DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.--- Danica Patrick turned the spotlight onto the ARCA Racing Series last weekend by participating in a three-day test at Daytona International Speedway. In the process, the racing world quickly realized the season-opening race, Feb. 6, might be one of the most-diverse in stock car history.
Patrick wound up being one of 10 women -- one-third of the drivers -- testing for the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200. There also were drivers representing five countries.
Patrick, one of the most popular drivers from the Indy Car Series, will start her part-time stock car schedule in ARCA. After Daytona, she will concentrate on selected NASCAR Nationwide Series races.
Other women making laps at the 2.5-mile racetrack included Indy-car's Milka Duno, Alli Owens, Leilani Munter, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Michelle Theriault, Jill George, Ashley Parlett, Angela Cope and Amber Cope .
Duno is from Venezuela; Narain Karthikeyan is from India, Darryl O'Young is from China and Steve Arpin is from Canada.
Brandon McReynolds , son of former crew chief Larry McReynolds , also tested. The Cope sisters are twin nieces to 1990 Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope .
The final session on Sunday featured large packs of cars in traffic. ARCA veteran Patrick Sheltra was the fastest at 183.02 mph.
Patrick led the way for the women with the fourth-quickest lap in the draft, while Munter was seventh-fastest and Cobb was 15th.
WHO GAINS WITH KENTUCKY'S LOSS? The former owners of Kentucky Speedway said they won't pursue any new claims against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp., and that might open the door for the 1.5-mile track to get a date on the Sprint Cup Series calendar.
But for that to happen, an existing track must lose a date.
Jerry Carroll sued NASCAR and ISC, claiming they conspired to keep his track off the Sprint Cup schedule. NASCAR and ISC are owned and controlled by the France family.
The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals didn't agree, and that will allow new track owner Bruton Smith to seek a date for the 2011 season.
PIT STOPS: The Milwaukee Mile wasn't able to find a race promoter for 2010, so NASCAR joined the Indy Car Series in dropping the 107-year-old track from the schedule. ... Marty Reid will move into the play-by-play roll for ESPN and ABC next season for Sprint Cup Series races. Dr. Jerry Punch was re-assigned to pit road duties. Reid will work with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree in the booth.
Reach Don Coble at firstname.lastname@example.org.