Three days of open testing for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards at Daytona Int'l Speedway came to a conclusion Sunday afternoon with nary an on-track incident among 61 drivers who posted time and speed.
While several veteran teams and drivers utilized the open test in preparation for the 2013 season opener, several rookies circled the 2.5-mile superspeedway in search of seat-time with the intention to gain approval to compete in ARCA competition. Given the success of the test, ARCA's newest rookie crop is off to a very good and safe start.
Venturini Motorsports, in all Toyotas, led the leader board in six separate sessions during which New Castle, Indiana rookie Caleb Armstrong posted the fastest speed overall at 184.192 mph. He was followed by rookie Justin Boston, veteran John Wes Townley and rookie Taylor Ferns.
"As a driver there is no doubt Daytona is the place to be," Armstrong said. "I'm grateful for the opportunity and excited to see my progress in making the transition from open wheel to stock cars. The team has been totally supportive and given me really good equipment."
Venturini Motorsports also provided some 'really good equipment' for Boston, who was second quickest overall at 184.158 mph.
"Obviously there are a lot of variables here but we've been able to quickly create a strong baseline and develop a lot of synergy," said Boston.
"This is new territory for everyone, but the Venturinis prove year after year they can quickly adapt and make it real comfortable to fit in and find speed."
Boston, with title sponsorship from Zloop, announced recently a full season in the No. 25 Venturini Motorsports flagship machine. Daytona will mark his ARCA Racing Series debut.
"It's an honor and privilege to drive at Daytona. This place is the real deal. No other place I'd rather make my series debut than here at Daytona. It's true what they say - all roads do lead to Daytona."
Rookie Matt Kurzejewski, with an assist from former ARCA champion Bob Keselowski, was the fastest Dodge in the line-up, fifth on the leader board overall at 184.121 mph.
Martinsville Speedway track president Clay Campbell, 52, was impressive, earning the sixth fastest speed in a Ford.
"I grew up in the business and I love this sport," Campbell said. "I'm a race fan. I love the business. It's my life. But who in their right mind would not come to Daytona and run a race? This is racing; this is what it's all about. This place has so much history and tradition. This is big for me."
Rookie Bo Lemastus, in a Dodge, was seventh overall with rookie Thomas Praytor earning the eighth fastest speed in a Ford.
"Two of our goals for the test were to earn the respect of the ARCA garage and prove our Mobile team could compete at this level," Praytor said. "Hopefully our performance on and off the track this weekend shows were serious about what we're doing."
Cunningham Motorsports teammates Michel Disdier, of Nice France, and series veteran Tom Hessert completed the top-10 respectively. Both were driving Dodges.
Eight-time winner Bobby Gerhart was 23rd fastest.
ARCA Racing PR