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Daytona Countdown: 66 Days to the Lucas Oil 200

The countdown is on to the start of the 2020 ARCA Menards Series season…

Today is December 4, 2019, giving us 66 days until the first green flag of the season on the highbanks of Daytona International Speedway.

The number 66 has been used sporadically within the ARCA Menards Series for much of the past decade. Most recently it’s been a part of the Venturini Motorsports stable, and used by owner Carl Long for long-time driver Mark Thompson.

Thompson started his ARCA career with owner Henley Gray, using number 62. When the former fighter pilot made the move to a self-owned team, he selected number 66.

Thompson scored a pair of victories in his No. 66, both in 1997. Known for his bravado, particularly on the big, fast superspeedways, Thompson backed it up with his first career victory at Charlotte and then followed it a few weeks later with another win at Michigan.

Bob Strait also scored a pair of wins in Thompson’s No. 66 cars, first at Talladega in 1999 and then again at Atlanta in 2000. Coincidentally, both of those races were the twentieth race of the year in each of those seasons.

Thompson would also take the number with him later in his career. Some thirteen years after his last full-time season, Thompson revitalized his driving career with a partial schedule with Venturini Motorsports, earning a second-place finish at Daytona in 2010 and other top-five finishes in later years at Daytona and Talladega.

When Thompson wasn’t at the wheel, other VMS drivers took the wheel, including the likes of Clint King, Steve Arpin, Kevin Swindell, Ryan Unzicker, and Leilani Munter.

The ARCA Menards Series season starts with the Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, February 8. The race will be shown live on FS1 starting at 4:30 pm ET while ARCARacing.com will have live timing & scoring of all on-track sessions.