As the ARCA Menards Series heads to Talladega Superspeedway for the third race of the season, Eric Caudell and CCM Racing are preparing to return to the track for the first time since the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway in February.
Following a 16th-place run in the Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire, Caudell is hoping to improve upon that by earning his third career top-10 finish in this weekend’s General Tire 150.
“Superspeedways are 50/50 getting out undamaged but I am confident going to ‘Dega because we had a good car at Daytona, and almost finished top 10,” said Caudell, who will be competing in the No. 7 Doug Design Ford this weekend. “We came back and immediately began improving the car for Talladega. We are going there to run as hard as we can and try to be in the top 10 at the end.”
Caudell, who is both the owner and the driver for the No. 7 team, has raced at Talladega Superspeedway three previous times in the ARCA Menards Series, with a best finish of 14th in March of 2020.
The No. 7 CCM team is also looking ahead to the remainder of the 2021 season. As in previous years, the team will be running a limited schedule with a tentative plan including both races at Kansas Speedway (May 1st and October 23rd); Elko Speedway (July 10th); Iowa Speedway (July 24); Winchester Speedway (July 31st); Illinois State Fairgrounds (August 22); the Milwaukee Mile (August 29th); DuQuoin State Fairgrounds (September 5th); and Bristol Motor Speedway (September 16th).
“We have improved the program every year and now we are trying to run in the top 10 so we can set our sights on some top 5 finishes,” said Caudell.
Calling the shots on the pit box for the No. 7 team this season will be Jeremy Petty, who has served as crew chief for the team the last two seasons, including earlier this year in Daytona, and has 26 starts of his own as a driver in the ARCA Menards Series.
“Our goal this year is to be cautiously aggressive,” said Petty. “We have a limited inventory of cars, so it doesn’t make sense to put ourselves in a precarious position, so we will have to choose our battles.”
When it comes to Talladega, Petty says one of the main challenges is managing the draft and knowing when to call Caudell in for pit stops.
“We want to try and pit with some of the guys we are racing around,” said Petty. “If we pit with cars that are faster than us, we will lose the draft and our day is hosed. So I will have to be mindful of that as the race progresses.”
The team competed in seven races on the ARCA schedule last season, posting two top 10s, including a career best 8th for Caudell at Winchester Speedway.
The General Tire 200 will run this weekend on Saturday, April 24th at 1:00 PM ET. The race can be viewed on FS1 and Fox Sports Go. Radio coverage will also be provided by the Motor Racing Network.