Cunningham Motorsports had the fastest car on the final day of ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards open testing at Daytona Int’l Speedway, but it was Venturini Motorsports which screamed the loudest over the two-day open test at the World Center of Racing.
Venturini rookies Noah Gragson and Spencer Davis turned the fastest laps overall around the 2.5-mile superspeedway with Gragson, in the No. 55 Toyota, taking the top spot among the 63 drivers who posted time and speed Friday and Saturday.
Gragson topped the overall speed chart with a time of 47.583 seconds, an average speed of 189.143 mph.
“I am extremely satisfied with what Venturini Motorsports brought to the race track,” said Gragson. “I knew we were going to be good. Venturinis do their homework and it always shows. With Billy Venturini as my crew chief, we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with when we come back in February.”
Gragson’s going to be a busy guy when he comes “back in February”, as the Las Vegas, Nev. driver will also be driving a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series entry for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM), the first race in a full season on the Truck side for Gragson with the KBM team.
Gragson’s fastest speed at Daytona came on the first day of testing, leading a near 10-car draft.
“We got in a draft with eight or nine cars. I was leading, and Spencer (Davis) did a great job drafting with me. By the second lap, we both pulled away.
“I came in this year not too anxious, no nerves, and I think that helped a lot. That, and the Venturini Motorsports program is as good as it gets. The biggest thing for me was working on getting my car on and off pit road and learning all my marks out there.”
The Venturini Motorsports team was satisfied enough to pack it in early Saturday afternoon, before the five o’clock final buzzer.
“Felt like we had a really nice drafting session yesterday,” said team General Manager Billy Venturini.
“We just went out today and worked on some single car stuff. We got in one small draft, but as good as we are, we didn’t want to put the cars in any risk. We had a very productive test. We found out quite a bit this week, more than the last four or five years.”
Davis, in the No. 25 Venturini flagship machine, was second fastest overall (189.092 mph).
“Car was fast,” said Davis. “The track is little bumpy at speed…the G-forces push you down into the seat more than I anticipated in the corners. Davis Poultry Processing Equipment helped me get here to the test, and I’d like to thank them.”
Shane Lee, in the No. 22 Cunningham Motorsports Ford, was third on the overall chart, posting a speed of 188.608 mph. His top speed was fast enough to lead the charts Saturday afternoon.
“We made a few changes last night that helped us today in the draft,” said Lee. “Our fastest lap might have been a little better, but we picked up a side draft from another car towards the end of the lap, and that stalled me out little.”
Lee likes his chances coming back for the race in February.
“We’re confident about our chances coming back in February. This car was strong from the get-go. We put well over a hundred laps down in testing. We were doing 15 to 20 laps at a time in the draft today. It’s a nice feeling knowing you’re with a winning team, and all I have to do is drive.”
Ken Schrader Racing’s Austin Theriault, in the No. 52 Toyota, turned the fourth fastest lap of the test, coming in with a speed of 188.363 mph.
“We made a few small changes today, and we picked up a little time,” said Theriault. “I might have been able to do a faster lap, but we were being cautious…we want to bring this car back for the race. I learned a little more about how these cars draft. We’ll go over the changes we made back at the shop, and decide what package to come back with.”
Lee’s Cunningham teammate Dalton Sargeant, in the No. 77 Ford, was fifth overall (188.111 mph).
“We had some great laps today working with both teammates and the 52 car,” said Sargeant. “Daytona is different from Talladega…the track is tighter, and you have to be more precise when you start your drafting run on another car. Today really sharpened my drafting skills. We practiced in the front of the pack today, and I really liked that. Hopefully, we can be in front when we come back in February.
“We tried some changes late today, and we’ll review what we need to do to make us a little better for the race.”
Leilani Munter, testing with Venturini Motorsports, was the only female driver that turned laps at Daytona during the two-day test. Munter was 16th on the overall board.
“We had some good laps this morning,” said Munter. “I made a little mistake and lost the draft, or we would have had a better time for the day. It was good to knock the cobwebs out this weekend, and be back in a car before the race. I’ll be in driving shape, and one-hundred percent focused on racing for the next month, and I’m looking forward to February.”
Outside of a couple of smokers for disconnected oil lines and such, the two-day test went incident free.
The 54th annual Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 Driven by General Tire at Daytona is coming Saturday, Feb. 18, ARCA’s season-opener since 1964. The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards begins its 65th consecutive season of competition in 2017.
Story By: Don Radebaugh / ARCA PR
Photo Credit: Venturini Facebook photo
ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards
Daytona Int’l Speedway
Open Testing (Jan. 13-14, 2017)
Daytona Int’l Speedway
Open Testing (Jan. 13-14, 2017)
|1||55g||Noah Gragson/Las Vegas NV||Toyota||47.583||189.143|
|2||25||Spencer Davis/Dawsonville GA||Toyota||47.596||189.092|
|3||22||Shane Lee/Newton NC||Ford||47.718||188.608|
|4||52||Austin Theriault/Fort Kent ME||Chevrolet||47.780||188.363|
|5||77s||Dalton Sargeant/Boca Raton FL||Ford||47.844||188.111|
|6||78g||Kaz Grala/Westborough MA||Chevrolet||47.846||188.103|
|7||77m||Ty Majeski/Seymour WI||Ford||47.869||188.013|
|8||23||Bret Holmes/Munford AL||Chevrolet||47.884||187.954|
|9||83||Derrick Lancaster/Christiansburg VA||Dodge||48.047||187.317|
|10||32||Gus Dean/Bluffton SC||Toyota||48.155||186.896|
|11||34m||Willie Mullins/Fredricksburg VA||Ford||48.159||186.881|
|12||55s||Zane Smith/Huntington Beach CA||Toyota||48.167||186.850|
|13||33||Justin Fontaine/Fletcher NC||Toyota||48.214||186.668|
|14||8h||Justin Haley/Winamac IN||Toyota||48.255||186.509|
|15||8m||Travis Miller/Chesapeake VA||Toyota||48.280||186.413|
|16||15||Leilani Munter/Rochester MN||Toyota||48.303||186.324|
|17||01||Travis Braden/Wheeling WV||Ford||48.307||186.308|
|18||7||Codie Rohrbaugh/Petersburg WV||Dodge||48.330||186.220|
|19||57c||Calvin Carroll/Andover NJ||Chevrolet||48.333||186.208|
|20||8h||Riley Herbst/Las Vegas NV||Toyota||48.336||186.197|
|21||98||Quin Houff/Mount Sidney VA||Chevrolet||48.359||186.108|
|22||80b||Caesar Bacarella/Parklna FL||Chevrolet||48.365||186.085|
|23||9||Thomas Praytor/Mobile AL||Ford||48.419||185.877|
|24||6||Michael Lira/Port Orange FL||Ford||48.421||185.870|
|25||58||Clint King/Denton NC||Ford||48.429||185.839|
|26||42||Bo LeMastus/Louisville KY||Dodge||48.438||185.805|
|27||02||Andy Seuss/Hampstead NH||Chevrolet||48.440||185.797|
|28||16||John Ferrier/Middletown NY||Chevrolet||48.470||185.682|
|29||5||Bobby Gerhart/Lebanon PA||Chevrolet||48.477||185.655|
|30||38||Ray Cicarelli/Ellicott City MD||Chevrolet||48.546||185.391|
|31||37l||David LeBeau/Daytona Beach FL||Ford||48.564||185.322|
|32||72h||Tyler Hill/Port Tobacco MD||Chevrolet||48.707||184.778|
|33||57d||Bryan Dauzat/Concord NC||Chevrolet||48.748||184.623|
|34||16f||Steve Fox/Hawley PA||Chevrolet||48.769||184.543|
|35||69s||Ricky Sanders/Stockbridge GA||Ford||48.899||184.053|
|36||72m||Tony Mrakovich/Elizabethtown PA||Chevrolet||49.022||183.591|
|37||78w||Kyle Weatherman/Wentzville MO||Chevrolet||49.052||183.479|
|38||11j||Casey Johnson/Stoughton WI||Chevrolet||49.135||183.169|
|39||8s||Michael Self/Park City UT||Toyota||49.163||183.064|
|40||80l||Scott Lagasse Jr./St. Augustine FL||Chevrolet||49.294||182.578|
|41||10p||Ed Pompa/Ballston Spa NY||Chevrolet||49.575||181.543|
|42||7 l||Verlin Larry Berg/Petersburg WV||Chevrolet||49.587||181.499|
|43||34b||Robert Bruce/Fredricksburg VA||Ford||49.717||181.025|
|44||72m||Stan Mullis/Las Vegas NV||Chevrolet||49.759||180.872|
|45||37c||Wendell Chavous/Hephzbah GA||Ford||49.862||180.498|
|46||34a||Wyatt Alexander/Ellsworth ME||Ford||49.876||180.448|
|47||34||Jeff MacZink/Rockwood MI||Ford||49.926||180.267|
|48||0h||Richard Hauck/Howell MI||Chevrolet||49.985||180.054|
|49||0n||Con Nicolopoulos/Columbus, MI||Chevrolet||49.995||180.018|
|50||2||Eric Caudell/ Piedmont OK||Chevrolet||50.023||179.917|
|51||11a||Dalton Armstrong/New Catle IN||Chevrolet||50.106||179.619|
|52||0m||Dale Matchett/Cherry Hill NJ||Chevrolet||50.265||179.051|
|53||10r||Zach Ralston/Springville IA||Chevrolet||50.333||178.809|
|54||10b||Bryant Barnhill/Supply NC||Chevrolet||50.780||177.235|
|55||0t||Don Thompson/Carlisle PA||Chevrolet||50.997||176.481|
|56||69||Trey Hutchens/Lexington MC||Ford||51.468||174.866|
|57||69h||Kevin Hinkle/Shawnee KS||Ford||51.515||174.706|
|58||3||Mike Senica/Doylestown PA||Chevrolet||51.672||174.176|
|59||37h||Kirk Horton/Eldred NY||Ford||51.765||173.863|
|60||69||Cody Lane/Port Richey FL||Ford||51.799||173.749|
|61||3e||Scott Edwards/Ormand Beach FL||Chevrolet||52.333||171.976|
|62||11||D.L. Wilson/Waco TX||Chevrolet||53.713||167.557|
|63||37b||Mike Brown/Iuka MS||Ford||60.540||148.662|