(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) – Venturini Motorsports has made a habit of exhibiting raw power in ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards testing sessions, and 18-year-old Kyle Fowler helped the organization continue that custom this afternoon.
Fowler, of Smyrna, Ga., drove the No. 15 Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet to a lap of 48.791 seconds (184.460 mph) in the afternoon session to lead the opening day of testing at the historic 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway.
“I didn’t expect that. This is my first time here, but the guys have been putting a lot of hard work and effort into it. I’m certainly pleased with it, obviously,” Fowler said.
Fowler looked ahead to Wednesday’s test sessions, which will feature single-car runs in the morning and drafting practice in the afternoon.
“We’re going to try a couple different things. The car’s handling outstanding so we just basically have to get me comfortable in the draft. That’s going to be a new experience for me, so we’ll see if we can get ready for the race here,” Fowler said.
“Restrictor plate racing is absolutely different than anything I’ve ever done. It was something to take those first few laps around this place, considering how much history it has. It was incredible.”
Venturini Motorsports posted each of the day’s top three speeds and four of the top eight, so far pleasing team general manager Billy Venturini, and matching last season’s effort which saw the ARCA stalwart lead in preseason Daytona testing with driver Mikey Kile.
“We have high expectations when we go plate racing. We’ve worked really hard since the week after (last season’s finale at) Rockingham, so it’s always good to see your hard work pay off. I hope we can make it all apply when we come back for the race,” Venturini said.
Arpin, who drove the No. 55 entry for Venturini last season, took the No. 25 Toyota to second at 48.796 seconds (184.441 mph). Martin, driving the No. 55, finished third for the day at 49.141 (183.146 mph). Mark Thompson drove Venturini’s No. 66 entry to eighth on the overall chart.
“I only had the afternoon to log laps in the 55 car, and the team really worked hard to give me a fantastic car. The track is fast, the car is fast, and I’m ready for days 2 and 3. The car feels good and we worked on several different setups today,” Martin said. “Daytona is a world-class track, and the repaving has made it even more challenging than before. It’s going to be really interesting to see the drafting practice over the next two days. We can easily take it three-wide for several laps with this surface.”
Tim George Jr. drove the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Development Chevrolet to the fourth position for the day at 49.201 seconds (182.923 mph). Chris Buescher, who led the morning session, finished the day fifth overall with a lap of 49.315 seconds (182.5 mph) in the No. 17 Roulo Brothers Racing Ford.
IndyCar driver Milka Duno finished the day sixth in advance of just her second ARCA Racing Series start, and rookie Ty Dillon was seventh. Grant Enfinger drove an Allgaier Motorsports entry to ninth overall, and Dakoda Armstrong rounded out the top 10.
The on-track action was slowed by only three minor cautions throughout the day.
Open testing for teams and drivers will continue Wednesday and Thursday at Daytona International Speedway.
The 2011 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season will mark the sanctioning body’s 59th year of competition and begins with the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, February 12. The event will air live on SPEED.
The complete 2011 event schedule is available at ARCARacing.com.
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards has crowned an ARCA national champion each year since its inaugural season in 1953, and has toured over 200 race tracks in 28 states since its inception. The series tests the abilities of drivers and race teams over the most diverse schedule of stock car racing events in the world, annually visiting tracks ranging from 0.4 mile to 2.66 miles in length, on both paved and dirt surfaces as well as a left- and right-turn road course.
Founded by John Marcum in 1953 in Toledo, Ohio, the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is recognized among the leading sanctioning bodies in the country. Closing in on completing its sixth decade after hundreds of thousands of miles of racing, ARCA administers over 100 race events each season in two professional touring series and local weekly events.