(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - February 12, 2013) - As the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards nears yet another huge milestone with the 50th Anniversary Lucas Oil 200 presented by American Real at Daytona Int'l Speedway on Saturday, February 16, the inevitable stories seem to come out of the woodwork for ARCA's marquis event.
50th Anniversary Race at Daytona: As it has since 1964, the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards will open its 61st season of competition at Daytona Int'l Speedway with the Lucas Oil 200 presented by MAVTV American Real, the 50th Anniversary event for ARCA at Daytona. The race will serve as the preamble to the same-night NASCAR Sprint Unlimited.
ARCA Winners Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, More To Be Honored in Pre-Race Ceremonies: Past Daytona ARCA winners Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman are just some of the drivers slated to be honored in pre-race ceremonies for the 50th running of the Lucas Oil 200 ARCA race at Daytona. Additional past Daytona ARCA 200 winners to be honored in next Saturday's 50th Anniversary show include Ralph Jones, Rick Wilson, Glenn Sears, Mickey Gibbs, Jimmy Horton, Andy Hillenburg, Bobby Gerhart, David Keith, and Michael Annett. Kyle Petty is also tentatively scheduled.
Veteran Bobby Gerhart Tops the "Most List" at Daytona: When it comes to the most, Lebanon, Pennsylvania's Bobby Gerhart tops the list. Already with the most wins (8), the Lebanon, Pa. driver has the most starts (25), the most top-10 finishes (14), the most top-five finishes (10), the most poles (four), the most front row starts (six), and the most wins from the pole (three). He's the led the race 13 times. As always, his brother Bill Gerhart will serve as Bobby's crew chief to create the most effective brother combo in Daytona ARCA history.
Kimmel Looking for Career Win 77, but First at Daytona: Nine-time ARCA Racing Series driving champion Frank Kimmel is second on the all-time ARCA Series win list with 76 victories behind only Iggy Katona, who leads with 79. However, Kimmel, who has won nearly everywhere on the tour, has never scored a win at Daytona. This year's Lucas Oil 200 will mark his 22nd consecutive attempt at Daytona. His seven top-five finishes at Daytona include runner-up runs in 2004 and 2005 and third place finishes in 2001 and 2002.
Champion Buescher is Back: 2012 ARCA champion Chris Buescher is returning with his championship Roulo Brothers team for the 50th running of the Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona. However, Buescher's plans include a very limited ARCA schedule in 2013 with as many as six NASCAR Nationwide Series races mixed in with Roush Fenway Racing.
Championship Roulo Bros Team Intros Mason Mitchell: 2012 champion Chris Buescher will have a teammate for the 50th running of the Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona. The Roulo Brothers recently announced that W. Des Moines, Iowa rookie Mason Mitchell will drive the team's No. 99 in 2013, starting at Daytona. Mitchell made four ARCA Series starts in 2012, earning two top five finishes while capturing two outside poles.
Turner Motorsports - a Rookie and a Veteran: Turner Motorsports heads to Daytona with a two-car effort featuring open-wheel standout/rookie Kyle Larson (right), 20, in the No. 4 Chevrolet, and ARCA veteran Mark Thompson, 61, in the No. 62 Chevrolet. Thompson has 11 starts at Daytona with three top-five finishes (second in 2010, fourth in 1998, fifth in 2012). Thompson is the owner of Phoenix Air, a huge fleet of jets that travel worldwide on special assignments for the United State government. Larson, an Earnhardt Ganassi Racing development driver, has been one of the hottest young drivers the last two years, winning the USAC Midget, Sprint and Silver Crown divisions all on the same day at Eldora Speedway in 2011. Larson is slated to run the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2013 in the No. 32 car for Turner Motorsports. Larson drove in four Camping World Truck Series races for Turner last year with three top-10s, including a second at Phoenix. He led 48 laps in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway before a crash while battling Ty Dillon for second ended his day.
Tom Hessert Comes Back to Cunningham Motorsports: After running a full season for Cunningham Motorsports in 2010, posting one win at Iowa Speedway, Hessert moved over to Ken Schrader Racing for two full seasons before making the move back to Cunningham for the 2013 season. Hessert will be in the No. 77 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge at Daytona. Hessert's career-best ARCA points finished was with Cunningham in 2010 when he finished third. Daytona will mark Hessert's 99th career ARCA start. He has 25 top-five finishes and 53 top-10s overall. In addition to his Iowa win, he also won at Salem in 2012.
Venturini Motorsports Coming Fully Loaded; Still Looking for First Win at Daytona: Longtime series participants Venturini Motorsports has four cars entered for the Lucas Oil 200, including its flagship No. 25 machine with Baltimore, Md. rookie Justin Boston driving with title sponsorship from ZLOOP. Also entered from the Venturini camp is the No. 15 of John Wes Townley, the No. 35 of Milka Duno and the No. 55 of Darrell Wallace (right). The event will mark the career-first ARCA starts for Boston and Wallace, while Duno and Townley are both considered veterans on the tour. Townley, in addition to his tenure in the NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series, has had ARCA success at Daytona with a career-best third place finish in 2010. Townley also finished fourth (2009) and 11th (2008) at Daytona. Duno, in the off-season, switched from David Leiner Racing to Venturini Motorsports where the Caracas, Venezuela driver is slated to run the full 2013 ARCA season. Her career-best ARCA finished was 10th at New Jersey Motorsports Park in 2012.
JGR Development Driver Darrell Wallace Teams With Venturini Motorsports for Daytona: Darrell Wallace Jr. has teamed up with Venturini Motorsports (VMS) to compete in the ARCA race at Daytona. Wallace, a development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) and a former participant in NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program, will make his first Daytona start behind the wheel of VMS's No.55 Toyota entry.
Mingus to Make Superspeedway Debut for Win-Tron: Brentwood, Tennessee's Mason Mingus is scheduled to make his superspeedway debut in the No. 32 Win-Tron Racing Toyota. Mingus, a senior in high school, cut his ARCA teeth in 2012 for Win-Tron, participating on short tracks only. Despite the limited schedule, the 18-year-old teenager earned seven top-10 finishes including finishes of eighth at New Jersey Motorsports Park, eighth on the Springfield mile dirt, ninth at Elko, 10th at Salem, and 10th at Lucas Oil Raceway. Mingus announced recently a full ARCA season with Win-Tron.
Former Car Owner Champ Eddie Sharp Enters with Caleb Armstrong: Eddie Sharp, the 2009 ARCA car owner champion, has entered a Chevrolet at Daytona with New Castle, Indiana's Caleb Armstrong listed as the driver. Armstrong made one ARCA start at Salem in 2012 where he finished 15th. Caleb is the first cousin of ARCA veteran driver/former ARCA winner Dakoda Armstrong.
Ken Schrader Racing returns with Chad Boat: The son of Indy 500 veteran Billy Boat, Chad Boat plans to compete with Ken Schrader Racing in ARCA competition in 2013. Boat competed in the USAC National Midget and Sprint divisions in 2008, becoming the youngest driver to ever win a USAC dirt sprint race with his win at Hagerstown Speedway. He also won four out of six sprint car races at Kokomo Speedway in 2009. He is also a veteran of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and made three ARCA starts in 2012, finishing a career-best third in his first start at Iowa. He also finished eighth at Lucas Oil Raceway where he led six laps.
Kimmel and Kimmel ready for Daytona opener: Will Kimmel (right), the nephew of nine-time champion Frank Kimmel, has again teamed up with his father/car owner/crew chief Bill Kimmel, Jr. for the 50th running at Daytona. Will scored his best finish in 2012 at Daytona, where they finished third; although his career-best ARCA finish was second at Salem in 2011. Prior to teaming up with his son, Bill Kimmel earned eight Cometic Crew Chief of the Year titles with his brother Frank. The Kimmel Racing team has also entered a second car at Daytona for rookie Steve Kemp, of Justin, Texas. The event will mark Kemp's debut in the ARCA Racing Series.
Rookie Matt Kurzejewski and Keselowski Team-up at Daytona: Mansfield, Penn. Rookie Matt Kurzejewski has teamed up with the Keselowski family for his debut at Daytona. 1989 ARCA national champion Bob Keselowski will serve as Kurzejewski's crew chief at Daytona. The union of Kurzejewski and Keselowski is more like a reunion. The two joined forces in 2008 for their only ARCA start together at Toledo Speedway where they finished 18th. Kurzejewski tested with Keselowski at Daytona in December of '12, and was among the top-10 fastest cars in all six sessions.
Coulter Motorsports Aligns with Rookie Ricky Ehrgott for Daytona: Ricky Ehrgott is hoping for a breakout season in 2013, a comeback season if you will. The 24-year old will tell you that the last three years have been traumatic for him both emotionally and physically. In 2009, Ehrgott tore an artery in his neck during a horrifying midget crash at Kokomo Speedway. Since then, it's been a slow but successful recovery for the Brandon, Florida native. Ehrgott got back on track in 2012 at Kansas Speedway where he raced for Allgaier Motorsports. Ehrgott was running in the top-10 when he cut a tire, relegating himself to a 30th place finish.
Defending Daytona Polesitter Sean Corr Pulling Double Duty: Goshen, New York veteran driver Sean Corr (right) will be returning to defend his pole run he earned in 2012. Unfortunately, mechanical issues ended Corr's run early on last year after he led the first 14 laps. Corr will be busy guy in Daytona this year, as he'll also be fielding a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series effort out of his own team - Empire Racing.
International Flavor: In addition to abundance of Americans on the entry list, several drivers from 3 other countries are entered. Those drivers include Milka Duno (Caracas, Venezuela), Dexter Stacy (Kahnawake Quebec), Julian Jousse (St. Tropez, France), Michel Disdier (Nice, France), Terry Jones (Amherstburg, Ont.), and Andrew Gresel (Hepworth, Ont.). As noted above, Duno will be driving a car for Venturini Motorsports. Disdier will be driving a second entry for Cunningham Motorsports while Jousse will be driving for David Leiner Racing. Stacy is scheduled to make his series debut in a Peterson Motorsports entry, and Jones will be driving for his own Jones Group team. Gresel will be in a Ford for Wes Gonder Racing.
RACE WINNERS AT DAYTONA SINCE 1964 (49 events): 8 - Bobby Gerhart, 3 - Iggy Katona; 2 each - Andy Hampton, Ben Hess, Andy Hillenburg, Jimmy Horton, Jeff Purvis; 1 each - Grant Adcox, Michael Annett, Charlie Blanton, Jack Bowsher, James Buescher, Kyle Busch, Woody Fisher, Mickey Gibbs, Ferrel Harris, Ron Hutcherson, Kenny Irwin, Ralph Jones, David Keith, Ralph Latham, Chase Montgomery, Ryan Newman, Benny Parsons, Kyle Petty, Lennie Pond, John Rezek, Tim Richmond, Joe Ruttman, Jim Sauter, Glenn Sears, Nelson Stacy, Ramo Stott, Mike Wallace, Rick Wilson.