ARCA completes successful two-day composite body test at Talladega

The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards wrapped up a two-day test at Talladega Superspeedway Wednesday afternoon, collecting data on the composite material body cars, which will make their Daytona Int’l Speedway debut in February of 2018. ARCA announced in May of 2016 that all teams racing at Daytona and Talladega in 2018 would be required to run the composite body.

In all, 14 drivers among a variety of teams participated in the open test administered by ARCA’s competition department. Teams that participated include Venturini Motorsports, Mason Mitchell Motorsports, MDM Motorsports, CR7 Motorsports, Bret Holmes Racing, Ken Schrader Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing, Win-Tron Racing, Fast Track Racing, Finney Racing and Max Force Racing.


“The test has been extremely valuable for the ARCA Racing Series and the teams alike,” said ARCA’s Director of Competition and Race Technology, Grayling Call. “We’ve been able to spend a lot of time with crew chiefs and drivers to get all their feedback. This is a new package for all of us on the restrictor plate tracks and the teams are doing a lot of tweaking. It’s opened our eyes to a lot of different things…it’s really interesting to see the teams take on this new package and adjust to it.”


While the test represents the first official composite body test on a restrictor plate track, the conversations between series officials and teams have been an ongoing evolutionary process since the composite car made its series debut in 2015.
“This composite body conversation has been years in the making. We feel like we’ve done our homework in advance of this test, and have done it well. We started out Tuesday with one plate size and we’ve stayed with it. We do have a new front spring package from our official spring partner Eibach so the teams are adjusting to that, but from what we’re hearing from the teams, things are really good.
“Tests are for collecting data and based on what we’re seeing here, there are a couple of rules we’ll be looking at as things develop here…that’s to be expected. It’s interesting…there are some purpose-built speedway cars here, but there are also cars here right from Kansas Speedway. They’ve made minimal changes, put the new spring package on and the intermediate cars are driving very well. It’s interesting to be able to compare the speedway-specific cars to the cars coming straight from another track.
“Overall, we’re very pleased with the results of the test and we certainly want to thank all the teams that came down and participated so we can have the best result moving forward.”
Steve Einhaus and Jim Katzenberg, of Five Star Race Car Bodies, were also on hand for both days of testing. Five Star manufacturers the composite body cars in ARCA competition.
Talladega Superspeedway also hosted an open garage Tuesday afternoon which allowed fans to mill around among the teams.
Overnight rains delayed testing both days but both afternoons were mostly clear for on-track activities. There were no on-track incidents.
Hunting Beach, California’s Zane Smith, in the No. 41 MDM Motorsports Toyota, was fastest overall among the 14 drivers who participated.
“It was a lot of fun…definitely different than the steel body cars. It was a little harder to see over them in the draft but the car drove really well, especially mine. The MDM guys did a phenomenal job preparing the car,” said Smith.
“The car sucks up good and I think it should  be pretty sweet down at Daytona. The car was very stable. You don’t know exactly what it’s going to do with 20 more cars around you…we were drafting with seven, eight cars; but I think it’s going to be good for the fans to watch and fun for drivers as well.”
More driver reaction:
Blaine Perkins: “It was amazing. I’ve never been on a track as big as this…it was definitely an eye-opener. We got the car really dialed in in single car runs. Then we started drafting there at the end…that was a shocker. Everything is so different in the draft. There is so much to learn. Being behind all those cars in the turns, you can really feel the air bouncing off.  I’m not used to that but I got a taste today…we’ll be ready for the Daytona test. I want to thank Mason Mitchell Motorsports. Mason brought a great car…the car was really planted. In that last single car run we were fastest. I’m really looking forward to the next test now.”
Natalie Decker: “Loved it. I cannot wait to go to the Daytona test now. I only got to draft a little bit there at the end but it was so cool. I can’t believe I did it…Talladega. Venturini Motorsports did an awesome job… the car felt amazing since the first time I went out to the last time I was out. The guys just kept making it faster each time we went out. The car was really stable…that feeling never changed and that’s a very good thing at Talladega. I thought it was going to be a lot scarier than it was but it was way too fun to be scary. There was a huge time difference from running right at the top compared to the bottom…faster on the bottom.”
Gus Dean: “They don’t move around as much as the steel cars. They felt really stable. Felt like these cars got wound up a lot sooner than the steel car. I was in fourth gear down on the apron after I left pit road. I feel like the car is a little more controlled and a little more reactive. I really enjoyed it. I think they’re going to work out good. As the teams learn more about the cars I think they’re going to get them to suck up a little more too…it’ll all come with time, but a great first couple of days.”
Thomas Praytor: “It was awesome. Overall it was a good couple days of testing for us. We were able to mount the body ourselves back home in Mobile, Alabama…we’re proud of that. Kinda guessed on it but it all worked out. We didn’t get to draft…all single car runs for us at the end of the day it was really good. The cool thing for me, being a tall guy, there’s a lot more room in there for me…man it’s awesome in there now. Car seemed a lot quieter now too. I’m guessing because you don’t have all that steel around you now to bounce the sound around. It was a great experience…we’re really happy with it.”
Bret Holmes: “I can’t ask for more. We improved all week and were probably second best in the single car run…really proud of that. We had one of GMS’s engineers here and that was extremely helpful…couldn’t ask for anything better. We started out a little conservative but really pushed the limit on our aero stuff. Once we got the car adjusted, it started to feel more like the steel car…down on the ground more. We brought the car we’re going to race at Daytona and that’s extremely helpful. We started with a fresh plate and kept improving from there. I really like the body. It’s going to be really good. And there’s still some room to improve once we start pushing and tweaking on it a little more.”
Christian Eckes: “It was really cool. Got a little bit of the draft going…it was fun to lead the pack at Talladega. The car’s good. We still have a little work to do but I felt like we made big gains…I’m really looking forward to it. It felt like the car was really in the race track, and it would do whatever I told it to do. Overall, it felt really good…I’m already looking forward to the next one.”
ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards
Talladega Superspeedway
Combined Test Results (11/7-8/17)
1 41 Zane Smith/Huntington Beach CA Toyota 53.291 179.693
2 23 Bret Holmes/Munford AL Chevrolet 53.342 179.521
3 78 Blaine Perkins/Bakersfield CA Chevrolet 53.349 179.497
4 8 Chase Purdy/Meridian MS Toyota 53.451 179.155
5 15 Christian Eckes/Middletown NY Toyota 53.454 179.145
6 25 Natalie Decker/Eagle River WI Toyota 53.466 179.104
7 7 Codie Rohrbaugh/Petersburg WV Chevrolet 54.139 176.878
8 18 Riley Herbst/Las Vegas NV Toyota 54.219 176.617
9 32 Gus Dean/Bluffton SC Toyota 54.239 176.552
10 41a Travis Miller/Chesapeake VA Toyota 54.640 175.256
11 9 Thomas Praytor/Mobile AL Chevrolet 55.371 172.943
12 52 Austin Theriault/Fort Kent ME Ford 55.536 172.429
13 10 DL Wilson/Waco TX Chevrolet 56.191 170.419
14 04 Scott Reeves/Royal Palm Beach FL Chevrolet 58.130 164.734


Spread the love