BRANDON THOMSON GETS IN A FEW LAPS IN ARCA TESTING AT DAYTONA
by Dave Westerman
It was a cool, breezy Saturday at Daytona International Speedway as close to 70 drivers were in attendance for ARCA practice, many shaking down their rides for 2010 and just as many in attendance trying to turn a few heads in hopes of making the "big time."
St. Cloud, FL's Brandon Thomson became the latest graduate of the Legend Car program to hop in an ARCA stock car at Daytona. Thomson was among a group of drivers slated to take turns in cars owned by Andy Hillenburg. Hillenburg's regular driver in the ARCA Series, Bryan Silas, was also in attendance with his #11 machine and clocked lap times in the top group each day.
In the end, Thomson was only able to log eight laps in the #8 machine on Saturday after most of Friday's schedule was lost to rain. Thomson came close to cracking 180 MPH in the few laps he was able to take on the historic 2 1/2 mile tri-oval and found it "much easier than I thought it would be." Thomson's fast lap was 179.322 which was 23rd out out 63 drivers who timed in during the Saturday morning session. All the media hype was surrounding Danica Patrick, but Thomson out-did her as Patrick was 25th quick.
Thomson is hoping to pick up a ride for the ARCA 200 at Daytona in one of the Hillenburg cars or possibly with Andy Belmont Racing as they have expressed interest in the young driver. A sponsor needs to be found if Thomson hopes to compete in any other ARCA events after that. There is a possibility that Thomson may get a chance to drive the car assigned to 15 year old Chris Buescher, another Legends Car grad who is a Roush Racing Development driver. ARCA rules allow Buescher to compete in races on tracks one mile or shorter, but he is not old enough to compete on the super speedways which would allow Thomson the opportunity to drive in a "fill in" capacity and get the chance to prove he can get the job done.
There were a number of Florida drivers doing well over the weekend. Under drafting conditions where the greatest speeds were attained, Indiantown's Patrick Sheltra and Daytona's Alli Owens were second and third quick. Stuart's Silas was 10th fastest with Miami's Joey Coulter was 22nd and Tallahassee's Ricky Carmichael 24th.
Former Speedworld Super Late Model champion B.J. McLeod picked up a ride on Sunday in the Jones Racing Group Dodge and was 29th quick.
During a break in the action on Saturday, Brandon Thomson's dad Russ took a stroll over by James Hylton's trailer and noticed that helping the ageless veteran, who was the 1966 NASCAR Grand National Rookie of the Year, was none other than another "ageless wonder," the "Tampa Terror" Will Cagle who indicated he was lobbying Hylton for a possible ride in one of his cars.
It looks like qualifying for the ARCA 200 in February will, in itself, be very interesting.
Have an opinion on
this story? Post a message on
our Message Board! or Email KARNACto send a letter to the editor!