Thursday evening’s practice was led by the driver with the most ARCA Racing Series wins at Daytona International Speedway (FL) in the history of the series, Bobby Gerhart.  Friday morning’s final practice was paced by Patrick Staropoli, a driver who has never raced in ARCA competition anywhere ever before.

 

Staropoli, a graduate of Harvard University, put down a lap of 47.386 seconds right at the end of the hour-long practice session on Friday morning.  His time beat Frank Kimmel’s lap of 47.388 seconds by just two one-thousanths of a second.  It’s also the fastest lap anybody has turned at Daytona yet between the two practice sessions this weekend and both test sessions during the winter.

 

“Practice got pretty wild with everybody trying to lay back and get runs at the end,” Staropoli told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.  “We got pretty lucky to time it right and get a big run.  The last lap of practice yesterday we had a flat tire and I just about wrecked the car coming down the frontstretch.  And today we turned the fastest lap.”

 

While Staropoli was thrilled with his speed, he doesn’t know what to think about how he’ll do in qualifying on Friday afternoon, or how the group qualifying system will play out.

 

“I think it says nothing about qualifying,” Staropoli said with a laugh.  “I think nobody knows what to expect going into this.”

 

Kimmel agreed with Staropoli’s assessment, saying that the session will be a “crapshoot,” but he thinks the session will at least be cleaner than practice.

 

“You’re with cars that have run your speed throughout practice, so that’s a good thing,” said Kimmel who is still looking for his first ARCA Daytona win.  “A lot of times in practice it’s kind of scary because you have some of the guys that aren’t up to the speed that your car is and they’re trying to come into the middle of the pack.

 

“This qualifying will be interesting.  We could have the pole from the top two or maybe top three groups. Any of us could have the pole, so we’ll see.”

 

The debut of group qualifying at Daytona is at 3:30 p.m ET Friday afternoon.

 

Speed51.com’s Trackside Now coverage is live from The World Center of Speed and can be found right here:

 

-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor -Twitter: @RobBlount

-Photo Credit: Mike Ramsell/Speed51.com

 

ARCA Lucas Oil 200 Final Practice Results

Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida

Driver Times
1 82 Patrick Staropoli 47.386
2 25 Frank Kimmel 47.388
3 48 Sean Corr 47.414
4 69 Will Kimmel 47.448
5 15 Daniel Suarez 47.464
6 09 Brett Hudson 47.468
7 77 Tom Hessert 47.542
8 8 Austin Hill 47.544
9 52 Clay Campbell 47.692
10 66 Leilani Munter 47.705
11 17 Buster Graham 47.728
12 12 Tyler Audie 47.756
13 20 Scott Sheldon 47.771
14 23 Grant Enfinger 47.799
15 11 Mark Thompson 47.802
16 55 Cody Coughlin 47.804
17 54 Matt Kurzejewski 47.821
18 83 Derrick Lancaster 47.875
19 49 Brad Smith 47.903
20 68 David Levine 47.94
21 78 Mason Mitchell 47.945
22 22 Blake Jones 47.994
23 92 Daniel Hemric 48.005
24 58 John Lowinski-Loh 48.078
25 30 Terry Jones 48.166
26 98 Austin Wayne Self 48.186
27 5 Bobby Gerhart 48.596
28 7 Tommy Barrett Jr. 48.705
29 76 Andy Seuss 48.79
30 6 Josh Williams 48.857
31 3 Karl Webber 48.907
32 80 Russ Dugger 49.064
33 1 J.J. Pack 49.156
34 42 Bo LeMastus 49.158
35 97 Bobby Hamilton Jr. 49.244
36 88 Cole Powell 49.291
37 18 Bill Catania 49.301
38 95 Cassi Gannis 49.872
39 99 Brent Cross 49.94
40 06 Ed Pompa 50.113
41 10 Garrett Smithely 50.207
42 57 Bryan Dauzat 50.222
43 0 James Swanson 50.322
44 03 Raymond Hassler 51.046
45 73 Dale Shearer 51.381
46 00 Barry Fitzgerald 51.587
47 40 Donnie Neuenberger 52.723

 

 

Harvard Grad. Paces ARCA Final Practice At Daytona