ARCA: Power Play; Staropoli Tops Final ARCA Practice at Daytona for Empire Racing

RaceChaser Staff ARCA, Southeast, Stock Cars 0 Comments

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – official release by Doug Donnelly, ARCA – Tyler Sontag photo —

Patrick Staropoli woke up Thursday thinking about an exam he had to take in Miami, where he attends medical school.

This morning, he sits on top of the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards speed charts after the final practice at Daytona International Speedway.

“That was a pretty wild lap,” Staropoli said after his No. 82 American RF-Empire Racing Ford clocked in at 189.930 mph on his last practice lap of the morning. “It was like an accordion out there, everyone in a line, then bunching up. I was in the right place at the right time and had my Empire Racing teammate Sean Corr helping me. It was fast.”

Staropoli turned his lap just ahead of Frank Kimmel, in the No. 25 Ansell-Menards Toyota. Corr was third, Will Kimmel fourth in the Vogtland Ford and Daniel Suarez in the Arris Toyota fifth.

Brett Hudson, Tom Hessert, Austin Hill, Clay Campbell and Leilani Munter completed the top 10.

Hudson and Hessert are each driving a Dodge while Hill is in a Ford and part of the Empire Racing team. Munter is in a Toyota Camry with Campbell driving the No. 52 Ken Schrader Racing/Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet.

Nine of the top 10 cars on the speed charts for the final practice session are using the ARCA Ilmor 396 engine package.

Frank Kimmel is racing for the first time with Venturini Motorsports and is looking for his first-ever win at Daytona International Speedway.

“I’ve never had a car this fast here at Daytona, we’ve had some really good cars over the years but this one is extremely solid and should qualify really well later today,” said Kimmel.

“I need to thank my teammate Daniel Suarez for helping me out in that final practice.  Our two cars hook up well in the draft and will be hard to beat if we’re up front.  It’s pretty cool. I expect a great qualifying effort later today.”

Bobby Gerhart, in the No. 5 Lucas Oil-MAV TV Chevrolet, was fastest in Thursday’s practice session at 188.945 mph. He was 27th in Friday morning’s session.

Defending race winner Grant Enfinger posted the 14th best time in the Alamo Rent A Car Chevrolet while 2014 ARCA Racing Series champion Mason Mitchell posted the 21st-best speed Friday.

Practice speeds from Thursday’s two-hour session and today’s one-hour session will be combined to determine the qualifying order when the ARCA cars return to the track at 3:30 p.m. for group qualifying.

Seven groups will go out to qualify for a maximum of eight minutes each. The top 30 cars will qualify based on times while positions 31-40 will be filled by provisionals. Forty-nine cars are in the ARCA garage.


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