Speeds continue at super-fast MIS

Brennan Newberry and Alex Bowman led the way in ARCA Racing Series testing at Michigan International Speedway on Tuesday, but the bigger story may be the record speeds that could be set on the newly-paved racetrack when the series returns June 15 for the RainEater 200.

Garage talk has centered on increased speeds at the two-mile oval after the repave in the Fall, and several of the 27 ARCA drivers testing at the track delivered.

Newberry had the fastest average of the day at 194.159 mph, with Bowman a tick slower at 194.112 mph.

“Obviously, the track is very smooth and fast,” Newberry said. “I’ve never been in an ARCA car before and never saw the track until today, so it was very rewarding to run so well here. It was a lot of fun, I can tell you that. I’m really not too surprised of our lap times today. The car felt so good right off the trailer. We had to make adjustments on it, but nothing drastic. We plan to come back and race and I think we’ll be just as strong.

“My job will be to drive my tail off it, get everyone excited on this family-owned team, and see where it leads us. Hopefully, we’ll get to run a few more.”

Joey Coulter was third-fastest at 193.918 mph, with Venturini Motorsports’ Brennan Poole and Ryan Reed rounding out the top-five.

To say speeds at the track are fast is an understatement. ARCA drivers said they were hitting about 216 mph going into Turn 1.

A tire test by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers in April saw similar top speeds – about 216 mph by Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski, Juan Pablo Montoya, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch.

And while the track and series officials won’t know average speeds until full practice sessions on Thursday, June 14, track speed records are in jeopardy. The current ARCA pole speed at MIS is 189.623 mph, set by Cale Gale in June 2011; the current NASCAR Sprint Cup speed is 194.232 mph, set by Ryan Newman in June 2005.

It’s been really fast and fun, and I’m really excited to come back for the race,” Jared Marks, whose top average speed was 192.518, said. “The track has a lot of grip. Still trying to figure out how hard I can get on the gas, and still trying to use up all the track coming off the corners. Just trying to learn all I can and do the best I can. This is like a home track for me. My home is right down the road from here. (I’m going to) have a lot of friends and family come for the race.”

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