Martin Quickest In ARCA Practice

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Hal Martin drove the No. 55 NOLA Motorsports Park Toyota to the top of the practice chart at Daytona Int’l Speedway Thursday, helping Venturini Motorsports to three of the top four positions on the first day of competition for the 2011 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season.

Martin drove his best lap in 48.092 seconds (187.141 miles per hour) to edge Ty Dillon (No. 41 University of Northwestern Ohio Chevrolet), Venturini teammates Kyle Fowler (No. 15 Chevrolet) and Steve Arpin (No. 25 Mike’s Hard Lemonade/Trent’s Tire Toyota) and Tim George, Jr. (No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Development Chevrolet).

Steve Blackburn, Matt Merrell, Bryan Silas, Brian Rose, and Tom Hessert comprised the remainder of the top 10. The top 10 drivers were separated by 0.878 second.

Six-time and defending Daytona ARCA winner Bobby Gerhart drove his No. 5 Lucas Oil Slick Mist Chevrolet to the 20th position on the chart, one spot ahead of nine-time ARCA Racing Series champion Frank Kimmel.

“What a successful day, all in all,” Martin said. “We’ve spent a lot of long hours at the shop, and I’ve put in a lot of long hours of mental prep for this day. There were some things in practice we wanted to try, and the car just ran fast. That’s all I can say. It’s driving really well, and dicing in and out of traffic. We did a lot of drafting this afternoon and ran well in every situation.”

Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell is scheduled for 2 p.m. today.