DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Putting an emphasis on enhancing their on-track performance from a limited ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season last year, Codie Rohrbaugh and Grant County Mulch Racing (CGR) head to Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway upbeat and confident about their chances in Saturday afternoon’sLucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire.
The former NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) competitor has leaned on the support of his veteran crew chief Mark Huff who has assembled a fleet of No. 7 Grant County Mulch Chevrolets not only ready for Daytona, but a majority of the ARCA season.
Daytona, however, is a prime focus for the Petersburg, West Virginia native who returns to the “World Center of Racing” seeking redemption after being eliminated in the winding laps of last season’s ARCA season-opener.
The team’s determination to finish what they started in this weekend’s race is evident after the team showcased speed during last month’s preseason testing at the 2.5-mile speedway.
While officially posting the 27th quickest lap of 62 participants during the two-day session, Rohrbaugh says his Mooresville, N.C.-based team was holding back and plans to showcase their full potential when practice starts Thursday afternoon.
“Our No. 7 Grant County Mulch Chevrolet is going to be pretty good this weekend at Daytona,” said Rohrbaugh who will make his 11th career start and second at Daytona on Saturday.
“We worked really hard at the test with single-car speeds because we felt that if we could get the car maneuvering pretty good by itself, it would perform well in the draft.
“We saw signs of that in the limited drafting we did during the two days at the test. We went back to the shop, made some tweaks and I’m ready for another opportunity to race at Daytona.”
Knowing that Daytona is known for being unpredictable, Rohrbaugh and his team have one goal in mind, win.
“We’re going to have a good dose of ARCA races on our schedule this year, but we won’t be competing for the championship, so we can go to the race track every weekend and focus on just winning. It’s going to be tough, but I think we’ve shown the speed over the last 10 months or so to prove that with the right circumstances, we can be winners.”
The 24-year-old says while his team has the tools to be winners, the competition in ARCA is stiff. A plethora of strong teams with talented drivers means not much will be left on the table every lap when it comes to the winning trophy.
For the West Virginian though, that’s a challenge he gladly accepts.
“Typically, you can throw a blanket over the top-10 cars or so,” added Rohrbaugh. “It’s a strong group of cars and competitors. The competition is as close as ever – but that usually leads to good racing for the fans and that should be the case for the Lucas Oil 200.”
In 10 career ARCA starts, Rohrbaugh has a best finish of eighth at Michigan International Speedway (June 2017) after starting a career-best eighth at the same 2.0-mile speedway.
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The Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 driven by General Tire (80 laps / 200 miles) is the first of 20 races on the 2018 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Thurs., Feb. 8 with a two-hour session from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. A final practice session has been etched in on Fri., Feb. 9 from 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Group qualifying is set for later in the day at 3:30 p.m. The season-opener for the 66th consecutive ARCA season is set to take the green flag on Sat., Feb. 10 shortly after 4:30 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities.