KERNERSVILLE, NC – Max Gresham was an interested observer last February when the season-opening Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) race rolled off at Daytona International Speedway.
Just over a year later, Gresham will be more involved at Daytona when he climbs behind the wheel of the No. 9 Made In USA Brand Chevrolet in the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 ARCA classic on Saturday, February 18.
"It's been a year since we were there last year, but I've waited a lifetime for this opportunity," said Gresham, who will be making his first-ever start on the giant 2.5-mile Daytona oval. "Ever since I started driving racecars, I've always dreamed about racing at Daytona. To be down there and racing at Speedweeks in front of everybody is going to be really exciting. Daytona International Speedway is the biggest stage in all of motorsports and to finally be racing there is something I have dreamed about for a long time."
Gresham's inaugural Daytona appearance in the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 will be his 13th career ARCA start. The 18-year-old Griffin, GA native left an immediate impression on the series in 2010 winning the pole at Salem (IN) Speedway in his first career ARCA start. In his third ARCA start later that season, Gresham took his family-owned stock car to victory lane winning the Tim Richmond Memorial at Mansfield (OH) Speedway.
Last year, Gresham wheeled a Venturini Motorsports entry to four top-10 finishes in just seven ARCA starts. Included in his 2011 ARCA highlights were pole positions at both Pocono (PA) Raceway and Kansas Speedway. His best finish was a second at Michigan International Speedway.
In all three cases, it was the first time Gresham had competed at those raceways. Those positive, first-time out experiences in the ARCA Racing Series have Gresham confident he can post a top finish in his Daytona debut as well.
"I have a history of doing pretty well the first time I go to a racetrack," stated Gresham. "I'm hoping that will be the case at Daytona. The biggest thing I may have to contend with will be tandem racing. If it's going to be pack racing, then I think I will have some time to learn and adapt. But if it's tandem-style racing, I'll have to adapt right away because if you don't you crash."
The Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 ARCA Racing Series event will be the first of two events Gresham will compete in during Speedweeks at Daytona this year. Gresham will also pilot the No. 24 Made In USA Chevrolet in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250 on Friday, February 24.
Gresham will wheel a Joe Denette Motorsports prepared entry in both the ARCA and Truck Series Daytona events.
"I'm going to have two very strong vehicles thanks to Joe Denette Motorsports," said Gresham. "They have given me every opportunity to run well at Daytona. As strong as our ARCA car is, I think our Truck will be even better. I'm really looking forward to getting to Daytona and racing the rest of the 2011 season with these guys."