Race Weekend Central

Thomas Annunziata Running Up to 4 ARCA Races

In addition to attempting his ARCA Menards Series debut at Daytona International Speedway, Thomas Annunziata will drive the No. 44 for team owner Jeff McClure in up to four races in 2024, McClure confirmed to Frontstretch.

Annunziata will definitely compete in the races at Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway. While it is not a guarantee, McClure is confident Annunziata will also run both ARCA road course events at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Watkins Glen International.

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Annunziata competes full time in the Trans Am TA2 Series. In his rookie season in 2023, he won the season finale at Circuit of the Americas. In the TA2 series, Annunziata drives for Nick Tucker, who made 14 career ARCA starts himself, as well as Brian Keselowski is his crew chief. Annunziata will return for a second full TA2 season in 2024 in addition to debuting in ARCA.

“He did good down at the test,” McClure told Frontstretch. “I was impressed with him down there. They had him drafting the third-fourth lap that he was on the racetrack. I’m looking forward to it.”

In the ARCA preseason test at Daytona, Annunziata placed 16th on the leaderboard. Because McClure’s entry finished the 2023 season 39th in owner’s points and there could be some DNQs for the ARCA season opener, Annunziata will likely have to qualify for the race on time. McClure is not worried; his equipment is fast.

“I go to win, dude,” he added. “I’ve been close. I damn near won Daytona last year and damn near won Toledo Speedway the race before […] I go for real, dude. Look at my record. My stuff runs.”

In two of the last three races McClure’s team has competed, his driver nearly won the race. In the 2022 season finale race at Toledo, Grant Enfinger led lap 196 of the 200-lap race before he was moved back to a third-place result. In the 2023 Daytona race, Jason White led the field to the white flag before Greg Van Alst passed him in turn 3. White wound up ninth. McClure is confident Annunziata will also contend for the win.

“I certainly don’t expect no less,” he continued. “I’ve been going down there for quite a while. This will be my third year as an owner now, dude. I always want to think it’s my year. I try hard, I have done a lot of work with the wind tunnel and pull-down rig several times. I changed the nose since the test. I’ve put a lot of effort into it. From a small deal, we try really hard.”

McClure will serve as the crew chief for Annunziata in his ARCA starts. No decision has been made on the spotter. Former NASCAR driver TJ Bell is the normal spotter for McClure’s team but Keselowski spotted for Annunziata in the test at Daytona.

NERD Focus, an energy drink company, will sponsor Annunziata. The company also backs Annunziata in TA2.

McClure previously ran his program out of the Fast Track Racing shop, but in October 2023, he moved out, splitting his fleet between a shop next to his house as well as his ARCA Daytona racecar is at Tucker’s race shop.

“I just try to put all my focus on having the best most equipped racecar to go,” McClure stated. “I don’t run them all obviously but when I go, I got a pretty good record of running pretty good.

“I’m serious about it. I go as hard as I can go. I’m not going to over-promise that you’re going to win every time but I say we’re going to be close. We’ll be competitive. Sometimes we’re overachieving but as a small guy running against Joe Gibbs Racing and Venturini Motorsports, I know what I’m up against. I was a crew chief over at Venturini for five-six years. Hell, I was Billy Venturini’s crew chief back when he was driving some too. I know what I’m up against. I’ve been around this whole deal my whole life.”

About the author

Mark Kristl joined Frontstretch at the beginning of the 2019 NASCAR season. He is the site's ARCA Menards Series editor. Kristl is also an Eagle Scout and a proud University of Dayton alum.

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