In Day One Darnell Tops Speed Charts in Daytona Testing PDF Print E-mail

darnelldaytonatest07.jpgDAYTONA BEACH, FL (12-14-07) -- Forty-one teams kicked off a three-day ARCA RE/MAX Series test session on Friday at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the ARCA 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series race scheduled for Feb. 9.

In all, 61 drivers took times Friday. Among the drivers in attendance include 2007 Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Champion Dario Franchitti, five-time ARCA 200 At Daytona winner Bobby Gerhart, Formula One driver turned stock car rookie Scott Speed and nine-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel.

Erik Darnell, driving a Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, was the fastest after the first day of testing with a speed of 179.935 mph. Rounding out the top five were Dominick Casola (179.569), Matt Carter (179.269), Richard Childress Racing's Alex Yontz (179.269) and Chad Blount (179.023).

Darnell, who competes for Roush Fenway Racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, is spending the three-day ARCA RE/MAX Series test session assisting new Roush Fenway Racing driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Stenhouse joins Roush Fenway Racing from the United States Auto Club, where he ran and won in the Silver Crown, Sprint and Midget divisions with Tony Stewart Racing. He plans to compete in a full season of ARCA RE/MAX Series competition including the 80-lap, 200-mile season opener on Saturday, Feb. 9

"I've been down here and watched once or twice and I've watched on TV," Stenhouse said. "This is always what I wanted to do - to come down here and run stock cars and go everywhere else and run stock cars. But to come Daytona and run, it's going to be pretty exciting the first few laps out there."

Darnell knows what it's like to work through the Roush Fenway Racing developmental process. He worked his way through the famous Roush Fenway tryout process and in 2007 finished 12th in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series standings with one win, three top-five finishes and eight top-10 runs.

"For me, it's weird to be in this position," Darnell said. "I was in this same spot two years ago having some of the elder Roush guys help me out. It's kind of cool to be able to help a new guy coming in. Ricky has shown a lot of potential already and I think he is going to be pretty good next year."

New era begins for Frank Kimmel

For Kimmel, the three-day test kicks off a new era in his racing career. After 10 seasons driving Larry Clement's Tri-State Motorsports, the nine-time defending ARCA RE/MAX Series champion has formed a new team with his brother and crew chief Bill Kimmel called Kimmel Racing with Cunningham Motorsports.

During this weekend's test, Frank Kimmel isn't driving his traditional No. 46 Ford, but instead a white unsponsored No. 44 Dodge.

"It's a pretty important day for us, the whole weekend really," said Kimmel, a 45-year-old native of Clarksville, Ind. "A new manufacturer in Dodge, we've never been in one of these cars before, we're looking forward to seeing what we got."

His decision to form his own operation has a lot to do with his 17-year-old-son Frank Kimmel II and Will Kimmel, the 19-year-old son of Bill Kimmel. Both Frank and Will are aspiring racers.

"Bill and I went on our own trying to build something for ourselves," Frank Kimmel said. "My nephew Will wants to race, my son Frankie wants to race. We felt like while our stock is still pretty good, we ought to try to do it on our own."

While Kimmel has plenty of ARCA RE/MAX Series championships under his belt, he is still searching for his first victory at Daytona International Speedway. In his last seven ARCA 200 At Daytona starts, Kimmel has finished fifth or better six times including two runner-up finishes in 2004 and 2005.

Kimmel says the 2008 ARCA 200 isn't going to be a cake walk. His new team hasn't secured a sponsor and the field of ARCA RE/MAX Series competitors is going to be stout.

"This is not a year to come in not sponsored as you can tell by the quality of cars here this weekend," Kimmel said. "It's going to be tough. We've got to get ourselves together. Hopefully we can sign that sponsor and get going. We're here testing and hopefully we can come out of here with some good knowledge and make this car run pretty well."

Test open to the public

The ARCA RE/MAX Series test continues on Saturday and Sunday and is free and open to the public with access to the Oldfield Grandstand through the lobby of Daytona 500 Experience.

DIRECTV Speedweeks Tickets

Tickets for the ARCA 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series race on Saturday, Feb. 9 and other DIRECTV Speedweeks events are available online at or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

Daytona Test Speeds (12-14-07)  
Pos No Name Time Speed Make
1 99 Eric Darnell 50.018 179.935 Ford
2 32 Dominick Casola 50.120 179.569 Dodge
3 46 Matt Carter 50.204 179.269 Ford
4 31 Alex Yontz 50.206 179.261 Chevy
5 30A Chad Blount 50.273 179.023 Dodge
6 94 Max Dumarey 50.283 178.987 Ford
7 99X Ricky Stenhouse Jr 50.317 178.866 Ford
8 5 Bobby Gerhart 50.417 178.511 Chevy
9 9 James Buescher 50.430 178.465 Dodge
10 40B Dario Franchitti 50.453 178.384 Dodge
11 30C Jesse Smith 50.473 178.313 Dodge
12 12B Mario Gosselin 50.515 178.165 Chevy
13 75A Scott Stenzel 50.532 178.105 Chevy
14 60B Patrick Sheltra 50.568 177.978 Chevy
15 65 Robby Benton 50.592 177.894 Ford
16 30B Steve Blackburn 50.592 177.894 Dodge
17 28 Michael Annett 50.593 177.890 Toyota
18 65A John Townley 50.597 177.876 Ford
19 11A Bryan Silas 50.614 177.816 Ford
20 25 Ryan Fischer 50.638 177.732 Chevy
21 3 Jeremy Clements 50.668 177.627 Chevy
22 40A Dario Franchitti 50.702 177.508 Dodge
23 4A Tayler Malsam 50.704 177.501 Dodge
24 5K Kyle Krisiloff 50.704 177.501 Chevy
25 19A David Green 50.730 177.410 Toyota
26 21 Chris Cockrum 50.731 177.406 Chevy
27 72 Andrew Ranger 50.748 177.347 Chevy
28 28A Mike Annett 50.752 177.333 Toyota
29 75D Brandon Knupp 50.781 177.232 Chevy
30 1B Chad McCumbee 50.790 177.200 Ford
31 37B Dexter Bean 50.809 177.134 Chevy
32 1 Tom Hessert 50.830 177.061 Ford
33 12A Alli Owens 50.843 177.016 Chevy
34 75B Benny Chastain 50.847 177.002 Chevy
35 44 Frank Kimmel 50.856 176.970 Dodge
36 71 Larry Hollenbeck 50.869 176.925 Chevy
37 61B Chase Austin 50.872 176.915 Chevy
38 45 Nur Ali 50.897 176.828 Dodge
39 20 Pierre Bourque 50.918 176.755 Dodge
40 0A Butch Jarvis 50.938 176.685 Chevy
41 2 Scott Speed 51.028 176.374 Toyota
42 19 Jack Bailey 51.034 176.353 Toyota
43 74 JR Heffner 51.075 176.211 Chevy
44 00A Ed Kennedy 51.078 176.201 Chevy
45 5B Trevor Sanborn 51.097 176.136 Chevy
46 5A Brian Smith 51.101 176.122 Chevy
47 13 Michael Phelps 51.214 175.733 Chevy
48 75C Michael Simko 51.251 175.606 Chevy
49 61A Chase Austin 51.257 175.586 Chevy
50 90 Gabi DiCarlo 51.329 175.339 Chevy
51 48 James Hylton 51.435 174.978 Dodge
52 6 Brett Rowe 51.452 174.920 Chevy
53 01 Wayne Reutimann 51.622 174.344 Toyota
54 59 Ray Mooi Jr 51.627 174.327 Chevy
55 92A Phillip McGilton 51.762 173.873 Toyota
56 5R Kory Rabenold 52.159 172.549 Chevy
57 38 Mike Harmon 52.219 172.351 Chevy
58 68 Michelle Theriault 52.608 171.077 Chevy
59 37A Dexter Bean 53.092 169.517 Chevy
60 1A Jake Francis 53.754 167.429 Ford
61 83 Scotty Ellis 53.787 167.327 Chevy
62 14 Jordan Bland 53.863 167.091 Ford
63 22 Ken Butler III 54.695 164.549 Toyota
64 24A Mike Harmon 54.866 164.036 Chevy

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