Friday’s ARCA RE/MAX Series 250 will be a learning experience for James Buescher. And the lessons will be taught at close to 200 mph.
Buescher is making his Talladega Superspeedway debut in Friday’s ARCA 250, and he is doing it in style. Buescher will be on the pole position at the beginning of the 94-lap race, the first ARCA pole of his young career.
But starting the race in the lead is not the primary challenge for Buescher. The true test will be in maintaining the lead once the race starts, especially since he has only practice experience in dealing with the multi-car drafting that is essential to being successful at Talladega.
Moments after winning the pole position Thursday with a qualifying run of 185.967, Buescher admitted that he was not fully prepared for the draft racing that will take place once the green flag flies at 4 p.m. Friday.
“Right now, I don’t have any (drafting) plans. I need to take care of that,” Buescher said. “I’m not sure who I’m going to be able to be drafting partners with. I haven’t really heard of anybody who has made plans yet. We’ve got all (Friday) morning to figure that out.”
Buescher is not the only driver who will be learning on the fly. Retired dirt bike racer Ricky Carmichael will make his ARCA RE/MAX Series debut in Friday’s race. Carmichael is nicknamed G.O.A.T, which stands for Greatest Of All Time, for his record-setting 150 career victories and 15 championships in AMA Motocross competition.
Carmichael, who has been driving in the NASCAR Camping World East Series this season for Ken Schrader Racing, will drive the No. 33 Chevrolet for Kevin Harvick Inc. in Friday’s ARCA race. He qualified ninth with a lap speed of 184.232 mph.
“I want to obviously get the best finish we can get, but also learn the draft,” Carmichael said. “That’s what we’re here to do is finish the race, finish as good as we can and learn the dos and the don’ts about being in the draft and learn what the car works like.”
Two other high-profile ARCA newcomers will be in the 43-car field. Joey Logano, who won his ARCA debut earlier this year at Rockingham and also has a Nationwide Series victory to his credit, will start 23rd. And Chrissy Wallace, daughter of veteran NASCAR driver Mike Wallace, will start 27th.
Friday’s race also will have an effect on the ARCA points battle. Scott Speed currently leads the ARCA standings by 65 points over Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Speed qualified seventh, while Stenhouse will begin in the third position.
“I’d like to lead a lot of laps here, lead the most laps would be nice and get another five points. That’s what we’re shooting for,” Stenhouse said.
In addition to the ARCA RE/MAX Series 250, Friday’s action at the track will include qualifying for Saturday’s running of the Mountain Dew 250 Craftsman Truck Series race. The qualifying session is scheduled to begin at 11:05 a.m.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will take to the track for the first time Friday with two practice sessions. The first practice is scheduled to take place from 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m., followed by a second session from 2:45 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Children age 11 and younger will be admitted free of charge with a ticketed adult in the general admission grandstands area for all of Friday’s activities, including the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Qualifying and the ARCA RE/MAX Series 250 race. Tickets are still available to the AMP Energy 500 event weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, which includes the ARCA RE/MAX Series 250 race on Friday, the Mountain Dew 250 Fueled by Winn-Dixie NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on Saturday and the AMP Energy 500, race four in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on Sunday. Tickets may be ordered by calling 1-877- Go2-DEGA, by logging onto www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or on-site at the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office located on Speedway Boulevard at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.