Harvard-grad leads ARA test at Daytona

Patrick Staropoli

Patrick Staropoli could not have imagined he'd be on top the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards test charts Friday at Daytona Int'l Speedway. That's because, as of the night before, he had no idea he'd even be at the "World Center of Racing".

"This wasn't exactly supposed to happen," said the 25-year-old Harvard graduate.

"One of Empire's drivers got really sick so we got a call last night to see if I'd be interested. So l left Charlotte right away, drove all night and got here at four in the morning, slept for about an hour, and came out to the track.

"It's more than I could have hoped for. I still can't believe it. I just want to thank Richard Hardin of American RF…he found out that Sean Corr was looking for a driver, and got in touch with me. This is amazing. The biggest track I had ever been on before was Iowa."

Staropoli won the Peak Challenge last year, a driver search program through Michael Waltrip Racing. The reward was a five-race run with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.

"I got to run five K&N races and won one of them at Irwindale (Speedway), which ultimately led me to this opportunity.

"I had no idea what to expect. The only race I've ever run here was on the backstretch in a K&N car so I had no idea what I was getting into. I've never drafted before, but it's the coolest thing…to feel how the wind moves and shoves the car around.

"Hopefully I've turned some heads and opened some doors. I'm so hoping I get to come back here and race. This place is amazing."

Staropoli is currently pursuing a doctorate degree. He graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in neurobiology from Harvard University in 2012.

"I'm a year-and-a-half into med school, but I took a year off to pursue the racing opportunities that came by way."

Staropoli, in the No. 48 Ford Fusion, was fastest (188.344 mph) among 39 drivers that posted time and speed in the afternoon session. Series veteran and eight-time Daytona winner Bobby Gerhart was second quickest in the afternoon session followed by Venturini Motorsports drivers Leilani Munter and Cody Coughlin. David Levine was fifth overall.

Testing resumes Saturday with two sessions, one in the morning from 9-12, and the other in the afternoon from 1-5. ARCAracing.com will provide live timing and scoring of all on-track activities.

Pos No Driver Time Speed Make
1 48 Patrick Staropoli 47.785 188.344 Frd
2 5 Bobby Gerhart 48.078 187.196 Chv
3 66 Leilani Munter 48.08 187.188 Tyt
4 55 Cody Coughlin 48.086 187.165 Tyt
5 68A David Levine 48.294 186.359 Frd
6 48 Sean Corr 48.337 186.193 Frd
7 52 Clay Campbell 48.397 185.962 Chv
8 77A Austin Cindric 48.425 185.854 Dge
9 77 Tom Hessert 48.541 185.41 Dge
10 88A Mario Clauser 48.695 184.824 Frd
11 54 Matt Kurzejewski 48.722 184.721 Tyt
12 2A Sarah Cornett-Ching 49.243 182.767 Chv
13 88 John Lowinski-Loh 49.332 182.437 Frd
14 3 Karl Weber 49.363 182.323 Chv
15 97A Cassie Gannis 49.599 181.455 Dge
16 69A Ty Majeski 49.66 181.232 Frd
17 97K Tommy Barrett 49.663 181.221 Dge
18 12 Tyler Audie 49.73 180.977 Dge
19 03A Rick Clifton 49.851 180.538 Chv
20 95 Mark Meunier 49.918 180.296 Dge
21 7B J.J. Pack 49.947 180.191 Frd
22 42 Bo LeMastus 49.952 180.173 Dge
23 41A Thomas Serwin 50.032 179.885 Chv
24 58A Michael Lira 50.156 179.44 Frd
25 57C Robert French 50.17 179.39 Chv
26 57B Bryan Dauzat 50.171 179.386 Chv
27 59 Michael Lira 50.23 179.176 Frd
28 5A Scott Hubler 50.242 179.133 Chv
29 97I Amber Balcean 50.269 179.037 Dge
30 41C Garrett Smithley 50.292 178.955 Chv
31 7A Kyle Lockrow 50.361 178.71 Frd
32 41 Robby Lyons 50.505 178.2 Chv
33 78 Mason Mitchell 50.574 177.957 Frd
34 75 Benny Chastain 50.715 177.462 Chv
35 75A Ginny Quinones 50.928 176.72 Chv
36 98 Austin Wayne Self 52.222 172.341 Frd
37 69H Andy Hillenburg 52.59 171.135 Frd
38 97J Kevin Hinckle 53.735 167.489 Dge
39 97G Roger Carter 55.797 161.299 Dge

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