(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – February 14, 2014) – AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhach – Bobby Gerhart picked up where he usually does at Daytona International Speedway Thursday. The veteran ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards driver turned the fastest lap of the four-hour practice session during his first two laps on the track. He ended up the fastest of the 42 cars to practice, running at a top speed of 182.808 mph.
“We’re not going to get too excited yet,” Gerhart said. “The weather changed and it looks like the speed slowed down a bit; but we’re not the only ones it looks like. We got the most out of the car – that’s all we can ask. The car is really good and I’m excited about our chances tomorrow (in qualifying). “
Gerhart, in the No. 5 Lucas Oil-MAVTV American Real Chevrolet, was a sliver faster than the Turner Scott Motorsports car of Dylan Kwasniewski, in the No. 4 AccuDoc Solutions Chevrolet. Kwasniewski, who turned 27 laps of practice, finished second on the charts at 182.756.
Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell will be at 2 p.m. Friday as the ARCA Racing Series kicks off its 2014 season with the Lucas Oil 200 presented by MAVTV American Real.
“The car’s pretty good; we’ve only made a couple runs,” Kwasniewski said. “We still need to make some qualifying runs and figure out where this thing is in the draft. Car’s good though.”
Rounding out the top five were Clay Campbell in the Federated Auto Parts No. 52, Chase Elliott in the Hendrickcars.Com-NAPA Brakes Chevrolet and Leilani Munter in the GO 100% Renewable Toyota.
“We’ve had some tire rubs in the first couple runs but we made some adjustments, and the car just keeps getting better,” Munter said. “At one time we were position three on the board, so we’re definitely in the right place. This Venturini Motorsports team has given me the best car I’ve ever had at Daytona. This is, without question, a top-five car.”
The top speed positions on the board – covered exclusively by arcaracing.com – had numerous changes throughout the four-hour run. It’s the only practice prior to qualifying.
Defending series champion Frank Kimmel turned his first laps for Win-Tron Racing. He was 29th-fastest on the track Thursday.
“We’ve been making ground with the Ansell-Menards Toyota, but we’re having some missing issues with the motor,” Kimmel said. “We don’t know why. We’ll just keep tinkering.”
Defending pole winner and race winner, John Wes Townley, had the 22nd-fastest car during the practice. He’s driving a full season in the Zaxby’s Toyota for Venturini Motorsports. Teammate Justin Boston was 13th in the ZLOOP Computer & Electronics Recycling-JACO Toyota.
“I’m extremely happy with the car,” Boston said. “I don’t think we can get much better. We’re just tuning on it now. These guys have worked so hard; we’ve been in the top-five all day. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”