McDowell, McGilton Prep for ARCA RE/MAX Series Kentucky Encore During Open Test
ARCA RE/MAX Series drivers Michael McDowell and Phillip McGilton turned test laps at Kentucky Speedway today with 18 circuit mates in preparation for the July 13 "Channel 5 150" at the track.
McDowell, who started the series' May 12 race at the track from the pole position before finishing 39th after his car was involved in an accident, entered this week fifth in the series standings with two top-five and six top-10 finishes.
The Eddie Sharp Racing driver will face the unique challenge of switching from a Dodge to a Toyota for the upcoming 150-mile affair. He said his knowledge of the intricacies of the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway tri-oval will aid his transition.
"What I especially like about Kentucky Speedway is just how fast you get into Turn 1. You're doing about 195 mph and it's a rush," McDowell said. "Racing fast here requires a lot of precision. It's challenging as far as the set up goes. The race is really an exercise for the driver and engineer to get the car working well. Hopefully, our car will be there at the end of 100 laps."
McGilton, currently sixth in the series standings with one top-five and five top-10 finishes, will be in search of his second straight top-10 Kentucky Speedway finish after kick starting his season with a third-place start and an eighth-place finish in the May race at the track. "The last race here got us headed in the right direction and gave us momentum. We led laps in the last three races and had a real strong (sixth-place) run at Michigan," he said. "I'm really looking forward to coming back. We're a lot stronger today than the last time we tested here, so we're looking for some big things."
Series leader Frank Kimmel and second-place championship contender Bobby Gerhart also participated in the Kentucky test. Kimmel, the defending and overall eight-time series champion, will hold a 130-point advantage over Gerhart in the championship standings when teams arrive at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway for the series' next event July 7. McDowell will be 230 points off the championship pace and McGilton will trail the leader by 280 points when they take the green flag.
The series will share the spotlight with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series during the fourth of five 2007 Kentucky Speedway race weekends July 13-14. Speedway gates open at 4:30 p.m., Friday with ARCA RE/MAX "Channel 5-150" qualifying. NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series final practice will follow at 6:30 p.m., and the ARCA RE/MAX Series returns to the track for its 15th all-time appearance at the track at 8:00 p.m.
The weekend continues Saturday when speedway gates open at 3:00 p.m. The first 20,000 fans entering the gates will receive a race-edition deck of playing cards compliments of U.S. Playing Card. NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers" qualifying begins at 4:00 p.m., 2006 American Idol champion Taylor Hicks will be in concert on the Turn 1 concourse at 6:30 p.m., and the "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers" will take the green flag at 8:00 p.m.
Tickets for both events are available and can be reserved through the tickets pages of this Web site, by phone at 888-652-RACE (7223), through Tickets.com outlets such as Meijer stores and at the speedway ticket offices located at 400 Buttermilk Pike., Suite 100, in Ft. Mitchell, Ky., or the Sparta, Ky., Fan Center located off of Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 N.
Story by Mike Schmaltz
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