Story By: CHARLES KRALL / ARCA – DAYTONA BEACH, FL – First-timer Dominique Van Wieringen led the way in the final day of testing for the ARCA Menards Series season-opener at Daytona International Speedway.
The two-day test session, leading into the February 10 Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire, was plagued both days by overnight rain showers that delayed the start, but the teams on hand were able to get nearly 15 hours of track time over the course of both days.
Van Wieringen, who has a career-best third place finish in the ARCA Menards Series East at Langley Speedway, piloted the No. 30 Rette Jones Racing Ford to a fast lap at 49.615 seconds/181.397 miles per hour. Van Wieringen’s fast lap also marks the second consecutive season a female driver led the way in a test session at Daytona as now-retired Leilani Munter led the first day of the open test last year.
“I was really surprised when Mark (Rette) said we went to the top of the charts,” Van Wieringen said. “I was practicing trying to time the draft for qualifying and I didn’t get it times just right. Hopefully when we come back for the race I can time it out a little better in qualifying and get even more.
“It’s been a good experience. It’s really intimidating because you go really fast and when things go wrong they go wrong really fast. For the first time out, it was better than I thought it would be. It was actually really relaxing. I don’t know how to explain it, it was just really relaxing.”
World of Outlaws star David Gravel (No. 28 KBR Development Chevrolet) timed in second fastest at 49.659 seconds/181.236 miles per hour. Gravel is slated to run a partial season for GNS Racing in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series and will get his pavement career started in the ARCA Menards Series opener at Daytona.
Sean Corr (No. 8A Empire Racing Chevrolet) was third fastest with a lap at 49.676 seconds/181.174 miles per hour. He was followed closely by a trio Venturini Motorsports teammates, last year’s season runner-up and former Daytona winner Michael Self (No. 25 Venturini Motorsports Toyota), Drew Dollar (No. 15 Venturini Motorsports Toyota), and Ryan Repko (No. 20 Venturini Motorsports Toyota).
Self timed in with a lap at 49.684 seconds/181.145 miles per hour, Dollar just behind at 49.687 seconds/181.145 miles per hour, and Repko at 49.691 seconds/181.119 miles per hour.
Alabamian Bret Holmes (No. 23 Bret Holmes Racing Chevrolet) was seventh at 49.707 seconds/181.061 miles per hour, the final driver over 181 miles per hour. Riley Herbst, who led Friday morning’s session in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, was eighth at 49.799 seconds/180.727 miles per hour, just in front of the two Chad Bryant Racing teammates Jacob Heafner (No. 77H Chad Bryant Racing Ford) and yesterday’s overall fastest Connor Hall (No. 22C Chad Bryant Racing Ford).
Other notables throughout the field included former Talladega winner Gus Dean (No. 32 Win Tron Racing Chevrolet) in twelfth, former NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock national champion Tanner Gray (No. 17 DGR-Crosley Ford) in 13th, Hailie Deegan (No. 4 DGR-Crosley Ford) in 16th, and Tom Hessert III (No. 77H Chad Bryant Racing Ford) in 20th.
Two ARCA touring champions, ARCA CRA Super Series champion Greg Van Alst and ARCA Menards Series East champion Sam Mayer, took part in Saturday’s action making single-car runs in a car prepared by two-time Daytona winner and 1995 series champion Andy Hillenburg. Van Alst timed in 28th quickest at 51.527 seconds/174.666 miles per hour, while Mayer was 34th at 51.939 seconds/173.280 miles per hour.
The Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire is scheduled for Saturday, February 10 with the green flag expected to wave over the field at 4:45 pm ET. The race will be televised live flag-to-flag on FS1; ARCARacing.com will have live timing & scoring throughout practice, General Tire Pole Qualifying, and the 80-lap, 200-mile feature event.