

9

19

Brian Rose/Louisville, KY

48.970

183.786

10

52

Tom Hessert/Cherry Hill, NJ

48.970

183.786

11

16

Joey Coulter/Miami Springs, FL

48.983

183.737

12

36

Grant Enfinger/Fairhope, AL

48.999

183.677

13

14

John Ferrier/Middletown, NY

49.002

183.666

14

26

Tommy Joe Martins/Como, MS

49.003

183.662

15

09

Benny Gordon/DuBois, PA

49.019

183.602

16

4

Ricky Carmichael/Tallahassee, FL

49.053

183.475

17

1

Chad McCumbee/Supply, NC

49.085

183.355

18

98

Kevin Swindell/Goodlettsville, TN

49.095

183.318

19

77

Joey Licata/Van Nuys, CA

49.100

183.299

20

5

Bobby Gerhart/Lebanon, PA

49.104

183.284

21

44

Frank Kimmel/Clarksville, IN

49.104

183.284

22

6

Jason Bowles/Ontario, CA

49.245

182.760

23

30

Terry Jones/Amherstburg, ON

49.266

182.682

24

63

Milka Duno/Caracas, Venezuela

49.339

182.411

25

66

Mark Thompson/Cartersville, GA

49.358

182.341

26

28

Miguel Paludo/Nova Prata, Brazil

49.440

182.039

27

97

Matt Lofton/Mooresville, NC

49.570

181.561

28

22

Dakoda Armstrong/New Castle, IN

49.729

180.981

29

17

Chris Buescher/Prosper, TX

49.778

180.803

30

00

Ed Kennedy/Coppell, TX

49.804

180.708

31

82

Sean Corr/Goshen, NY

49.862

180.498

32

94

Brett Hudson/Owensboro, KY

49.869

180.473

33

75

Benny Chastain/Tallahassee, FL

50.045

179.838

34

42

Scott Stenzel/Orlando, FL

50.096

179.655

35

59

Drew Charlson/New Bremen, OH

50.182

179.347

36

12

Maryeve Dufault/Sorel, QC

50.189

179.322

37

48

James Hylton/Inman, SC

50.198

179.290

38

3

Brent Brevak/Eau Claire, WI

50.562

177.999

39

54

Will Vaught/Crane, MO

50.649

177.694

40

18

Chris Lawson/Troutman, NC

50.767

177.281

41

24

Ricky Byers/Birmingham, AL

50.796

177.179

42

34

Darrell Basham/Henryville, IN

51.127

176.032

43

23

Nick Igdalsky/Long Pond, PA

51.258

175.582

44

58

Chad Hackenbracht/New Philadelphia, OH

51.529

174.659

45

10

Ed Pompa/Ballston Spa, NY

51.932

173.304

46

7

Brent Cross/Cortland, NY

51.991

173.107

47

06

Barry Fitzgerald/Sykesville, MD

54.744

164.402

Credit to the ARCA Racing Network for Picture and Quotes

To see more articles by Ashley McCubbin and live updates from the weekend, check out http://newsfromthepits.blogspot.com/

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