Race fans will not only have the opportunity to watch a host of ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards drivers on the high banks of Talladega Superspeedway next Tuesday, Nov. 7, but to also mingle with the competitors and receive autographs. Admission is free.
During the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) sanctioned open test, teams will be using new composite material bodies for the first time at the 2.66-mile venue. In part of the day's activities, fans will be able to stroll in the Garage area and mingle with more than 20 teams of the ARCA Racing Series from Noon until 1 p.m. CST. The infield will actually be open from 11 a.m. through 3 p.m., and can watch the practice sessions from the covered Paddock Club, which is directly adjacent to the Garage area and overlooks pit road.
Fans will enter through the North Tunnel near the main entrance of the speedway (look for the giant American Flag). Once checked in at security, fans will be asked to follow the directional signs inside the track to the parking area near the NASCAR XFINITY Garage.
Among the drivers expected to be at Talladega Tuesday include Alabama natives Bret Holmes (Munford) and Thomas Praytor (Mobile), along with Kyle Weatherman, Gus Dean (2016 General Tire 200 at Talladega champion who finished fourth in the 2017 title chase), and Riley Herbst, who wound up fifth in the season-long standings.
The teams will be testing the new bodies, which will be utilized next season at both restrictor-plate tracks – the historic Talladega Superspeedway and Daytona International Speedway. Talladega’s General Tire 200 in 2018 is set for April 27 where Justin Haley will look to become the first ARCA driver to win back-to-back Talladega events since Tim Steele won three straight events between 1996 and 1998.
“This test will provide a format for us as Series officials to work with the race teams and our key supplier partners at General Tire, Ilmor Engineering, Five Star Bodies, Eibach Springs and JRI Shocks to be as prepared as possible when our product hits the track in 2018 at Daytona and Talladega,” said ARCA Director of Competition & Race Car Technology Grayling Call. “For the teams, it’s an opportunity to begin to gather data to improve their on-track performance and get track time with the new rules package both in single car runs and in the draft.”
ARCA announced in May of 2016 that all teams racing at Daytona and Talladega in 2018 would be required to run the composite material body.
“This is a great opportunity for us as team owners to get a jump start on 2018,” said Billy Venturini of Venturini Motorsports. “We’ve got good data on the new composite material bodies at the short tracks and the intermediate tracks now, but very little at Daytona and Talladega. Those are very important races for us as race teams and for the series overall, so this test is a really good way to start working with the new configuration on our Toyota Camrys.”
“We’re happy to host this test, in the interest of safety and on-track competition,” said Talladega Superspeedway President Grant Lynch. “We’ve seen the new composite bodies on the ARCA Series cars at other ISC tracks and they look great. We’re excited enough about the test that we’ve invited race fans to come on out and watch the cars on-track as well as visit with the drivers and teams in the garage area during the mid-day break.”
Body styles eligible for competition in the ARCA Racing Series at Daytona and Talladega in 2018 include the Chevrolet SS, Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry. Teams have the option of running the ARCA Ilmor 396 or the Legacy engine package.