SPARTA - More than 20 drivers, including Prestonsburg resident Steve Blackburn, made their way to Kentucky Speedway on Thursday to participate in a full day ARCA RE/MAX Series open test session designed to serve as a warm-up for the Friday, July 13 WLWT Channel 5-150 at 1.5-mile superspeedway.
Unofficially, Pete Shepherd, in a No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, posted the quickest time and speed (30.59 seconds/176.528 mph). Shepherd, a native of Brampton, Ontario, made his ARCA RE/MAX Series debut in 2006, finishing a career best fourth in his first series attempt at Gateway International Raceway.
Shepherd is a veteran of CASCAR and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. He was followed closely on the speed charts by Robb Brent, who attended the Kentucky test under the tutelage of the Keselowski family. Brent was unofficially quickest early in the session but ended his day after making contact with the outside wall coming off of turn four.
Brian Scott, making his ARCA RE/MAX Series debut, was unofficially clocked third quickest. Scott spun his Country Joe Racing Dodge coming out of turn four but did not make contact with the wall. Colleyville, Texas native Ryan Lawler, also making his ARCA debut, was unofficially fourth quickest.
Michael McDowell and Justin South, 2007 ARCA RE/MAX Series national championship point contenders also tested, unofficially posting the fifth and sixth quickest times. They were followed on the speed charts by not one, but two Kimmels. Eight time and defending ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel and his nephew Will (son of Frank's crew chief/brother Bill Kimmel and a crew member on the No. 46 Pork Ford) both tested. Will, who is 19 years old, tested an ARCA RE/MAX Series car at Daytona International Speedway last December and is an accomplished Late Model racer at Salem Speedway in Southern Indiana.
Blackburn, a former NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Atlantic Region champion, finished 10th fastest out of the 20 drivers. Blackburn timed in at 31.61, reaching a speed of 170.832 miles per hour.
“We were okay in the testing session,” Blackburn commented. “It was dry and slick. This time, it was hotter and the track didn't have as much grip. We're looking forward to racing there again.”