Eighteen drivers paced the biggest and baddest race track on the planet Wednesday during an open ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards practice session at Talladega Superspeedway in preparation for the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200, a part of a spectacular triple header on Saturday, May 3.
Veteran Tom Hessert led the way with a speed of 184.551 mph, followed by Justin Boston at 183.733 mph. The rest of the top five included John Wes Townley (183.448 mph), Leilani Munter (183.367 mph) and Mark Thompson (183.084 mph).
Justin Allison, grandson of two-time Talladega winner and original member of The Alabama Gang Donnie Allison, was eighth at 182.442 mph. Defending International Motorsports Hall of Fame winner and 10-time ARCA Champion Frank Kimmel, was 13th at 180.553 mph. Alabama’s Thomas Praytor (Mobile) and Joey Gattina (Alabaster) were also on hand. Testing resumes Thursday.
“We need some speed in our car,” said Kimmel, whose son Frank Kimmel II was also testing today and will make his Talladega debut on May 3. “And that is why we are here. We didn’t qualify well in Daytona (in February) and it felt good to come away with a runner-up finish. This is the same car so we are here for a couple of days to try different things to find some speed and make sure we are a contender when we come back here in a couple of weeks.
“This is by far the coolest racetrack that we compete on. We love the people here. The employees at Talladega are second to none and treat you like family, and the fans are the same. Nowhere we go do we hear so much passion for racing. I can tell them that we are going to have a great ARCA race at Talladega. If you want passing, get ready.”