Poole Cruises To Pocono ARCA Pole
LONG POND, Pa. – For nearly a decade, the ARCA Racing Series qualifying record stood without a true challenge at Pocono Raceway.
New pavement on the 2.5-mile surface, though, ended that run this afternoon.
Brennan Poole, who also earned the Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell in his first and only other Pocono attempt last June, drove a qualifying lap in 51.857 seconds, or 173.554 mph, shattering Kyle Busch’s 2003 speed of 170.849 mph over the 2.5-mile triangle.
Poole’s time also topped the current NASCAR qualifying record at Pocono, set by Kasey Kahne at 172.533 mph in 2004. He will start first in tomorrow’s Pocono ARCA 200.
“My car’s just strong,” Poole said. “We had a good lap and everything went right. We hit our marks. It was a lot faster than I thought it was going to be, but it was a lot of fun – sideways through the tunnel (second) turn, and I was holding my breath there. It was a blast.”
Kevin Swindell, Poole’s Venturini Motorsports teammate and the three-time defending champion of the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, will start second in one of his eight starts in 2012.
Chad Hackenbracht, who had been the only driver to make laps at Pocono in an ARCA car through a private Hoosier tire test, will roll off third.
Poole is a man with momentum after winning last weekend at Elko Speedway in Minnesota to take back the series points lead, and momentum through Pocono’s sharp turns was what he said put him at the top of the speed chart.
“Having the tapered spacer, a lot of your speed has to do with momentum. When you have that clean air and you’re out front, you don’t have to work in and out of traffic and you can keep your momentum up. You don’t have to race other people as much. Sitting on the pole tomorrow, I hope we can stay out front and keep the clean air.”
Matt Lofton will start fourth in a backup car after crashing early in practice, just ahead of three-time Pocono winner Frank Kimmel. Ryan Reed, Alex Bowman, Jared Marks, Chris Buescher and Nelson Canache will fill the remainder of the first five rows.