ARCA: Pocono Test Wednesday; Benjamin, Custer and Tifft Among the Names Entered

RaceChaser Staff ARCA, Featured, Midwest 0 Comments

TOLEDO, Ohio — official series release — ARCA photo —

The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards will conduct an open test at Pocono Raceway Wednesday, June 3 in advance of the Pocono ARCA 200 race event Saturday, June 6. The test will take place from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Media is welcome to attend.

In addition to ARCA teams searching for the right set-up ahead of the race, the test will serve as an opportunity for rookies as young as 17 to participate in the open test to gain experience on Pocono’s unique 2.5-mile triangular layout.

Seventeen-year-old drivers expected to participate in the open test include Ladera Ranch, California’s Cole Custer, Easley, South Carolina’s Kyle Benjamin, Port Orange, Florida’s Michael Lira and Wentzville, Missouri’s Kyle Weatherman.

Weatherman made headlines last Sunday, winning the ARCA 150 at New Jersey Motorsports Park in his first road course attempt. Weatherman will have two Cunningham Motorsports teammates to share information with during the test – ARCA veteran Tom Hessert and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran Trevor Bayne, who has never competed at Pocono.

Bayne, who drives full-time on the Sprint Cup Series tour and is a Daytona 500 winner, is looking for seat-time ahead of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race. Kyle Larson did the same thing last year, winning the ARCA race, gaining valuable experience, and finishing fifth in the next-day Sprint Cup race.

Benjamin is already a two-time ARCA winner on short tracks but has not yet competed on a superspeedway. Custer, who finished fifth in his ARCA debut at New Jersey Sunday, is the youngest NASCAR touring series victor, winning at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2014.

Like Weatherman and Benjamin, Custer has not yet competed on a superspeedway. Lira, who turned 17 last July, raced in last year’s second ARCA race at Pocono, qualifying fourth and finishing 10th.

Effective in 2013, ARCA adjusted the minimum age to participate at tracks over a mile in length from 18 to 17 at Pocono and Kentucky Speedway. It effectively provides an opportunity for pre-qualified 17-year-old drivers to participate in ARCA Racing Series races at those tracks, provided they pass the approval process.

Chase Elliott and Erik Jones, both 17 at the time, participated in the open test at Pocono in 2013, and then finished first and second in the race respectively. Elliott, following his win at Pocono, etched his name in the ARCA record books as the youngest superspeedway winner in history, a mark that still stands. If Custer were to win the upcoming Pocono ARCA 200, he would surpass Elliott as the youngest superspeedway winner.

Other drivers pre-entered for the upcoming open test include four from the Venturini Motorsports stable – Cody Coughlin, 10-time series national champion Frank Kimmel, Tom Berte and Benjamin.

Current ARCA Racing Series point leader Grant Enfinger has also filed an entry as has Summerland, British Columbia’s Sarah Cornett-Ching. Cornett-Ching, currently seventh in championship standings, made history last Sunday at New Jersey with her ninth place finish, becoming the highest finishing ARCA female driver on a road course.

Defending ARCA champion Mason Mitchell and his teammate Austin Wayne Self are also entered.

Pocono ARCA 200 race event 60th on “Tricky Triangle”

This year’s Pocono ARCA 200 will mark the 60th ARCA race on the 2.5-mile “Tricky Triangle” since the tour made its debut on the big track in 1983. The June 6 event also serves as the preamble for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400.

On-track activity for the Pocono ARCA 200 includes one practice session on Friday, June 5 from 2:15 – 4:15 p.m. Raceday Saturday begins with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell at 10:05 a.m., followed by the Pocono ARCA 200 at 1 p.m. The Pocono ARCA 200 is live on FOX Sports 2 Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.

In addition to live coverage on FOX Sports 2, arcaracing.com will feature live timing and scoring of all on-track activities to include practice, qualifying and the race.

Tickets are now on sale at PoconoRaceway.com.

ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards
Pocono Raceway, Long Pond PA, 6-3-15
Tentative Test Entry List, Pocono ARCA 200
NO. DRIVER/HOMETOWN CAR
2 Sarah Cornett-Ching/Summerland BC Chevrolet
5 Bobby Gerhart/Lebanon PA Chevrolet
9 Thomas Praytor/Mobile AL Ford
15 Kyle Benjamin/Easley SC Toyota
22 Kyle Weatherman/Wentzville MO Dodge
22 Trevor Bayne/Knoxville TN Dodge
23 Grant Enfinger/Fairhope AL Chevrolet
25 Frank Kimmel/Clarksville IN Toyota
42 Bo LeMastus/Louisville KY Dodge
52 Matt Tifft/Hinckley OH Chevrolet
54 Matt Kurzejewski/Mansfield PA Chevrolet
55 Cody Coughlin/Delaware OH Toyota
58 Michael Lira/Port Orange FL Ford
69 Will Kimmel/Sellersburg IN Ford
77 Tom Hessert/Cherry Hill NJ Dodge
78 Mason Mitchell/West Des Moines IA Chevrolet
98 Austin Wayne Self/Austin TX Ford
00 Cole Custer/Ladera Ranch CA Chevrolet
07 Brian Kaltreider/Reading PA Ford

CREDIT: ARCA Racing Series

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