On a day that started off delayed due to a wet track surface, the ARCA Menards Series open test at Daytona was also cut short Friday afternoon by inclement weather. Connor Hall (No. 22C Chad Bryant Racing Ford) had just moved to the top of the leaderboard as a group of drivers had started to work the draft, raising speeds above 180 miles per hour.
Hall's fast lap of 49.711 seconds/181.046 miles per hour just narrowly nipped Ronnie Osmer's fastest lap. Osmer (No. 02O Our Motorsports Chevrolet) timed in with a lap at 49.754 seconds/180.890 miles per hour, just 0.043 seconds off Hall's fastest lap.
"We were working on single car runs this morning," Hall said. "We had a game plan to work on the car and getting air where we wanted it. We made some gains and learned some things we liked and didn't like. That's what testing is all about. We were focused on what we needed to be better on last year. We have a great racecar. We are happy but not totally happy so we'll get back to work tomorrow."
Chad Bryant Racing's Jacob Heafner (No. 77H Chad Bryant Racing Ford) was third at 49.767 seconds/180.843 miles per hour.
"It was a learning curve atthe beginning," Heafner said. "I calmed myself down and got to driving. It is a big change coming from late models on short tracks. We worked a little on single car runs and then got out there in the draft a little. We're learning a lot and ready to come back in February."
Ty Gibbs (No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) was fourth quick at 49.772 seconds/180.825 miles per hour and Andy Suess (No. 02S Our Motorsports Chevrolet) rounded out the top five at 49.828 seconds/180.621 miles per hour.
Others that teamed up to work the draft and exceed 180 miles per hour included Gus Dean (No. 32 Win Tron Racing Chevrolet), Riley Herbst (No. 18H Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet), Dominique Van Wieringen (No. 30D Rette Jones Racing Ford), and her brother Tristan Van Wieringen (No. 30T Rette Jones Racing Ford). Bret Holmes (No. 23 Bret Holmes Racing Chevrolet) rounded out the top ten.
Thirty-seven drivers took time of the 50 that have registered. No incidents were reported throughout the day.
Riley Herbst Leads Opening 2 Hours Session
Joe Gibbs Racing's Riley Herbst (No. 18 Toyota) led the way in the opening two hours of ARCA Menards Series testing at Daytona International Speedway. The two-day open test is in preparation for ARCA's season-opening Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire slated for Saturday, February 10.
Herbst's fastest lap in the morning session was 50.528 seconds/178.119 miles per hour, nearly a half-second quicker than second-place Tanner Gray (No. 17 DGR-Crosley Ford). Gray, the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Division national champion, timed in at a speedy 50.962 seconds/176.602 miles per hour.
Veteran Dave Mader III (No. 63 Spraker Racing Chevrolet) timed in third quick at 51.094 seconds/176.146 miles per hour, while fellow Alabamian Bret Holmes (No. 23 BHR Chevrolet) was fourth at 51.103 seconds/176.11 miles per hour. Bounty Rookie of the Year contender Drew Dollar (No. 15 Venturini Motorsports Toyota), who has taken over the ride Christian Eckes drove to the series title in 2019, was fifth quickest at 51.236 seconds/175.661 miles per hour.
Chad Bryant Racing teammates Connor Hall and Jacob Haefner both drove the organization's No. 22 Ford to sixth and seventh on the speed chart, with Haefner also wheeling the team's No. 77 to eighth overall. Three-time ARCA Menards Series West winner Hailie Deegan (No. 4 DGR-Crosley Racing Ford) was ninth and Dominique Van Wieringen (No. 30 Rette Jones Racing Ford) rounded out the top ten.
All of the 27 drivers that took time in the opening two hours of the day made single-car runs. The session, originally slated to be three hours, was delayed slightly more than 90 minutes due to a wet track surface after overnight rain and the ever present morning marine layer of fog in Daytona Beach. There were no incidents throughout the morning session.