Open the gates, and they will come.
That's certainly the case at Daytona International Speedway where the entry list for the season-opening 45th annual ARCA 200 at Daytona on Saturday, Feb. 9 is taking shape as the most competitive in ARCA RE/MAX Series history.
Prelude To The Budweiser Shootout Packed With Recognizable Names
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 30, 2008) -- Open the gates, and they will come.
That’s certainly the case at Daytona International Speedway where the entry list for the season-opening 45th annual ARCA 200 at Daytona on Saturday, Feb. 9 is taking shape as the most competitive in ARCA RE/MAX Series history.
At present, 74 entries make up the current entry list, which includes a healthy combination of Driver Development teams mixed in with some very solid series regulars.
Entries from the Driver Development teams include one from car owner Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is listed as the car owner for rookie driver Landon Cassill in the No. 88 Stanley-Vidmar-Proto Chevrolet. It marks the first time that Earnhardt, Jr. has participated in the ARCA RE/MAX Series as a car owner.
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) has filed an entry with the 2007 Indy 500 winner and IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti in the driver’s seat. CGRFS will field Franchitti full time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2008.
Roush Fenway Racing has entered Olive Branch, Mississippi rookie Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing recently announced that Stenhouse, an open-wheel veteran from the USAC ranks, would run the complete 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule in a Roush Fenway-prepared Ford.
Bill Davis Racing has filed an entry with Des Moines, Iowa rookie Mike Annett as the driver of Davis’s Toyota Camry. The team made history last year at Talladega where Annett drove to Victory Lane, marking the first win for the Toyota nameplate in ARCA RE/MAX Series competition.
Also entered from the Driver Development ranks are entries from Rusty Wallace, Inc. (RWI) and Cunningham Motorsports/Dodge Motorsports. RWI has entered rookie Chase Austin in a No. 61 Atreus Homes & Communities Chevrolet. Cunningham Motorsports has filed three entries, one for Dodge Development rookie Tayler Malsam, who is entered in the No. 4 Cunningham Motorsports-Dodge Motorsports Dodge. Other entries out of the Cunningham camp include the No. 45 and the No. 59 with rookies’ Nur Ali and Ray Mooi listed as the drivers. All three participants, needless to say, will be Dodges.
Eddie Sharp Racing has filed two entries for Daytona. Formula 1 veteran Scott Speed, a story to watch all season, is entered in the No. 2 Red Bull Toyota. Speed, whose career-best F1 finishes are ninth in the Monaco Grand Prix ’07, ninth in the Australian Grand Prix ’06, 10th in the Canadian Grand Prix ’06 and 10th in the French Grand Prix ’06, finished seventh in the ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Talladega in 2007. ESR’s second entry is for Ken Butler III in the No. 22 ESR Development Toyota. Butler steered his way to Victory Lane at Toledo Speedway in 2007. Both drivers have announced full ARCA RE/MAX Series schedules in 2008.
Nine-time series champion Frank Kimmel has filed an entry under his new Kimmel Racing banner with an assist from Cunningham
Motorsports. The effort marks Kimmel’s first appearance in a Dodge. The Clarksville, Indiana native will carry the No. 44 at Daytona.
Kimmel’s former ride, the Larry Clement-owned No. 46 Ford, will now be occupied by Matt Carter, who is the son of longtime NASCAR team owner Travis Carter.
The entry list will also include senior statesmen Bill Baird and James Hylton. If either driver were to win the race, he would become the oldest winner in superspeedway history. Baird, the ’99 ARCA RE/MAX Series national champion, is 58. Hylton is 73.
Venturini Motorsports has filed two entries with Surrey British, Columbia rookie Ryan Fischer listed as the driver of the No. 25 Chevrolet, and Billy Venturini listed as the driver of the No. 15 Chevrolet. The Venturinis are renowned for their restrictor plate savvy.
Speaking of restrictor plate savvy, none could carry that banner bigger than five-time Daytona winner Bobby Gerhart. Bobby Gerhart Racing has filed two entries with Bobby in the No. 5 and Kyle Krisiloff in the No. 7. Gerhart has won the last three consecutive Daytona ARCA 200s. In addition, the Lebanon, PA driver has led an amazing 83% of the total laps run in the last three Daytona events.
Other notable entries include Wayne Reutimann entered in his cousin David Reutimann’s Toyota, open-wheel veteran Brian Tyler entered in the no. 01 Hattori Racing Toyota, ARCA RE/MAX Series veteran/two-time series winner Kirk Shelmerdine entered in the no. 27 Wabash Motorsports Chevrolet, and NASCAR veteran driver Greg Sacks entered in Bobby Jones’s Dodge Charger.
Tickets to the 45th
annual ARCA 200 and the 30th
annual Budweiser Shootout on Saturday, Feb. 9 as well as other DIRECTV Speedweeks events are available online at www.racetickets.com
or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.