DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (February 8, 2011) – – A lot is riding on the performance of Goshen New York’s Sean Corr and his Empire Racing team as the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards kicks off their 2011 schedule this Saturday afternoon at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway for the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona.
However, the pressure of figuring out the core; or the foundation of the newly re-paved 2.5-mile speedway is far from the mind of expected ARCA full-time driver Corr when he climbs behind the wheel of his No. 82 Empire Racing Ford Fusion this week.
Displeased with their performance at the open ARCA Racing Series test last month at the famed Daytona Beach, Florida racetrack, the Empire Racing team led by team manager John Bellesfield and crew chief Richard Johns literally went back to the drawing board; to square one with a new game plan.
Following a private test at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, which yielded better results, the team is optimistic about returning to the “World Center of Racing” for the first of 19 events this season.
“This plate racing is nerve racking,” offered Corr, who will attempt to run for the ARCA championship title in 2011. “The adrenaline starts running before you even leave the shop and continues until you cross underneath that tunnel for the ride home. Despite the tension though, I’m ready to go!”
To help ease his thoughts about the “what if’s”; Corr will strap himself into the driver’s seat of the 18-wheeler Empire Racing hauler and make the eight or so hour trip to the Sunshine State.
“Several of the “bosses” of the team are trying to get me away from driving the truck and concentrate on other things, but it’s my sanctuary,” joked Corr. “I dial in some good tunes, listen to what others are talking about on the C.B. radio and just head South. It relaxes me to drive the hauler and I know personally that the race cars and equipment are getting to the track. I’m sure I’ll get demoted to just the race car driver at some point this year, but I’m going to enjoy it (driving the hauler) as long as I can.”
When Corr’s real job begins on Thursday, with a four-hour practice session, the avid dirt pro stock competitor admits the fun goes away for a little at least, while the seriousness of what has to be done intensifies. Though, Corr confesses, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’m a race car driver; that is what I do,” Corr sounded. “Obviously, we’ve done a lot of work since the Daytona test, but I think we’ll be just fine. We have to use the time allotted to us to our advantage. After qualifying is over on Friday afternoon, I’ll relax a little before buckling in on Saturday afternoon and hope to give the Empire Racing team a finish to shout about.”
The thoughts of capturing a top-five finish or even winning his first ARCA Racing Series race at Daytona is humbling, especially since the Empire Racing team elected to bring a different Ford Fusion back for the kickoff of Speedweeks 2011.
“We took two cars to Talladega and after lengthy discussions, we decided to go with the back-up car as our primary,” stated former Empire Racing crew chief now manager Bellesfield. “We know we have to go to Daytona with our ducks-in-a-row and most importantly get in the show. Once the green flag flies on Saturday, we have the up most faith that Sean and our spotter Keith Barnwell will put us in contention.”
The Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona (80 laps / 200 miles) is the first of 19 events on the 2011 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. The 48th ARCA race held at Daytona is a three-day show. Practice begins Thursday, February 10 with a four hour practice session planned from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Menards pole qualifying presented by Ansell is set for Friday, February 11 slated to begin at 2:00 p.m. A forty-five minute final practice session is etched in on Saturday, February 12th from 10:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. The event will take the green flag later that day shortly after 4:30 p.m. The race will be televised live on SPEED with additional race coverage including live timing and scoring and radio broadcast through the ARCA Racing Network (ARN) online at arcaracing.com. All times are local.
For more on Sean Corr, Empire Racing and marketing opportunities for the 2011 racing season, please visit empireracingllc.com.