Danica Patrick gets first taste of draft at Daytona
The second day of a three-day ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards test session at Daytona International Speedway allowed
Danica Patrick and other drivers to experience their first stock car draft on Saturday afternoon.
Patrick, among more than 60 drivers participating in ARCA Testing this weekend, worked with crew chief Tony Eury Jr. for the duration of Saturday's full-day test session to prepare for her stock car racing debut — the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 ARCA race on February 6.
"These cars are different than the cars I'm used to driving," said Patrick, who was 19th in the Saturday afternoon session. "You can run so much closer and you can cross over. You can't do that in the cars I drive. I got comfortable. Today was good. Tomorrow will be better."
Eury met with the media after Patrick's first drafting session.
"She's doing really good," Eury said. "Drafting is not something that you learn overnight. She has done really good learning how to stay in a pack, learning what the car does in different aero situations. We're pretty pleased. I think I need a little more speed in the car just in single car runs. Overall, it has been a good successful day. We'll come back here tomorrow and let her draft a little bit more and I think we will be game on."
The draft also produced the fastest speeds of the day with a trio of Venturini Motorsports drivers — Mikey Kile, Steve Arpin and Alli Owens — holding the top-three positions on the speed charts.
"We found a lot of stuff today and a lot of speed," said Kile, fastest overall with a 183.061 mph lap. "We tried a lot of different packages in single car runs and here at the end of the day was our first drafting session. We had an awesome day...the team had an awesome day."
Kile's teammates, Arpin and local, Daytona Beach, Florida, native Owens, posted identical times (182.957 mph) while pushing Kile around the 2.5-mile track.
Defending race winner James Buescher, in a Phoenix Racing Toyota, was fourth fastest in the Saturday afternoon drafting session, followed by Brandon McReynolds in Eddie Sharp's No. 2 Toyota.
There were two cautions during Saturday's testing, both for single car incidents. Tim George Jr., in an RCR Chevrolet, spun in turns 3 and 4 with a half-hour remaining during the session, sustaining right side damage to his ARCA Racing Series car. The second and final caution occurred with less than 20 minutes remaining in the test day for a single car spin by Penske Development driver Dakoda Armstrong. There was no damage.
The ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards will return to DIS for a third and final day of testing Sunday. Much like Saturday's schedule, Sunday morning will feature single car runs while teams will have the option to draft on Sunday afternoon.