Race Favorites Emerged During Asa, ARCA RE/MAX Series Practice Sessions
The ARCA RE/MAX Series and American Speed Association established early favorites for tonight's ASA BFGoodrich Tires 125 and tomorrow's ARCA RE/MAX Series "Channel 5-205" morning and afternoon practice sessions at Kentucky Speedway.
ASA National Tour drivers officially opened the 2004 race season with a morning practice session led by Bryan Reffner in his No. 80 Menards Chevrolet. Reffner, who won the pole for the speedway's inaugural NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway in 2000 with a lap of 168.460, turned the fastest lap of the session in 32.158 seconds at 167.921 mph.
"We had the pole for the truck race here in 2000 and want the pole for this race," Reffner said. This track really fits my style well with trucks, and it's been good so far in ASA. The cars have a good spoiler and seem to have really good balance. Everybody's giving the track a lot of respect."
Reffner slipped to 11th in the second practice session, giving way to rookie points leader Stephen Leicht. Leicht enters tonight's "BFGoodrich Tires 125" with an 11-point lead over Travis Kittleson. Leicht turned his leading lap in 31.769 seconds at 169.977 mph. Kittleson's turned his best lap of the day at 164.034 mph in the second session.
"We came here with the same set-up as when we tested, except the tires were so different we didn't know what to expect," Leicht said. "Everything was a little tight. We went back to the same tires, made some shock changes and a few other minor changes and gained a second on the tires and a half a second on the other changes. Everything snapped back, just like that."
In addition to Leicht, defending National Tour Champion Kevin Cywinski also found the second practice session beneficial. Cywinski added 6 mph to his best effort of the first session. He turned his fastest lap of the second session at 167.457mph (32.247 seconds).
"We're a little off," Cywinski said. "We just need to find a way to get faster into the corners. Hopefully it'll be a good race. It's a good tight group of cars. The drafting will be new to some guys, but I think we'll put on a whale of a show."
The ARCA RE/MAX practice sessions turned into a battle between three-time Kentucky Speedway winner and defending ARCA RE/MAX Series Champion Frank Kimmel and Blake Feese
Kimmel and his No. 46 Advance Auto Parts Pork Producers Ford took a 3-mph advantage over Feese in the first session, but Feese and his No. 5 Ditech.com Chevrolet narrowed Kimmel's margin to a .400 of a second in the second session. Kimmel turned his best lap of both sessions at 172.789 mph (31.380 seconds), while Feese scored his best practice lap at 172.359 mph (31.712 mph).
"We had a good test here about a week ago," Kimmel said. "The car was the same today, but the other guys are going to go to work and catch up with us real quick. The track is so smooth and this car seems to work a little better on it. It's a car we got from Petty Enterprises. Hopefully, it keeps running good."
ASA and ARCA RE/MAX Series qualifying will follow later today.
Tickets still remain for tonight's ASA "BF Goodrich Tires 125" and can be purchased at all Meijer Stores at the Kentucky Speedway Main Entrance until race time.
~ Kentucky Speedway ~