Gordon Tops ARCA Testing Via Draft
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — With under one hour remaining in the second day of ARCA Racing Series testing Wednesday at Daytona Int’l Speedway, five cars set out to draft, in turn creating the highest speeds so far during the test.
Benny Gordon, a former USARacing Pro Cup Series champion looking to make his first ARCA Racing Series start during the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 Feb. 12, topped the chart in the No. 09 Enfinger Motorsports Ford at 48.414 seconds (185.897 miles per hour), just edging the 48.427-second (185.847 mph) lap from Chad McCumbee in the No. 1 Andy Belmont Racing Ford.
Drafting was allowed during the afternoon session for the first time in two days of testing at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.
“We have, obviously, a really good car right now,” Gordon said. “We did a lot of qualifying runs the first thing this morning and the car’s pretty decent by itself, but the car’s extremely fast in the draft. We hung around that top 10 in qualifying trim and qualifying runs, but in the draft it was really good.”
McCumbee finished in the top 10 in each of the last five races last season, and with a full season’s slate ahead of him, saw today’s strong performance as a potential wave of momentum for continued success in 2011.
“It’s so far, so good,” McCumbee said. “The Andy Belmont Racing guys have really worked over the off-season and we’ve brought in some new people. The first couple days working with (crew chief) Wayne Carroll have been great. We’re still off from where we’d like to be, obviously. We’ve got some more to do that we haven’t shown.”
Ty Dillon drove the No. 41 Richard Childress Racing Development Chevrolet to the third fastest time, followed by Sean Corr in fourth aboard the No. 82 Empire Racing Ford, and Joey Licata, Jr. reached the fifth spot in the No. 77 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge.
Chad Hackenbracht, Hal Martin, Kyle Fowler and Steve Arpin all posted speeds higher than any seen in the previous three sessions. Milka Duno finished the session 10th, matching her previous best mark of 48.673 seconds (184.907 mph). Just .259 second separated the top 10 drivers.
Six-time Daytona winner Bobby Gerhart finished the session 25th following a best lap of 49.578 seconds (181.532 mph). Nine-time ARCA Racing Series champion Frank Kimmel elected not to participate in the afternoon session.
Though drafting practice was allowed in the afternoon, numerous drivers chose not to participate or to simply make single-car runs, as had been allowed in the previous three sessions.
In all, 39 drivers turned laps in 42 different cars in the afternoon session.
Open testing for teams and drivers will conclude today at Daytona Int’l Speedway. Only single-car runs will be allowed in the morning, and drafting will be permitted in the afternoon.