DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 15, 2017) – A lot of work has gone into the off-season to prepare for the first race of the 2017 season…and for Cunningham Motorsports (CMS), one of the biggest things on the team’s mind going into the year: to defend the 2016 ARCA Racing Series Championship title. And that starts with Daytona.
The Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 Driven by General Tire will be the first race for 18-year-old Dalton Sargeant and 23-year-old Shane Lee with CMS and both drivers have been looking forward to getting out on the track for some time.
“I know we have a fast car going into Daytona and I think we have a really good chance to win the race,” said Lee. “Working with the guys at Cunningham has been great and so much work has been put into this race; I really think we can take this No. 22 Big Tine Ford Fusion to the top of the leader board and stay there. It would be a great start to the season to come away with a win and it would obviously be a step in the right direction to keep the Series Championship back with Cunningham.”
Crew chief Paul Andrews said he’s excited for the opportunity to work with Lee throughout the year, especially coming into Daytona after the success they had at the test. Lee topped the leader board on day two of the test, winding up with the third fastest overall speed.
“We’re looking for a lot of good things from the race,” said Andrews. “We’ve got to get through qualifying and have a good qualifying position, but I feel like our car has got good speed and Shane was really good in the draft. We’re really excited to see what’s going to happen.”
Teammate Sargeant also gained a positive experience at the January test. The 2016 SCOTT Rookie of the Year got the chance to make his first laps around the 2.5-mile superspeedway with CMS and work alongside crew chief Chad Bryant.
“I’m really starting to enjoy plate racing at these superspeedways,” said Sargeant. “It takes a completely different mindset to be at the end of these races and there’s still a lot of things I’d like to try while drafting, but I’m looking forward to having Chad Bryant help me out. The test proved we have speed, hopefully we come out on top and put the No. 77 Phoenix Construction, Billy Ballew Motorsports Ford Fusion in victory lane.”
Thursday will see the first on-track activity with practice slated from 4-6 p.m. ET. Friday will hold a final practice in the morning with qualifying later in the afternoon. The Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 Driven by General Tire is live on FS1 Saturday, Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. ET.
Be sure to also follow Cunningham Motorsports on Facebook (@CunninghamRace), Twitter (@Cunningham_Race) and Instagram (@CunninghamRace) for information, photos and updates throughout the race week.