DAYTONA - John Wes Townley gave Venturini Motorsports what they were looking for, at least for now. Townley, in the No. 15 Zaxby's Toyota, won the Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell for Saturday's 50th running of the Lucas Oil 200 presented by MAVTV American Real at Daytona Int'l Speedway. It was Townley's career-first pole award in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.
Townley circled the 2.5-mile superspeedway in 49.638 seconds, for an average speed of 181.313 mph.
"I'm so excited," Townley said. "It's great for Venturini Motorsports, and certainly great for Zaxby's. Tomorrow's going to be the day that really counts, but it means a lot to be able to come here and get the pole. We just need to come out tomorrow and back it up.
"The car is working very well in the draft too, so I think it'll hold up very well in the race."
Milka Duno, in the No. 35 Cantv-Milka Way Toyota, qualified a career-best second at 180.505 mph, sweeping the front row for Venturini Motorsports.
"This is wonderful," said Duno. "I now have the tools and the right people around me. This is my first race with Venturini Motorsports, and we're going to do a super job together in the race tomorrow."
With Townley on the pole and Duno alongside, the stage is set for what could be a couple of firsts at Daytona. For one, Venturini Motorsports, despite winning 26 ARCA races in four different decades, has never won at Daytona. Secondly, no female driver in ARCA history (61 years) has ever won an ARCA race anywhere.
Eight-time Daytona winner Bobby Gerhart qualified third in his own No. 5 MAVTV American Real Chevrolet, with Joe Gibbs Racing Development driver Darrell Wallace, also in a Venturini Motorsports entry, trailing in fourth. Frenchman Julian Jousse qualified fifth in the David Leiner Racing-Barbarac.fr Toyota.