It is hard to believe that the racing season is almost upon us. The 24hrs at Daytona is now done and we are now looking forward to the ARCA Re/Max Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway this Saturday followed by, of course, the Bud Shootout!
One driver hoping to make the field in the ARCA race is NASCAR Ranting and Raving’s favorite ARCA driver, Ricky Byers.
If you have been a longtime reader of NASCAR RnR you’ll remember that we have been following Ricky’s ups and downs in establishing a season long ride for his Racing For a Cure Program. Ricky is a two-time cancer survivor himself and is looking to raise funds for research so we can find a cure once and for all to this horrible disease. As part of his Racing For a Cure program Ricky will be donating all of his race winnings and proceeds from any souvenir sales to cancer research.
Back in the fall Ricky signed a contract to drive ARCA and possibly move on to drive in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for the newly formed Diversity Motorsports who were on board with what Ricky wanted to do.
In a recent telephone conversation with Ricky he revealed to me that although he has a contract with Diversity Motorsports they will not be racing him at Daytona this weekend and because of that he was forced to find a car so he could participate in ARCA’s mandatory track test during January which would allow him to race at Daytona this weekend.
Andy Hillenburg loaned Ricky one of his ‘de-tuned’ racing school cars so he could meet ARCA’s 15-lap minimum requirement. Ricky was not impressive on the speed charts to say the least because of the ‘de-tuned’ car but he did meet ARCA’s on track requirements and was left with the task of finding a suitable ride for the race.
Enter D A B Construction’s Debra and Bill Bachsmith, NASCAR Chef John Dicks, Cheryl Klinker and the entire T Smith Racing Team. This group of individuals have banded together and pooled their resources to get Ricky a ride so he can enter the race, be competitive, get some precious seat time toward earning his NASCAR license and most importantly attracting possible sponsors.
According to Ricky, he and his organization are always actively seeking out new sponsorship opportunities and that there will be some possible sponsors at Daytona that will be watching Ricky with interest.
Ricky and his group are in the process of purchasing a new car from Mike Harmon and are currently negotiating with Hendrick Motorsports to purchase a race engine – yes that was purchase, not lease – so they can use the car at a later date if need be.
Things are falling into place and it looks like Ricky will be ready for this weekend – he just now needs to make sure he makes it into the show. “Last I looked there were 57 cars on the entry list,” Ricky told me over the phone. “We’re going to need to do it on speed.”
Will he make it into the show? I hope so. Certainly the newly paved track will help him. “All the bumps are gone and it’s as smooth as glass. Man is it going to be fast,” Ricky said in his cancer altered voice. Ricky lost a vocal chord in one of his bouts with the disease.
Problem is the track is going to fast for everyone. “I know it,” Ricky says, “But if we put that car together right we’ll be competitive.”
“And if we do well enough in the ARCA race we might just be allowed to qualify for the Nationwide race the following week,” he adds, “But we to need raise $25,000 more to pay for the motor and tires to do that though.”
Let’s hope that Ricky does well enough this weekend to attract those potential sponsors so he can get that money to participate in the Nationwide race too – if not Ricky still accepts public donations to Race For a Cure.