DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The stock-car portion of Speedweeks starts at 1:30 p.m. Friday when a horde of ARCA competitors take to Daytona International Speedway’s 2.5-mile tri-oval for a pair of practice sessions.
The ARCA Menards Series is now part of the NASCAR family. The NASCAR Cup Series will get its first taste of Daytona with a Busch Clash practice at 11:35 a.m. Saturday.
All the Cup cars will participate in two other practices on Saturday before the 80-lap ARCA race, scheduled to go green at 4:45 p.m.
Rounding out the first weekend of stock-car action is Daytona 500 qualifying and the Clash, scheduled back-to-back Sunday afternoon.
Sunday’s time trials will go at 12:30 p.m. The 75-lap Clash is set for a 3 p.m. start.
There are 34 drivers on the ARCA Lucas Oil 200 entry list, with Hailie Deegan grabbing the spotlight this year.
Over the last two years as a teenager, Deegan has won three races in the NASCAR series formerly known as K&N Pro Series West. The 18-year-old driver is not afraid of rubbing bumpers with other competitors.
She was so impressive that Ford signed her to a driver development contract. Deegan has already raced Daytona this year when she competed in IMSA’s BMW Challenge 4-Hour race two weeks ago on Rolex 24 eve.
Deegan’s No. 4 Ford ARCA car is co-owned by Bo LeMastus and David Gilliland.
“Hailie has done a great job,” Gilliland said. “She impressed me from Day 1. Her work ethic and everything she puts into it is what it takes to be successful.”
Deegan will run the entire Menard’s ARCA Series and select IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge races to strengthen her road-racing skills.
“It feels good,” Deegan said during ARCA testing last month. “The car feels really good.”
Deegan will be joined by other notables, including Thad Moffit, Natalie Decker, Dominique Van Wieringen and Riley Herbst.
Moffit is a grandson of Richard Petty, while Decker will run ARCA for Ken Schrader, who came up through the driving ranks to have a successful Cup Series career.
Van Wieringen could be the surprise of Speedweeks. She led the way in the final day of ARCA testing in January.
“I was really surprised when my crew chief Mark (Rette) said we went to the top of the charts,” Van Wieringen said. “I was practicing trying to time the draft for qualifying and I didn’t get it timed just right. Hopefully in the race I can time it out a little better in qualifying and get even more.”
Herbst won an ARCA race in 2017 at the age of 18. He has been entered in a Toyota backed by Joe Gibbs Racing. Coy Gibbs, who is Joe Gibbs’ son, is listed as the car owner.
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