The 2010 racing season is officially upon us! The Rolex 24 at Daytona kicked it off Saturday, and haulers carrying stock cars will roll into DIS this week. Daytona 500 qualifying and the Budweiser Shootout headline a busy upcoming weekend. Along with the NASCAR events, the ARCA Series will open it’s season with the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 on Saturday afternoon. And with the names that are on the entry list for the ARCA race, SPEED may be in for record breaking ratings.
The most notable of those names on the entry list for the ARCA opener is of course, Danica Patrick. She will be making her much anticipated stock car debut under the watchful eye of Tony Eury Jr. and her new JR Motorsports team. A lot will be riding on her performance in the race, as a successful outing could lead to her being approved for the Nationwide Series race at Daytona in two weeks. NASCAR won’t be the only one watching her on Saturday though, as I’d imagine many race fans will tune in to see if the hype is really justified.
Besides Patrick, this may be one of the more interesting entry lists we’ve ever seen for a Daytona ARCA race. There are no less then six women drivers attempting the race including Patrick, Milka Duno, Alli Owens, Leilani Munter, Amber Cope, and Jennifer Jo Cobb. There is also a former Formula One driver attempting his first stock car race in the person of Nelson Piquet Jr.
The race will also feature the usual bevy of young, up and coming development drivers like Dakoda Armstrong and James Buescher, along with a mix of series veterans including Frank Kimmel and Bill Baird.
In the past, the ARCA race at Daytona has proven to be wildly unpredictable because of the inexperience of many of those competing. There are very few opportunities to run at tracks like Daytona, and many drivers log their first ever restrictor plate track time during this event.
Besides the problems with inexperience, drivers in this race sometimes have a tendency to drive over their heads in the hopes they can run well and impress the NASCAR team brass that will be in attendance. A solid performance here could lead to an opportunity to move up, or attract new sponsorship.
This combination of inexperience and over-driving has often led to dramatic wrecks, crazy finishes, and angry drivers. Something tells me this edition will be no different.
The Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona gets underway on Saturday afternoon at 4:30PM EST on SPEED. My only question for you is, will you be watching?