ARCA Racing Series

Natalie Decker wins ARCA pole at Daytona, credits Danica Patrick for ‘paving the way’

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Natalie Decker won the pole for Saturday’s ARCA Racing Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway.

Decker, 20, won the pole for the Lucas Oil 200 with a speed of 181.859 mph in the No. 25 Venturini Motorsports N29 Capital Partners Toyota.

The native of Eagle River, Wisconsin, is the fourth woman to win a pole at Daytona.

Decker joins Danica Patrick’s Daytona 500 pole in 2013, Erin Crocker’s Lucas Oil 200 pole in 2007 and Patty Moise’s poles in the race in 1989-90.

“This means so much to me to be here,” Decker said. “And to get the pole at Daytona is definitely the biggest moment of my career. I beat (2016 Camping World Truck Series champion) Johnny Sauter once at State Park Speedway, but this even beats that.”

Decker is competing full-time in ARCA this season after making seven ARCA starts in 2017 with Venturini. She captured one top 10 at Road America where she placed seventh.

“It’s been a wonderful, wonderful day,” Decker said. “I’m so excited to be here. I know I’m going to get nervous when I climb in that car for the race, but I’m going to turn those nerves into drive and excitement once the race starts.”

Saturday’s race, scheduled for 4:45 p.m. ET on Saturday on Fox Sports 1, will be Decker’s first at Daytona. It will come a week before Patrick’s last NASCAR start in the 60th Daytona 500.

“Danica has done such a good job of paving the way for all girl drivers,” Decker said. “There are a lot of them coming up … and they’re all fast. I want to have a good showing tomorrow night for all of them, and I know I have the right team to do it with.”

Decker and Patrick share a closer connection.

Patrick’s middle name is Sue. The name was inspired by Decker’s Aunt Sue.

“She kind of set (Patrick’s) parents up on a date,” Decker said. “My dad raced back in day snowmobiles against her dad. Her mother worked on my aunt’s team.”

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Thad Moffitt, Richard Petty’s grandson, makes Daytona debut in ARCA test

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Thad Moffitt, grandson of seven-time Cup champion Richard Petty, is the latest member of the Petty family to pilot a car at Daytona International Speedway.

Moffitt, 17, made his Daytona debut Friday in an ARCA Racing Series test session driving a No. 46 Ford for Empire Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports’ driver development team.

Moffitt, the oldest son of Brian and Rebecca Petty-Moffitt, will compete in three ARCA races this year.

He made his series debut last year and made three starts. His best finish was 11th at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis.

The ARCA season begins Feb. 10 at Daytona. Moffitt would be the first member of the Petty family to race at Daytona since Kyle Petty competed in the 2009 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Richard Petty won 10 points races at Daytona, including a record seven Daytona 500 victories. His father, Lee Petty, won the inaugural Daytona 500 in 1959.

Moffitt’s 2018 plans include competing in Late Model events and CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour races.

In 2016, Moffitt won the championship in the Southeast Limited Late Model Series.

Just like last year, Brandon Jones repeats with ARCA win at Michigan

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Brandon Jones finished what he couldn’t last week at Pocono.

The 20-year-old Georgia native started first and finished second at Pocono, but he ended up first in Friday’s Corrigan Oil 200 ARCA Racing Series event at Michigan International Speedway.

Jones, who started from the pole and survived an early spin in the race on Lap 11, took the lead with seven laps to go to capture the 100-lap event. He’ll also race Saturday in the Xfinity Series race at MIS.

“It was crazy, for sure,” Jones told Fox Sports 1 in victory lane. “All in all, a great day. The car was fastest in qualifying and practice. This is awesome.”

It was Jones’ fourth career ARCA win, and his second consecutive triumph in the series at MIS.

Series points leader Austin Theriault finished second with his sixth top-five finish of the season, followed by Dalton Sargeant, Bret Homes and Gus Dean.

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Got Monster? Empty can of energy drink allows free Friday access at Pocono Raceway in June

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Monster Energy has a new promotion to gets fans in the stands for one upcoming NASCAR weekend.

The title sponsor for the Cup Series has teamed with Pocono Raceway in an effort to give fans free access to the track on Friday of its June 11 race weekend. The day sees Cup Series qualifying, Xfinity Series practice and the ARCA Racing Series’ General Tire #AnywhereisPossible 200.

If a fan presents an empty can of Monster Energy at the track on June 9, the can will be recycled and the fan will receive a free ticket for admittance to the track. Fans must bring their Monster Energy can to the redemption center outside of the Fan Fair behind the grandstands.

“This first of its kind initiative in NASCAR continues to showcase our dedication to our fans, partners and the environment,” Pocono Raceway President & CEO Brandon Igdalsky said in a press release. “We are thrilled to know that anyone who chooses to recycle a Monster Energy can will enjoy a great day of NASCAR and ARCA racing free of charge.”

The June weekend is one of two for NASCAR at the 2.5-mile track. The second is scheduled for the weekend of July 30. That weekend will be the first where Cup qualifying is scheduled for Sunday afternoon before the race.

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Grandson of Richard Petty making ARCA debut this weekend in Nashville

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Thad Moffitt, the 16-year-old grandson of Richard Petty, will make his ARCA Racing Series debut this weekend, Richard Petty Motorsports announced Tuesday.

Moffitt, the oldest son of Brian and Rebecca Moffitt, will debut in the ARCA Music City 200 at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tennessee. He will drive the No. 46 car for Empire Racing Group, a Richard Petty Motorsports development team, with primary sponsorship from Transportation Impact.

Moffitt is coming off a 2016 in which he won the championship in the Southeast Limited Late Model Series.

He won his first race in the series last August.

“I love racing, being at the track and just learning and trying to get better each race,” Moffitt said in a press release. “The ERG team has been great, and I’ve had a lot of fun with them in the late model. They have a good ARCA program, and I really wanted to make my debut in this series. A lot of great drivers have raced in ARCA, and Uncle Kyle (Petty) and (cousin) Adam (Petty) have both won in this series. It makes me really want to follow in their footsteps. But, this is a learning process, too. I’m excited and ready, but I have a lot to learn.”

Moffitt will work with crew chief Mike Cheek, who supervised the driver in a test at Nashville.

“Thad has a lot of passion to follow in the footsteps of his family,” Cheek said in the press release. “He has won a championship in a limited late model and in just a few races in a NASCAR Late Model, he has shown his talents. He did well during the ARCA test, and no matter the result, this will be great experience at a young age.”

The Music City 200 will also include the North-South Shootout with the Southern Super Series and the ARCA CRA Super Series combo race.

“There’s a big feel difference, especially coming off the corner,” Moffitt said comparing the ARCA car to what he drove last year. “The ARCA cars have so much more horsepower. I was spinning my tires bad, but I learned to feed it gas as I go … then I picked up speed.

“Nashville’s an amazing track. I learned that it’s got multiple grooves. You could enter low and let it push up and bring it back down coming off. But once the tires got to 75 laps or so, you could pretty much run the second groove all the way around. I love the banking in that track … the way it sucks you into the corner.”

The ARCA Music City 200 will be broadcast at 9 p.m. ET Saturday on MAV TV

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