Poole Wears Several Racing Caps at VMS; Had the Helmet Hat on for MIS
Brennan Poole has always been a team player, and wears a lot of different hats for Venturini Motorsports (VMS). Without the resources to drive fulltime on the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards tour in 2013, he's been serving the team as teacher, coach, consultant, spotter, and all of the above. As a reward for his service, the 22-year-old Texan also gets to climb back in the seat occasionally, which is exactly what he did Friday at Michigan Int'l Speedway, his first start of the 2013 season. Poole schooled the field on the two-mile Michigan superspeedway, overcoming a variety of issues, including a couple of bad pit stops that shuffled him back in the order, an engine change that gobbled up most of his practice session, and an arguably dominant Dodge that led 64 of the 100 laps with Ryan Blaney aboard. Poole led the final 12 circuits after a thrilling battle with his teammate Justin Boston in the closing laps, and then held back Blaney for the big win. "I knew he was coming," Poole said. "And I knew we had a good car all day. I didn't know how the changes after that pit stop were going to be, so I just held that thing to the mat, and a few times, kept my eyes closed." Poole adds the Michigan win to his ARCA victories at Elko Speedway, Pocono Raceway, and Salem Speedway in his career-first ARCA start. From here, it's back to the team consultant role for Road America, before he gets to climb back into the driver's seat at events later this year at the Illinois State Fairgrounds and DuQuoin State Fairgrounds dirt miles. Daytona winner John Wes Townley returns to the Venturini Motorsports line-up for this Saturday's (June 22) SCOTT® 160 at Road America alongside VMS teammates Justin Boston, Milka Duno and AJ Henriksen.
Blaney Settles for Second, Again
Ryan Blaney has been as close as one can get to victory lane in ARCA competition, finishing second twice after three career attempts. The third-generation driver dominated the race at Winchester Speedway during his career-first start in 2011, leading 154 of 200 laps before he cut down a right-front tire, ultimately finishing sixth, one lap down. Blaney also established a one-lap track record at Winchester, which still stands at 113.658 mph. In his second ARCA start at Lucas Oil Raceway, also in 2011, Blaney led 67 laps, but had to settle for second to race winner Ty Dillon. However, the Penske Racing driver will get another shot at the ARCA winner's circle next Saturday, June 22 at Road America in the SCOTT® 160. Blaney, who drives for Cunningham Motorsports in ARCA competition, which serves as Penske's driver development team, is also scheduled to compete in the Ansell ActivArmr® 150 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 21.
So Close for Justin Boston, but no Cigar; Road Course School Next
No doubt, Justin Boston was impressive in his Michigan debut. The Baltimore, Maryland rookie driver led 15 laps, and was leading when he lost the air on his No. 25 Venturini Motorsports-ZLOOP Computer & Electronics Recycling Toyota with eventual winner Brennan Poole inches away in hot pursuit. Fortunately, as Boston's car went into a long slide down the Michigan backstretch, he was able to keep it from hitting anything and carried on. After getting new tires on pit road, Boston battled back to a respectable fourth place finish, his third fourth place finish in 2013. "We were bad fast today," Boston said in a television interview shortly after the race. "It's unfortunate we had that mishap in the end; I thought we were going to have a good one today. (With) pit strategy, everything was on point and we were smooth sailing there but Brennan started running us down and I started getting loose off the corners. He drove down under me and I just got loose and lost it. Thankfully, I saved the car and we rebounded to fourth, so I'll take it. We're going to get one soon." From here, it's onto Road America where his next challenge awaits - his stock car road course debut. "I'm going to a road course school Monday; then we have a test on Thursday (at Road America)," he said. "I'm going to be as prepared as I can be."
Kimmel Inches Closer to 10th Series Title; Onto Road America
Nine-time ARCA Racing Series champion Frank Kimmel is inching closer to what could be his 10th series title in 2013. The 78-time series winner - second all-time to Iggy Katona's mark of 79 wins - finished third Friday at Michigan behind youngsters Brennan Poole and Ryan Blaney. "This Ansell / Menards Toyota was really strong all day," Kimmel said. "I don't know what we could have done to improve it, but we needed just a little bit more to run with those kids out front. We could see 'em, but we couldn't quite reach 'em. They must've been wide open at both ends, because I almost was -- I was just breathing (the throttle) a bit in (Turns) one and two -- and it wasn't quite enough." The 51-year-old driver also unofficially increased his point lead to 95 points over Brentwood, Tennessee rookie Mason Mingus, who finished sixth Friday in his Michigan debut. After eight events so far in 2013, Kimmel's worst finish is sixth at Salem. Combining the rest, included two wins this year at Talladega and Elko, his average finish so far on the season is 3.25."We did exactly what we needed to do. All you can do in any race is the best you can with the car you've got that day. It's the mark of a championship team when you do a little bit better than you should. I think we had a fourth- or fifth-place car (Friday) and we finished third with it, so I'm real pleased with that." From here, it's off to Road America for next Saturday's SCOTT® 160. Although Kimmel doesn't consider himself a road course pro, his road course record is respectable by anyone's standards. His career-best road course finish came in his third career road course start on the streets of Des Moines, Iowa in 1994, where he finished second behind Scott Lagasse, Sr. with Jimmy Spencer trailing in third. Kimmel also finished third at Watkins Glen Int'l in 2001. At Heartland Park in Topeka, Kansas, Kimmel finished seventh and ninth in races won by Darrell Waltrip and Ken Schrader. He also earned finishes of fourth, sixth, seventh, ninth and 10th at New Jersey Motorsports Park. In fact, Kimmel's only had one road course finish outside the top-10 - at Palm Beach Int'l Raceway in 2010, where he finished 12th.
Career Days for Several at Michigan; Carter, Graham, Schenkel, Clifton Impressive
Sunfield, Michigan's Roger Carter, in his own No. 97 Kreisenderle.com-Union Bank Dodge, was impressive at Michigan, finishing a career-best eighth on the lead lap. After a very solid start in 2013, Carter has unofficially moved to 10th in national championship points. Lafayette, Louisiana's Buster Graham also earned a career-best finish at Michigan, finishing ninth in the No. 88 Courtesy Ford-MashburnMachine.com Ford. You can also put Kent Schenkel on that career-best finish list. The Huntington, Indiana driver finished a career-best 12th in the No. 7 Schenkel Racing Dodge. Schenkel got an assist from the 2003 SCOTT Rookie of the Year Bill Eversole, who served as Schenkel's crew chief at Michigan. Circleville, Ohio's Rick Clifton, who rebounded from a day-before practice crash that significantly damaged the back-end on his No. 10 Clifton Trucking-BASF Dodge, also finished a career-best 14th. Thomas Praytor, in Wayne Hixson's No. 2 USA Boxing Junior Olympic Championship Ford, finished 10th at Michigan, tying his career-best finish. However, Praytor's run at Michigan did earn the Mobile, Alabama driver his career-best superspeedway finish. Praytor also finished 10th on the Elko Speedway short-track in early June.
Milka Duno on the March
Caracas, Venezuela's Milka Duno, who drives the No. 35 Cantv-Milka Way Toyota for Venturini Motorsports, continues to hold her own on the ARCA Racing Series tour in 2013. Duno finished 11th at Michigan Friday, and as a result, unofficially climbs to seventh in national championship point standings. Shawna Robinson currently holds the title of the highest female point's finisher in ARCA history when she finished sixth in championship points in 2000. Duno earned her career-best finish of eighth earlier this year at Salem Speedway, one of the most challenging tracks on the ARCA Racing Series tour. There's more good news ahead for Duno, who gets to return to her road course roots next weekend at Road America. Duno's previous career-best ARCA finish of 10th came on the New Jersey Motorsports Park road course last year where she finished on the lead lap. Duno is also a veteran of the American LeMans Series and the Rolex Sports Car Series where she's already been a winner.
Onto Road America Next for Inaugural SCOTT® 160 Saturday, June 22
Elliott, Dillon, Blaney, Ranger, Townley Ready to Mix it Up Road Course Style
Seventeen-year-old Chase Elliott just became the youngest stock car superspeedway winner in history with his victory in the Pocono ARCA 200 in early June. Elliott could add yet another feather in his cap by winning the SCOTT® 160 at Road America Saturday, June 22. And if the Dawsonville, Ga. driver does, he would become the youngest ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards road course winner in history. Currently, Casey Roderick is the youngest ARCA road course winner in history after winning at New Jersey Motorsports Park in 2010 at the age of 18. Elliott finished second in his ARCA road course debut at New Jersey last year. Elliott lost the lead on the final lap when road course veteran and NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champion Andrew Ranger, also entered at Road America, passed Elliott on the final circuit.
Dillon Entered at Road America for Ken Schrader Racing
NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series veteran Austin Dillon has now filed an entry in the No. 52 Ken Schrader Racing Chevrolet for Road America. Dillon, the grandson of Richard Childress, is seeking additional road course experience in an effort to be more competitive on road courses in NASCAR. Dillon's younger brother, Ty Dillon, was the 2011 ARCA Racing Series driving champion.
Blaney Entered at Road America for Cunningham Motorsports
Ryan Blaney, son of NASCAR Sprint Cup veteran and World of Outlaws sprint car champion Dave Blaney, has also filed an entry in the No. 22 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge, which is a driver development team for Penske Racing, which Blaney drives for in NASCAR competition. After signing with Penske Racing in July of 2012, Blaney ran seven Nationwide races and 13 Camping World Truck races, celebrating his first Truck Series victory in only his third start at Iowa Speedway, thus becoming the youngest winner in NASCAR Truck Series history.
Diverse Entry List at Road America
Other entrants for the first annual SCOTT® 160 at Road America include nine-time ARCA Racing Series champion and current point leader Frank Kimmel in the No. 44 Ansell-Menards Toyota, and top rookie contender Mason Mingus in the No. 32 811 Call Before you Dig Toyota. Mingus, who just graduated from high school, is currently second in championship points. In just one career road course start at New Jersey in 2012, Mingus finished a respectable eighth in his road course debut, right on the heels of, guess who, Frank Kimmel.
ARCA's Rich Road Course History Continues
The SCOTT® 160 will mark the 17th time the ARCA Racing Series has raced on a road course, reaching back to its inaugural road course appearance at Meadowdale Raceway in 1958. Former ARCA road course winners include Fred Lorenzen, Nelson Stacy, Curtis Turner, Jack Bowsher, Darrell Waltrip, Ken Schrader, Bob Schacht, and Justin Allgaier to name a few.
Rain or Shine, Road America Gets the Green
Rain or shine, the inaugural SCOTT® 160 at Road America for the ARCA Racing Series will go on June 22 alongside the NASCAR Nationwide Series for an action-packed stock car double header. Hoosier Racing Tire is well-prepared with a rain tire should the situation arise. Hoosier has to utilize its rain tire at Palm Beach Int'l Raceway in 2010 where Justin Marks drove to victory lane in a driving rain storm.
Road America Schedule; ARCA Doubles with Nationwide Series
Practice for the SCOTT® 160 is from 3:05-5:30 p.m. Friday, June 21. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell is scheduled to take place Saturday morning at 9:05 a.m. with the SCOTT® 160 to follow at 12:45. The inaugural SCOTT 160 precedes the same-day NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Road America.