The Christmas trees are down and the decorations are put away for another year, the mess from the New Year's Eve party has been cleaned up, and the ARCA Racing Series has made its annual January trip to the highbanks of Daytona International Speedway to kick off its 2019 season.
Although the season doesn't officially start until the Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire on Saturday, February 9 at the World Center of Racing, upwards of 30 teams and more than 40 drivers will make their way to Daytona to make their first laps of the new year in preparation for the 56th annual ARCA race at Daytona.
Defending winner Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) will be back with Venturini Motorsports, and like last year he will be in Daytona looking to start the season with a win. But unlike last year, he will also be looking to kick off his season on the right foot as he prepares for his first full-season run at the series championship.
"I always enjoy coming to Daytona," Self said. "It's a fun, somewhat relaxing couple of days to get in the swing of things, build relationships, and turn some laps. I am excited to do just that with the Venturini Motorsports guys this weekend and hopefully help them out based on the knowledge I feel I have of superspeedway racing after a couple of successful runs last year."
Other notable drivers expected to test at Daytona on Friday and Saturday include Self's Venturini Motorsports teammates Christian Eckes (No. 15 VMS Toyota), Harrison Burton (No. 20 DEX Imaging Toyota), and Leilani Munter (No. 55 What The Health Toyota), Joe Gibbs Racing's Riley Herbst (No. 18 Monster Energy/ORCA Coolers/Advance Auto Parts Toyota), last year's fifth-place finisher in the series standings Travis Braden (No. 27 MatrixCare/Liberty Village Ford), Natalie Decker (No. 54 DGR-Crosley Racing Toyota), former Talladega winner Brandon McReynolds (No. 35 KBR Development Chevrolet), Stefan Parsons, son of current NASCAR on FOX and ARCA Racing Series television analyst Phil Parsons and nephew of 1968 and 1969 ARCA champion Benny Parsons (No. 77 Chad Bryant Racing Ford), and Thad Moffitt (No. 46 Empire Racing Chevrolet), the great-grandson of the inaugural Daytona 500 winner Lee Petty and grandson of seven-time 500 winner Richard Petty.
The ARCA Racing Series teams will be on track from 9 am ET through noon and 1 pm ET through 5 pm on both Friday, January 11 and Saturday, January 12 at Daytona. ARCARacing.com will have live timing & scoring, live chat, and track updates throughout the weekend for ARCA for Me members. To enjoy all the benefits of being an ARCA For Me member, go to arcaracing.com/login to register.
The Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire at Daytona International Speedway is set for Saturday, February 9 and will be televised live on FS1 starting at 4:30 pm ET.
-ARCA Racing Series Press Release
-Photo Credit: ARCA Racing Series