Jason Kitzmiller upbeat for Daytona return

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.: CR7 Motorsports’ Jason Kitzmiller is back and ready to build on an impressive 2020 ARCA Menards Series season beginning with Saturday afternoon’s Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

With the guidance of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver and former ARCA competitor Codie Rohrbaugh, Kitzmiller burst onto the tour, impressing with three top-10 finishes and six top-14 finishes in seven races overall.

Kitzmiller’s ARCA debut last February at Daytona was spoiled by engine failure 11 laps into the 80-lap event leaving redemption on the table in his eighth career ARCA Menards Series start.

“Obviously, we didn’t have the finish we were hoping for last year, but that is unfortunately just part of the game,” said Kitzmiller. “

“However, I feel like as a team we have come a long way in 12 months, and I feel redemption is our friend this weekend.”

The Petersburg, WV native will make his third superspeedway start at the “World Center of Racing” and returns to Daytona after drafting to an eighth-place finish at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway last June, a career-best result.

“I learned so much last June that can be easily applied to Daytona,” added Kitzmiller. “I’ve been able to surround myself with a group of great people whether in the garage or up on top spotting and all that adds to the components of making it a successful race or even weekend.

“You may not always get the result you are hoping for, but for us, it’s about having fun with our No. 97 A.L.L. Construction | Grant County Mulch Chevrolet and that fun factor includes this weekend at Daytona.”

As much as the mojo is a light-hearted, laidback and fun atmosphere, once the headsets go on and Kitzmiller straps behind the wheel of his race car, business becomes the priority. The CR7 Motorsports showed that during open ARCA Menards Series testing last month at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

“Our goal wasn’t about going out there and putting up a big number, it was about making sure our No. 97 A.L.L. Construction | Grant County Mulch Chevrolet was handling the best it could whether in the draft or by ourselves.

“I know talking to Codie (Rohrbaugh) and others on our team, a good handling car will equal a fast race car, so that is what we focused on. We’ll make some tweaks on Friday during practice and then just hope we put up a good lap in qualifying and let the race play out.

“We don’t necessarily have a strategy at this point, we’ll just see how the race unfolds. If we’re in a position to stay near the front, we’ll stay there. If it looks a little dicey, we might hang back a little, we just have to wait and see how it all flows.”

A goal for Saturday?

Easy.

“A top-10 would be fabulous, a top-five would be a win and a win would be a jackpot,” sounded Kitzmiller. “If we can’t do that though, as long as we had fun and learned something for the next race then we’ll chalk it up to a successful weekend and get ready for the next race.”

Kitzmiller and CR7 Motorsports will run a partial ARCA schedule in 2021 with a firm schedule announced soon.

Kitzmiller will also adorn a decal remembering CR7 Motorsports general manager Mark Huff who passed away last week after a brief illness. Huff was responsible for helping revive the ARCA Menards Series team in 2020.

“I will always Mark for his carrying of people on this CR7 Motorsports team and his enormous work ethic. He did a lot for the team and is irreplaceable. We will race to win in his honor on Saturday afternoon.”

Marketing partnership(s) opportunities are available for the No. 97 A.L.L. Construction Chevrolet and No. 9 Grant County Mulch Chevrolet for the 2021 ARCA Menards Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series seasons and beyond. Interested inquiries are encouraged to contact at tonya@gcmulch.com or 304.257.8783.

The Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire (80 laps | 200 miles) is the first of 20 races on the 2021 ARCA Menards Series schedule. Practice begins Fri., Feb. 12 with a one-hour session from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Group qualifying is set for race day, Sat., Feb. 13 at 8:30 a.m. The season-opener for the 69th consecutive ARCA season is set to take the green flag shortly after 1:30 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities.



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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