DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 20, 2008) -- Ricky Carmichael has raced motorcycles and sports cars at Daytona International Speedway.
This weekend, Carmichael, a five-time Daytona Supercross By Honda champion, added stock cars to the list as he participated in the three-day ARCA RE/MAX Series test in preparation for the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 during DIRECTV Speedweeks 2009.
“This is what it’s all about. When you hear about Daytona, it’s stock car racing,” Carmichael said. “I’m having a great time here. This race track has a lot of character and a lot of history. This is what I want to do. I’ve been around here in a sports car and obviously a motorcycle a time or two. I’m just glad to be in a stock car. This is a dream of mine and I’m glad to have the opportunity to do that.”
Carmichael, who has retired from Supercross and is now pursuing a NASCAR career, is a Supercross and Motocross legend and is nicknamed G.O.A.T – the Greatest Of All Time.
In October, he tested the Speedway’s 3.56-mile road course as he considered an attempt to compete in the upcoming Rolex 24 At Daytona sports car classic with Sprit of Daytona Racing.
This weekend, he is testing a Chevrolet for Kevin Harvick Inc. in advance of the season-opening Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series race on Saturday, Feb. 7.
Carmichael, who most recently competed in the NASCAR Camping World East Series for Ken Schrader Racing, has signed with Kevin Harvick Inc. and plans to compete full time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2009.
“We’re really close,” said Carmichael about sponsorship for his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, which will start with a 250-mile race at DIS on Friday night, Feb. 13. “I‘ve got a good feeling about it. Obviously, it’d be good if it’s a 100 percent done but I feel really, really good about it. That’s the plan.”
During this weekend’s test, Carmichael is getting acclimated to the 2.5-mile tri-oval and using the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series race as a tune-up in advance of the 250-mile NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at DIS.
“We want to obviously get the car as fast as we can for qualifying and then drafting practice and see how the car drafts and make it handle as good as we can and do good in the actual race,” Carmichael said of this weekend’s testing goals. “For us, the main thing is going to be drafting practice and see how the car handles.”
Local female racer shines: Alli Owens continues to have a solid ARCA RE/MAX Series test. The Daytona Beach racer has kept her name atop the speed charts throughout the test in the D’Hondt Motorsports Toyota.
The 20-year graduate from Atlantic High in Port Orange was fourth fastest in the Saturday morning session and was in the top five .
“Every time I come back to Daytona, it’s always a special thing because I’m the hometown girl,” Owens said. “This is the first year in a Toyota and a new team with D’Hondt Motorsports and my sponsors that we still have with Electrifying Careers.com.
“Coming out here and seeing my name up front on the sheets for the last couple of days is exciting and cool. That’s something that’s never been never done before by me. It’s nice to see my name up there and hopefully it’s going to stay there.”
Fastest of the day: Tom Hessert III was the fastest in the Saturday morning session with a speed of 180.948 mph in Andy Belmont’s No. 14 Ford.
“This is a good car,” Hessert said. “It gets better every time we go out.”
Hessert’s lap was turned late in the morning session.
“It was close to a mock run . . . not everything we would do for a qualifying set up,” Hessert said.
In the afternoon session, drafting was permitted for the first time during the test. Patrick Sheltra posted the fastest speed with a lap of 183.846 mph in his No. 60 Sheltra Motorsports Dodge.
“We weren’t planning on drafting right away but we found ourselves right in the thick of the draft in our first three laps on the track and the car drafted brilliantly,” Sheltra said. “We just wanted to make sure it could suck up. It did that and more. I can’t take credit for everything. These guys that work on these racecars are the best and it’s because of their hard work that we’re sitting atop of the charts.”
ARCA RE/MAX Series testing will wrap up on Sunday. The test is open to the public. The Oldfield Grandstands are free and guests can purchase a tram-only $10 at Daytona 500 Experience for transportation into the Sprint FANZONE inside the infield of Daytona International Speedway.
Saturday morning speeds – Top 10
- Tom Hessert III, Ford, 180.948 mph
- JR Heffner, Chevrolet, 180.901
- Patrick Sheltra, Dodge, 180.676
- Alli Owens, Toyota, 180.545
- Dominick Casola, Dodge, 180.502
- Steve Blackburn, Dodge, 180.350
- John Wes Townley, Ford, 179.978
- Brett Butler, Ford, 179.906
- Ed Kennedy, 179.863
- Bobby Gerhart, Chevrolet, 179.684
11. Joey Logano, Toyota, 179.644
19. Ricky Carmichael, Chevrolet, 178.451
Saturday afternoon speeds – Top 10
- Patrick Sheltra, Dodge, 183.846 mph
- JR Fitzpatrick, Chevrolet, 182.990
- Ryan Fischer, Chevrolet, 182.908
- Beau Slocumb, Chevrolet, 182.819
- Mikey Kile, Chevrolet, 182.219
- Nur Ali, Dodge, 182.135
- Joey Logano, Toyota, 181.925
- James Buescher, Toyota, 181.892
- Justin Lofton, Chevrolet, 181.870
- Steve Arpin, Dodge, 181.818
12. Alli Owens, Toyota, 181.712
16. Ricky Carmichael, Chevrolet, 181.514