ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship leader Austin Theriault had to "wipe the slate clean" on Lucas Oil Raceway. The Fort Kent, Maine driver raced there in a Late Model in 2013, but not much seemed to carry over. Theriault, along with several others, tested Sunday afternoon/evening at Lucas Oil in preparation for Friday's (July 21) Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200.
"Well it's kind of like we had to wipe the slate clean," said Theriault. "The Late Models just drive different than the ARCA cars. You really have to approach it differently. In the heavier ARCA cars, everything is multiplied from the standpoint of changing track conditions and everything else."
The day at Lucas Oil starts with practice at 12:15, with General Tire pole qualifying following at 5. There'll be some daylight left when the green flag comes down just after 9, but the race will definitely end at night, under the lights. That's precisely why Theriault and the No. 52 Ken Schrader Racing team tested from 4 till 10.
"It's all about how much the track will change from practice and qualifying during the day to the race at night. I think it's going to throw a lot of people a curve ball. It's going to come down to who's going to set it up right ahead of time to accommodate those conditions (at night)."
Theriault's biggest takeaway was track position.
"Of all the short tracks I've seen so far, I think track position will be the most critical (at Lucas Oil Raceway). Passing's going to be challenging. The groove is up near the wall, so you're going to have to work the inside, yet the preferred groove is up top. There'll be fewer opportunities to pass…restarts are going to be big. You're going to have to be aggressive without taking too much risk; but you can't go easy there."
Theriault also said the team worked mainly shorter runs.
"We tried a lot of different things…mostly shorter runs…certainly more than we have time to do on raceday. We're decent…we just need some small changes and some fine tuning when we come back."
When asked which short track car he'd be using for the race, Theriault answered, "We haven't decided yet."
Theriault joined several race teams for the test, including Venturini Motorsports, Cunningham Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Mason Mitchell Motorsports, Empire Racing Group and RFMS Racing. Currently, there are 29 entries for Friday's race. MDM Motorsports had already tested two weeks beforehand.
Theriault said the team left bright and early from Charlotte Sunday morning, tested from 4 - 10, spent the night and started back to Charlotte first thing Monday morning. The team will be doing it all again in just a couple days.
Discounted tickets for the Sioux Chief PowerPEX® 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway are on sale now at several Menards stores in Indiana. The tickets are being offered at $10 off the gate price, and can be purchased up through July 20. Kids, 11 and under, are free.
The Sioux Chief PowerPEX® 200 marks the 13th ARCA appearance at Lucas Oil Raceway since its debut there in 1971. Former ARCA winners at LOR include Ramo Stott, Bob Schacht, Davey Allison, Ty Dillon, Frank Kimmel, Brandon Jones, Travis Braden and Chase Briscoe.
ARCA Racing Series practice is from 12 - 2 p.m., followed by General Tire pole qualifying at 5. Pre-race ceremonies and driver introductions begin at 8:30 with the green flag waving just after 9. The 100-lap ARCA/CRA Super Series late model race precedes the 200-lap ARCA national tour event.
The Sioux Chief PowerPEX® 200 is live on FS1 at 9 p.m. ET. ARCAracing.com will feature live timing and scoring and live chat of all ARCA Racing Series on-track activities.