ARCA Menards Series Test At Daytona: What To Watch In 2021Zach Hiser
Special from ARCAracing.com – Almost 60 drivers are set to test more than 30 cars in preparation for the 2021 ARCA Menards Series season. The annual preseason test at Daytona International Speedway will play out over a two-day span starting Friday, Jan. 15 and through Saturday, Jan. 16.
The entry list for this year’s ARCA Menards Series test at Daytona is stuffed with series champions, winners and newcomers.
As the 2021 season approaches, below are items to watch and storylines to follow throughout the two-day test at Daytona.
- Teams making a lot of single-car runs. Drafting in packs might happen late in both days, but for the majority of the time the track is open, most teams will be working on single-car speed.
- Big-track debut for Gracie Trotter. Trotter, the second woman to win a West Series race and the first to do it under an ARCA Menards Series sanction, has only raced on tracks larger than a half-mile twice, both at Phoenix last season. The 19-year-old will be driving for Venturini Motorsports in the car that won at Daytona last year with Michael Self driving. Venturini Motorsports will also field cars for last year’s Talladega winner Drew Dollar, Kansas winner Corey Heim and a driver to be announced.
- Bret Holmes and Sam Mayer. Holmes, last season’s ARCA Menards Series champion, and Mayer, the two-time defending East Series champion, will take turns testing the No. 23 Bret Holmes Racing Chevrolet at Daytona. The two drivers will split time racing for BHR in both the ARCA Menards Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2021.
- Ty Gibbs. The 18-year-old who led more laps than anybody on the ARCA Menards Series platform last season will test a pair of Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas.
- Jack Wood. The 20-year-old will make his debut with GMS Racing. Wood ran a limited schedule in the ARCA Menards Series West in 2020.
- Taylor Gray. The 15-year-old DGR driver is entered to test, but since he is under 18, he will not be eligible to participate in the Daytona race next month.
- Greg Van Alst. He participated in the Road to Daytona program last year at the preseason test. He is entered in his own car this year and looks to make his first series start since 2002 in the season-opening Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire at Daytona.
- Daytona debut for Rev Racing and NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program. Nick Sanchez will take to the high banks of Daytona, with team manager Mark Green (a former NASCAR Xfinity Series driver) also behind the wheel to help get Sanchez up to speed.
- Young drivers looking for approval. Carson Hocevar and Kris Wright, both of whom are endeavoring to race full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, will be at Daytona prepping for their first race at the World Center of Racing. Hocevar will be teamed with Jett Noland at Niece Motorsports, while Wright will be paired with female open-wheel racer Toni Breidinger at Young’s Motorsports.
- Empire Racing. The team will have two cars at the test, one for Sean Corr and the other for veteran driver Rich Bickle. Corr led 35 laps in the 2019 race at Daytona and led seven more last year, finishing fifth and fourth, respectively. Bickle has 12 ARCA Menards Series starts on his resume dating back to 1989, with a career-best second at Talladega in his second start. He started from the pole in his most recent start, in 1996 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He finished fourth driving for Darrell Waltrip.
- Fast Track Racing. The team has entered 14 different drivers in four cars: Jaren Crabtree, Parker Retzlaff, Stephanie Moyer, Ed Pompa and Devin Rouse in the No. 10 Ford; Richard Garvie, Owen Smith and Tim Monroe in the No. 11 Chevrolet; Mariah Boudrieau and Charles Lecarre in the No. 12 Chevrolet; and Blaine Perkins, Jason Miles and Chuck Hiers in the No. 01 Toyota.
- Lira Motorsports. The Florida-based team is returning with two drivers, Andrik Dimayuga and Juan Gonzalez, both from Mexico City, Mexico. They will share the No. 60 Ford.