SALEM, Ind. (April 23, 2016) – The locals are in a very good mood. Chase Briscoe, from nearby Mitchell, Indiana, was fastest in both ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards practice sessions Saturday at Salem Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200, the 99th ARCA race at Salem since 1955.
Mitchell, in the No. 77 Cunningham Motorsports Ford, circled the high-banked oval faster than anyone in either session with a quick time of 17.175 seconds overall, an average speed of 116.332 mph.
“It was good…we can be better, I think,” Briscoe said.
“We can still roll better through the corners…we’re still giving up too much. We need a little more turn in the car.”
Overall, Briscoe is happy to be off to solid start at his home track.
“Definitely happy. It sets the tone for the weekend. Being fastest in both practice sessions gets the crew pumped up, but I definitely think we can get better. We might have 4-to-500 people coming out to watch tomorrow…I don’t want to fail for them. A lot of them don’t go to races so I don’t want to disappoint them. This would be the best place to win…it would be very special for me.”
Briscoe, currently second in championship points, finished fifth at Salem last fall.
Venturini Motorsports was next on the charts with Norman, Oklahoma’s Christopher Bell, making his career-first ARCA Racing Series start here this weekend. Bell timed in at 17.226 seconds (115.987 mph) in the No. 66 JBL Toyota.
“We’ll be in contention tomorrow,” Bell said. “We’re just trying to get our car where it races good. This is a tough place…I’ve never been here. This place is very unique…fresh pavement in three and four and old pavement down in one and two.”
Kyle Weatherman, in the No. 58 St. Charles Glass Ford, was third fastest overall at 17.252 (115.813 mph).
“We’re not far off,” Weatherman said. “I think we have a shot for the pole. We need a little more for the race. We’ll keep tuning on it, working hard and get it in the right direction. Same old Salem…I love it. It’s a little bit rougher this year, but other than that, same old Salem.”
Brady Boswell, also making his first attempt at Salem, was fourth fastest overall in the No. 98 Mason Mitchell Motorsports Ford at 17.396 (114.854 mph).
“I really like it…it’s a really unique track,” Boswell said. “The corners are completely different. This is the first track I’ve ever run where you’re right up next to the wall. Love that corner (three and four). I’m still trying to figure out one and two. I need to figure out how to get off of two better.”
Boswell led 44 laps in his career-first ARCA start at Nashville last time out, but learned a lot in preparation for his first Salem attempt.
“I learned a lot in the Nashville race. You definitely have to learn to conserve your tires. And…you can’t be focused on driving right in front of you…you gotta drive way ahead of yourself.”
Rookie Shane Lee, making his first Salem start, was fifth fastest between the two sessions with a time of 17.440 seconds (114.564 mph). Lee drives the No. 32 LeeBoy Toyota.
Cunningham Motorsports’ Blake Jones, in the No. 22 Ford, was next on the charts at 17.442 (114.551 mph)
“We just worked on race runs…making the car turn better,” Jones said. “We were pretty good off the truck…little snug…worked on roll speed all day. We ran here last fall…it’s a little rougher in one and two...three and four’s getting back to the way it used to be.”
Ronnie Osmer made heavy contact with the wall between turns one and two in practice, sustaining heavy rear damage to the No. 64 Dodge. As a result, Osmer has withdrawn from the race event.
Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell is next at 3:30.
Don Radebaugh email@example.com