After a long off-season, the ARCA Menards Series drivers were back on track today at Daytona International Speedway. There were two practice sessions that took place in the afternoon with most of the field taking laps.
In the first practice, it was NASCAR Superstar Hailie Deegan placing fastest in the No. 4 DGR-Crosley Ford with a lap time of 49.027 seconds at a speed of 183.572 mph. In the final practice session, ARCA newcomer, Connor Hall, set the pace for Chad Bryant Racing in the No. 22 with a time of 49.476 seconds at 181.906 mph.
While this will be Deegan’s first full-time season in the ARCA Menards Series, it won’t be her first rodeo as she has six starts to her credit with a best finish of fifth at Indianapolis Raceway Park last season. Despite not having much superspeedway experience, she was still able to learn some things for tomorrow’s Lucas Oil 200.
“That was the real drafting practice that I had with more than five cars,” she said. “I needed that, and I didn’t get a lot of that in the test. It was really good leading the pack too. Felt super stable, not darty at all.”
One practice was good enough for the Temecula, California native as she did not compete in the final practice session.
Well over 32 cars took to the track in the first practice session with Deegan being the fastest followed by Drew Dollar in the Venturini Motorsports No. 15 Toyota, Tanner Gray in the No. 17 DGR-Crosley Ford, Riley Herbst in the No. 18 Toyota, Bret Holmes in the No. 23 Chevrolet, Connor Hall in the No. 22 Ford, Jacob Heafner in the No. 77 Ford, Gus Dean in the No. 32 Chevrolet, Michael Self in the No. 25 Toyota and Ryan Repko in the No. 20 Toyota rounding out the top-10.
As for the final practice, it was a who’s who in the top-10. Hall was fastest with Dave Mader III in second, Dominique Van Wieringen in third, Willie Mullins in fourth, Sean Corr in fifth, Jason White in sixth, Thad Moffitt in seventh, Natalie Decker in eighth, Chuck Hiers in ninth, and Jacob Heafner completing the top-10 in the final practice session. Only 24 cars participated in the session. Michael Self, Drew Dollar, Ryan Repko and Riley Herbst did not take a lap in final practice.
With both practice sessions done for the day, the ARCA Menards Series drivers will take to the track tomorrow with group qualifying scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET with no live TV coverage. That will set the field for the annual Lucas Oil 200 at 4:30 p.m. ET live on Fox Sports 1.