"I'm just grateful for the opportunity. I'd heard it before, and it's true, just pulling in through the tunnel and looking around, realizing you are going to be driving at Daytona is very cool," Carlson said.
As the sanctioning body for the ARCA CRA Super Series, the ARCA Midwest Tour, and the ARCA Allegiant Air Gold Cup Series, ARCA previously announced the "Road to Daytona" program in which the series champion from each of the three ARCA-sanctioned late model series would be granted with a day of testing at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway during ARCA's annual winter test.
"It was a little hairy at first, but after the first run it was awesome. I have a whole new respect for how busy those guys are in the car to run in the draft. We had a great family vacation and it's been a great experience. Andy (Hillenburg) was awesome to work with. Makes me want to win the ARCA Allegiant Air Gold Cup Late Model Series championship again in 2013 so I can come back."
Andy Hillenburg, a two-time ARCA Daytona winner and the 1995 Series champion, is assisting each Road to Daytona driver in the test session. His Fast Track High Performance Driving School, ARCA's Official Driving School, is also providing the cars and support for the test.
Roush Yates is supplying an ARCA spec restrictor plate engine lease for the weekend, to be run by the three drivers participating in this year's Road to Daytona. ARCA Midwest Tour champion Jonathan Eilen is scheduled for Saturday with ARCA CRA Super Series champion Johnny VanDoorn slated for Sunday.
More Notes From Daytona.......
Dave Mader III, legendary Alabama super late model winner and champion, assisted Thomas Praytor's effort. Mader was an ARCA Racing Series race winner at Michigan Int'l Speedway in 1991.
Former NASCAR Sprint Cup and ARCA driver Carl Long was working with Rick Ware Racing and drivers Cody Ware and Nur Ali.
Team BCR Owner Howard Bixman's dance card is filling quickly. Bixman, who fields the No. 09 and 88 Ford Fusions, has over 30 races between the two cars scheduled for 2013 with drivers Buster Graham, Grant Enfinger, Frank Kimmel II and Charles Evans, Jr.
Clay Campbell, the President of Martinsville Speedway, also posted laps.
"We had a lot of fun and a real positive experience in the ARCA race last spring at Talladega, so we got serious about running here at Daytona. Jeff Spraker and his guys do a great job fielding the equipment; they take care of all the stuff I race on the NASCAR K&N East Series as well. My family has been in this business since the 1940s, and I've been coming to Daytona since I can remember. It's a big deal to be able to race at Daytona, something that's really important to me as a racer.
Bo Lemastus, veteran AMA Motocross and SCCA Pro Racing rider/driver, has acquired all the Mark Gibson Racing inventory and plans to run the full 2013 schedule. Jason Miles is overseeing the effort.
Matt Kurzejewski called in some key help for the test. 1989 ARCA Racing Series champion Bob Keselowski served as crew chief, working to get the driver approved for competition in the February 16 Lucas Oil 200, the 50th race at Daytona for the ARCA Racing Series. Dennis Setzer, who raced in the ARCA Racing Series early in his career before going on to success in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, shook down the car prior to handing the wheel over to the young driver.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion and former ARCA winner Ron Hornaday was working with Brennan Newberry's effort at the test.