Daytona Beach residents are familiar with the roar of engines being heard from Daytona International Speedway, especially this time of the year. On Friday however, it was the loud distinct noise of ARCA Racing Series’ stock cars testing the high banks of the speedway for February’s Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire that could be heard throughout the city.
Wheeling some of those cars were young and up-and-coming drivers with some names that many race fans may find familiar. Names that have made headlines in the motorsports world such as Burton, Parsons and McReynolds all are once again above the drivers’ windows.
But the faces have changed.
Harrison Burton, 18, is the son of 2000 Coke Zero Sugar 400 champion Jeff Burton, and will be making his first start at the “World Center of Racing” in this year’s Lucas Oil 200, driving the No. 20 DEX Imaging Toyota Camry for Venturini Motorsports.
“It’s so awesome,” said Harrison Burton. “I’ve been coming here since I was a little kid watching my dad and watching the cars go by. Now that I’m actually driving here, it’s really surreal. It’s a lifelong dream come true to race at Daytona.”
“There’s so much history here and so much heritage,” said father Jeff Burton. “As a parent, you hope for your kids to do what they love to do, and if you’re a NASCAR guy, this is it. This is the place you want to be. To be here with him his first day at Daytona is pretty special.”
The young Huntersville, N.C. native will also be racing in this year’s NextEra Energy 250 as he starts his first full-time NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series season with Kyle Busch Motorsports in the No. 18 Toyota Tundra after finishing in the top 10 in six of the seven truck series starts he made in 2018.
On the other side of this weekend’s garage is another big name making his first start at Daytona International Speedway; Stefan Parsons, nephew of 1975 DAYTONA 500 Champion Benny Parsons and son of former NASCAR driver and analyst Phil Parsons.
Parsons will drive the No. 77 Chad Bryant Racing Ford Fusion in what will be not only his first Daytona start, but his first ARCA Series start as well.
“This place is a huge part of racing history – NASCAR and ARCA – and my own family history,” said Parsons. “I’m 20 years old and I’ve been coming down here for 19 years now. To be making laps around this place is something special for sure. My dad raced here for 20 years. He told me what to expect and to do what Chad Bryant and everyone at Chad Bryant Racing tell me to do. I’m trying to get everything right for the team.”
Not all of these drivers are unfamiliar with the hallowed grounds of Daytona, however, as Brandon McReynolds will be making a return to the speedway in the No. 35 KBR Development Chevrolet after making his first, and only, ARCA start on the high banks in 2012.
The 27-year-old son of the two-time DAYTONA 500 champion crew chief Larry McReynolds ran out fuel while leading on the last lap in his only Daytona start, but he still knows the feeling of success on a superspeedway, as his only ARCA Series win came in 2012 at Talladega Superspeedway.
In addition, there is another driver testing this weekend who shares the bloodline of NASCAR royalty – 18-year-old Thad Moffitt, grandson of seven-time DAYTONA 500 champion Richard Petty and the great-grandson of inaugural DAYTONA 500 champion Lee Petty.
Moffitt will be piloting the No. 46 Empire Racing Chevrolet in his first start at Daytona International Speedway in February’s ARCA season opener. Friday’s test marked the second time he has driven at DIS, as he also participated in ARCA testing at DIS in 2018.
While all of these drivers have relation to racing legends in one form or another, they will still have to compete against ARCA Series regulars. Defending Lucas Oil 200 champion Michael Self returns to Daytona for his first career full-time season with Venturini Motorsports in the No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota Camry and 2018 Lucas Oil 200 pole winner Natalie Decker will be behind the wheel of the No. 54 DGR-Crosley Racing Toyota Camry.
The ARCA Racing Series teams will be on track again on Saturday, from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m. ARCARacing.com will have live timing and scoring, live chat and track updates throughout the weekend for “ARCA for Me” members. To enjoy all the benefits of being an ARCA For Me member, go to arcaracing.com/login to register.
The Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire is set for Saturday, Feb. 9 and will be televised live on FS1 starting at 4:30 p.m. ET.