ARCA/CRA Super Series teams hit the track Sunday afternoon for open practice in advance of Monday night’s Redbud 400 at Anderson Speedway. What was originally scheduled to be a four-hour practice session was cut short by rain an hour before its scheduled conclusion, with familiar names on top of the leaderboard after three hours.
Three-time ARCA/CRA Super Series champion and former Redbud winner Johnny VanDoorn led the way in open practice with a fast lap of 12.198 seconds, just .06 seconds ahead of series regular Hunter Jack.
Following the practice day, VanDoorn feels good about his car and his chances to add another Redbud victory to his list of accolades after finishing second one year ago.
“It’s pretty good so far, we unloaded pretty good,” VanDoorn told Speed51.com. “I feel we’ve got a good shot tomorrow. It’s kind of like a high-speed endure; we just got to be able to survive the wrecks and stay out front.”
Auburn, Indiana’s Hunter Jack finished the session second-fastest. He heads into the Redbud 400 with momentum after winning his first-career JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour race at the high-banked quarter mile just two weeks ago.
“I feel pretty good about it and the car feels good,” Jack said. “We put some four-lap old tires on there and ran some pretty good times. I think when we mock up it’ll be better. I feel like the car is pretty good on long runs and we’ll work on it a little bit, but I feel pretty good about it and I’m pretty excited.”
The rest of the top five was filled by former Southern Super Series champions, former Redbud winners, and a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver. Stephen Nasse was overall pleased with Sunday’s results, but admits his Jett Motorsports team still has work to do.
“I feel pretty good about the car, I feel like we need another half a tenth,” Nasse said. “I think Hemric’s got the best car right now. I feel good about my long-run car, I just don’t think we’ll have a shot at the pole. I’m just trying to get my car to turn better and I’ll be a little bit faster.”
2016 Redbud winner Dalton Armstrong ended the session fourth in the Richie Wauters Motorsports No. 5 as he prepares for his first race of 2019. He was one driver that hoped for more practice time on Sunday, but believes he is still good to go for the Redbud 400.
“We were going to make some adjustments but this rain is holding us up,” Armstrong said. “I’m not too worried about, we’ll be okay for tomorrow. It’s always luck here, stay clean, get your car as fast as you can, and just try to get out front.”
Rounding out the top five was 2014 Redbud winner and current NASCAR Cup Series rookie Daniel Hemric. With Chris Wimmer at the helm, he is confident his team can get the job done Monday night despite only having competed in a Super Late Model sparingly in the past few years.
“It’s special just to get back here and turn laps, it was definitely a special place for me that night back in 2014 and I’ve always wanted to come back and race here,” Hemric stated. “It’s driving pretty good despite the little laps that we’ve ran. Chris Wimmer always does a good job with his Wimmer Motorsports guys building really fast Fury Racecars. Hopefully we can keep tuning on it, I feel like there’s a long way to go still.”
With a talented field of drivers slated to race 400 laps around the Anderson Speedway bullring, Monday’s race will be a can’t-miss event for short track racing enthusiasts. Those who can’t make it to out to Anderson, Indiana will be able to watch a live pay-per-view broadcast of the race on Speed51.com.
Pay-per-view video tickets can be ordered now by clicking here.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI)
-Photo credit: Speed51.com