CONCORD, N.C. – The ARCA Menards Series invaded Charlotte Motor Speedway Tuesday afternoon for an open test session in advance of the General Tire 150 on May 23.
Harrison Burton, driving the No. 20 Toyota for Venturini Motorsports, set the fastest time of the test session. His 29.631-second lap at 182.242 mph, which came late in the day, led a Venturini Motorsports sweep of the top three spots ahead of Christian Eckes and Michael Self.
“We just did a qualifying run right there. I think all the Venturini cars did,” Burton said of his fast lap. “It was kind of fun to go out and let it loose and go for a good lap, which is something that drivers always like to do.
“We’re just working on the balance on the No. 20, trying to get it to where we can rotate the corner and still have good rear grip. I feel like our qualifying trim was really good, just need a little bit more in race trim and we’ll be pretty hard to beat.”
Burton, who is competing full-time in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series this year for Kyle Busch Motorsports, is slated to compete in the General Tire 150 one day after his high school graduation.
“I’m going to have a busy week,” Burton said with a laugh.
Riley Herbst, who tested two different Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas Tuesday, was fourth fastest and reigning ARCA champion Sheldon Creed was fifth in a GMS Racing Chevrolet.
Travis Braden, the current ARCA Menards Series championship leader, managed only the 15th fastest lap. He explained that he and the RFMS Racing team battled a tight condition throughout the test.
“It’s kind of an all-new package for us. We just had to figure out where the starting point was and go from there,” Braden said. “We kind of unloaded really tight and never found anything to make it not tight. I guess that is still somewhat of a positive for us because every deal we had last year we were fighting really loose. We wanted to get that out of it and we did, now we just have to kind of figure out how to meet in the middle.”
Other notables at the test were reigning NHRA Pro Stock champion Tanner Gray, rookie Cole Glasson, Richard Petty’s grandson Thad Moffitt, multi-time ARCA Midwest Tour champion Ty Majeski and 2018 Daytona ARCA runner-up Willie Mullins.
Mullins, who hasn’t competed since an early crash in the ARCA opener at Daytona Int’l Speedway in February, is planning to make his first start at a 1.5-mile speedway at Charlotte later this month.
“It was a very good day. We made progress all day, mainly as a driver,” Mullins said. “We worked all day to go faster. Every run with older and older tires we went faster and faster. That just shows you how much is left in the car. We’ve got a good car to come back and run a solid 10th or 15th at least, if not better.”