George Switches To ARCA At Daytona

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Two weeks after driving to a second-place finish in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 GT class of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Tim George Jr. is set to tackle Daytona International Speedway again in this Saturday's ARCA Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200. The Connecticut driver will take the wheel of Eddie Sharp Racing's No. 2 Ruby Tuesday Toyota in the opening round fo the 2009 ARCA RE/MAX Series championship.

George will start 34th in the 43-car field after turning in the 38th fastest of 50 cars attempting to qualify. He ran a lap of 50.774 (177.256 mph) on the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

"I wish I could have given Ruby Tuesday and Eddie Sharp Racing a better number on the board," George said. "We rolled off with a midpack car, but it is what it is. I'm looking forward to the race, because I feel we've got a good drafting car. We were 14th in drafting practice on Thursday, and we're getting more comfortable in traffic and over the bumps."

Other starters with Grand-Am ties include J.R. Fitzpatrick, who will start 42nd in the TRG Motorsports Chevrolet, and KONI Sports Car Challenge regular Chase Mattioli, who will roll off 43rd in the No. 94 Liquid Fence-JoinAPS.com Chevrolet.

This will be George's third RE/MAX Series start. He finished 20th at Talladega Superspeedway - his lone restrictor-place race - and 31st at Nashville Superspeedway; both races came in 2008.

George plans to run for the ARCA championship in 2009 - one year after capturing the Grand-Am Rolex Series MESCO Building Solutions Building for the Future Rookie of the Year award.

It's a big transition, especially in qualifying where stock car drivers get only two laps to put down a qualifying time.

"This is totally different over here," George said. "In the Rolex Series we get 15 minutes to get your money lap, but here you go straight out from pit lane to the speedway. I'm used to going out on the apron, and I made that mistake here, I didn't get up to the banking quick enough and I had to go around on the apron. I think I could have qualified half a second faster.

"In the race, I plan to be patient, and try to avoid the 'big one' - or two, or three. I'd love to finish on the lead lap and come out of here with a solid finish. I made a simple mistake in qualifying. But that's why I'm here - I'm here to learn."

The ARCA Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 is set to start at 4:15 p.m. Saturday (SPEED, live).

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