(TALLADEGA, Ala.) - The garage at Talladega Superspeedway opened this morning to competitors in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, a group enthusiastic to again be racing after two months since the season opener at Daytona. In all, ten hours of inspection helped to set the stage for tomorrow's opening practice for Friday's 3 Amigos 250.
Inspection lines were open throughout the day, giving the 41 entered teams an opportunity to properly prepare for tomorrow's three-hour practice session, which begins at 10 a.m. Central, and Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell, scheduled for 5:05 p.m.
With time comes change, and among the faces in new roles in the garage were Kevin Reed and Rob "Bucket" Torrey of CGH Motorsports. Reed, the 2010 Cometic Crew Chief of the Year for Venturini Motorsports, made his first at-track appearance as the competition director for CGH. Torrey, formerly a consultant for the team, will be the crew chief of driver Chad Hackenbracht's No. 58 Tastee Apple Chevrolet.
The two men spoke about their new roles while working on the car today.
"First, I want to thank (owner) Greg and Chad (Hackenbracht) for the chance to do this," said Torrey. "I've worked with Chad off and on for the last couple years or so, so I just hope to improve him and move him up the ladder."
Torrey explained the differences between his expertise and Reed's.
"He brings more of an ARCA experience, where I bring more of a role working with late models to the NASCAR Corona Series to the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series," Torrey said. "My real ambitions are short tracks, where Kevin's are long tracks. Together, I think we can really do good things for Chad and the whole team."
Reed, who worked with driver Mikey Kile in 2010, said his role will be similar to what he's already experienced.
"It's no different than what I did at Venturini Motorsports and with Billy over there," Reed said. "Just coming from the (NASCAR Sprint) Cup level and Nationwide level with Joe Gibbs Racing and Rusty Wallace, Inc., I can bring more experience and organization to this level of racing to try and make things better. I can bring talent in as workers, and so on and so forth."
Hackenbracht stated confidence in the moves.
"I think Rob Torrey's going to be really good," Hackenbracht said. "Everything he's run in, he's won, so that was definitely a step forward. It's just one of those things where we had to do something. It's our year to shine."
Lagasse Back with Venturini: Scott Lagasse Jr., a veteran of 68 starts across NASCAR's top three divisions and 14 in the ARCA Racing Series, has made one prior start with Venturini Motorsports. The 2008 start was a success, as he led 18 laps and won at Chicagoland Speedway in the team's celebrated No. 25 car.
In what Lagasse described as "very short notice," team general manager Billy Venturini contacted the driver "within the last week" and the two worked out a deal for Lagasse to drive the No. 25 Lauren Briant/University of Montevallo Toyota in Friday's 3 Amigos 250.
"This was a last-minute deal," Lagasse said. "I'm not sure what brought this together! But Billy called, and we talked, and I had one question for him. That was, 'Can we go repeat what we did in Chicago?' He thinks we can. I really like working with them. It's a great family, great people, very straightforward, and it should be a pretty interesting and fun weekend for me."
Lagasse expressed no concern at the lack of preparation time before the 3 Amigos 250 weekend.
"The Chicago deal came together in similar fashion, and it went as well as you can ask the weekend to go," he said. "We've got some of the same guys on the car this week, so it's been cool. It's fun to see them. They're a good group and work hard, and they're as pumped up as I am, really."
Military Personnel Visiting ARCA Garage: Approximately 40 military servicemen and servicewomen from the Anniston Arms Depot will visit the ARCA Racing Series garage while open to Talladega Superspeedway fans for one hour Friday, starting at 11:30 a.m. The visit is scheduled as part of a relationship between Ansell, an ARCA sponsor and co-primary sponsor of Frank Kimmel's No. 44 Ansell/Menards Ford, and the armed forces.
Every person deployed for duty receives a pair of Ansell gloves, and Kimmel will welcome a number of military personnel to the garage for a brief tour of his car and hauler.
ARCA Drivers Appearing for a Cause: Sixteen ARCA Racing Series drivers are scheduled to appear Friday at the spring restart of Race Fever, Talladega Superspeedway's "Ultimate Party with a Purpose." The event acts as the annual fundraising event for the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind. NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip will host the live auction at the event, which takes place at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame's SPEED Channel Dome. Last season, 23 NASCAR and ARCA drivers participated and helped to raise $150,000 for the charity.
ARCA personalities expected to appear include: Dakoda Armstrong, Sean Corr, Milka Duno, Maryeve Dufault, Grant Enfinger, Kyle Fowler, Chad Hackenbracht, Tom Hessert, Joey Licata, Hal Martin, Brett Hudson, Jared Marks, Matt Merrell, Patrick Sheltra, Bryan Silas, and Ryan Wilson.
Proceeds from the event will benefit classroom and dormitory needs of deaf and blind children at the Institute.
Entry List at 41: The official entry list for Friday's race stands this evening at 40 drivers and 41 cars. Three Talladega winners are entered: Bobby Gerhart (2001), Frank Kimmel (2006), and Dakoda Armstrong (2010).
The full entry list appears below.
Tim Mitchell/Fayetteville TN
Chad McCumbee/Supply NC
Brent Brevak/Eau Claire WI
Brandon McReynolds/Mooresville NC
Bobby Gerhart/Lebanon PA
Pierre Bourque/Ottawa ON
Charlie Vest/Ocoee FL
Richard Harriman/Snohomish WA
Maryeve Dufault/Sorel Quebec
Barry Fitzgerald/Sykesville MD
Kyle Fowler/Smyrna GA
Joey Coulter/Miami Springs FL
Chris Buescher/Prosper TX
Chris Lawson/Troutman NC
Brian Rose/Louisville KY
Dakoda Armstrong/New Castle IN
Nick Igdalsky/Long Pond PA
Scott Lagasse Jr./St. Augustine FL
Brad Smith/Shelby Township MI
Rob Jones/Bowie MD
Terry Jones/Amherstburg ON
Tim George Jr./New York NY
Matt Merrell/Portland TX
Darrell Basham/Henryville IN
Grant Enfinger/Fairhope AL
Ty Dillon/Lewisville NC
Frank Kimmel/Clarksville IN
James Hylton/Inman SC
Will Vaught/Crane MO
Tom Hessert/Cherry Hill NJ
Hal Martin/Galliano LA
Chad Hackenbracht/New Philadelphia OH
Milka Duno/Caracas Venezuela
Will Kimmel/Sellersburg IN
Benny Chastain/Tallahassee FL
Joey Licata/Van Nuys CA
Sean Corr/Goshen NY
Brett Hudson/Owensboro KY
Bryan Silas/Stuart FL
Wayne Peterson/Pulaski TN
The 94-lap, 250.04-mile 3 Amigos 250 airs live on SPEED at 4 p.m. Central on April 15, with live timing and scoring presented by ARCA Nation and live audio presented by WTDR Thunder 92.7 FM available at ARCARacing.com.
The race is the second of 19 this year, and activity begins with a three-hour practice at 10 a.m. Central and Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell at 5:05 p.m. on Thursday, April 14. The series will host a final, 55-minute practice at 10 a.m. on Friday. Live timing and scoring of all events before the race will also be presented by ARCA Nation at ARCARacing.com. Additionally, ARCARacing.com will stream WTDR's coverage of the qualifying session.
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards has crowned an ARCA national champion each year since its inaugural season in 1953, and has toured over 200 race tracks in 28 states since its inception. The series tests the abilities of drivers and race teams over the most diverse schedule of stock car racing events in the world, annually visiting tracks ranging from 0.4 mile to 2.66 miles in length, on both paved and dirt surfaces as well as a left- and right-turn road course.
Founded by John Marcum in 1953 in Toledo, Ohio, the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is recognized among the leading sanctioning bodies in the country. Closing in on completing its sixth decade after hundreds of thousands of miles of racing, ARCA administers over 100 race events each season in two professional touring series and local weekly events.