TALLADEGA, Ala. – Wide open space. That’s how New Castle, Indiana’s Caleb Armstrong described Talladega Superspeedway Wednesday after taking his first laps around the 2.66-mile track during ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards open testing.
Known for its spectacular three- and four-wide 200 mph mad scrambles, Talladega is the widest among the superspeedways that ARCA races on, and at times, the wildest.
“What struck me most about Talladega, in comparison to Daytona, was the wide open space,” said Armstrong, as if he were describing the ‘wild west’.
“There is so much more room. Daytona is a lot narrower than it looks on TV. Talladega is one awesome track. We started out pretty quick, fell back a little, but I think we could have been faster had it not rained.”
Persistent rain showers cut today’s test session about three hours short of the intended mark, but not before 17 drivers posted time and speed.
And if Armstrong “fell back a little”, it wasn’t much. Armstrong, the cousin of Dakoda Armstrong (ARCA winner at Talladega in 2010), was third fastest overall (179.108 mph), and third among his Venturini Motorsports teammates, led by Daytona winner John Wes Townley.
“The test was great,” Townley said. “We unloaded, made a few changes – some things we wanted to try, and picked up right where we left off (at Daytona). Despite the rain, I think we got what we needed. This is the same car we won with at Daytona, and it’s still fast.”
Townley, of Watkinsville, Ga., agreed with Armstrong regarding the wide open space at Talladega.
“The biggest thing that stands out to me is the room you have to race at Talladega. It gets a little edgy at Daytona when you start going three wide, but here (Talladega), you can run three-wide comfortably, and squeeze in a fourth car when you need to.”
Venturini Motorsports led the charts, taking the top-four spots with Townley, in the No. 15 Zaxby’s Toyota, the quickest overall with an average speed of 180.264 mph.