Though Frank Kimmel has started 34 ARCA Racing Series races since his last visit to Victory Lane, he's gone even longer without winning the Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell. This afternoon at Pocono Raceway, the nine-time series champion obliterated one of those droughts in classic fashion.
Kimmel completed his qualifying lap on the 2.5-mile Pocono triangle in just 54.108 seconds (166.334 mph) Friday afternoon to secure the first starting position for tomorrow's Weis Markets 125.
"It was an important pole for us. We hadn't had a pole in a couple years, but the car was running really well in practice and I felt like I had a good opportunity to do it so it was just a matter of me going out, getting up on the wheel, and getting the job done," said the nine-time series champion.
Nearly two years had passed since Kimmel's last pole award, won on August 17, 2008 at the dirt mile track located on the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. Over four years had passed since Kimmel's last superspeedway pole, at Pocono on July 22, 2006.
Kimmel's run in the No. 44 Ansell/Menards Ford extended his lead among ARCA's all-time superspeedway pole winners, as it was his 20th such award. With his 42nd pole award overall, Kimmel moved within one of all-time pole leader Iggy Katona.
"It's just really important that in the past few weeks, our team has shown a steady improvement. Our car's getting better and we seem to be running better and getting better finishes, but in all reality, we haven't been fast enough," Kimmel said. "Qualifying's never been my strong suit, but to come out and qualify well shows that our cars are getting better and we'll keep running as hard as we can."
Kimmel currently stands third in points, which represents an improvement of exactly eight positions in the last eight races.
Mikey Kile set a blistering pace early and did not look back on his way to earning the second position. Kile, who drove the No. 25 Venturini Motorsports Toyota to the fastest time in practice in the morning, had won the pole for June's Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 200 at Pocono, finished second in that race, and opened the season's second weekend in Pennsylvania with the fastest time in practice. His lap of 54.221 seconds (165.987 mph) has him starting on the front row for the sixth time in 11 races this season.
"Our lap pretty much backed up what we had in practice. I wasn't sure if it was going to hold up with Frank still making a lap, but I'm on the front row and looking for a good race," Kile said.
Following his performance in dominating qualifying, leading 67 laps, and running away from the field at times before ultimately finishing as the runner-up in June, Kile is seen as a threat for tomorrow's event.
"Mikey was extremely fast here in the spring race. He had a lap that I don't think anybody came close to," Kimmel said.
Craig Goess won the June race on the triangular track and will be in a good position to strike again Saturday, as his lap of 54.301 seconds (165.743 mph) in the No. 81 Eddie Sharp Racing Greenville of N.C. Toyota Toyota placed him third on the grid. Goess's lap came just hours after the team changed its engine following the morning practice.
"We didn't really know what we were going to have because we changed the motor, transmission, and rear end. We elected to do that and lose the last half of our practice," said Goess, who is currently second in the ARCA Racing Series standings. "We left a little bit on the table (in qualifying), but it was still a good lap for us. What we did seemed to fix the problem we had the first part of practice."
Brandon McReynolds, the 19-year-old development driver making his third ARCA Racing Series start for Sharp, will join his teammate on the second row after qualifying fourth.
Donny Lia qualified the No. 55 Venturini Motorsports Toyota in the fifth position, and points leader Justin Marks (No. 32 Construct Corps Toyota) will start sixth. Joey Coulter and Sean Corr will start seventh and eighth, respectively, and Tom Hessert and Patrick Sheltra, who share fourth place in the series standings, will occupy the fifth row.
The Weis Markets 125, the 11th race of the 2010 ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards season, begins at 3 p.m. Eastern Saturday, with live television coverage provided by SPEED and live audio and live timing and scoring available on ARCARacing.com.
The ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards features 20 events at 17 tracks on its 2010 schedule. The series has crowned an ARCA national champion each year since its inaugural season in 1953, and has toured over 200 racetracks in 28 states since its inception. The series tests the abilities of drivers and race teams over the most diverse schedule of stock car racing events in the world, annually visiting tracks ranging from 0.4 mile to 2.66 miles in length, on both paved and dirt surfaces as well as left- and right-turn street and road courses.
Official Starting Grid
2010 ARCA Racing Series by RE/MAX and Menards, Event #11
Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, Pa. 7-31-10
Weis Markets 125
POSNODRIVER/HOMETOWNTIMESPEED 144Frank Kimmel/Clarksville IN54.108166.334 225Mikey Kile/Westlake LA54.221165.987 381Craig Goess/Greenville NC54.301165.743 46Brandon McReynolds/Mooresville NC54.322165.679 555Donny Lia/Jericho NY54.395165.456 632Justin Marks/Rocklin CA54.604164.823 716Joey Coulter/Miami Springs FL54.829164.147 882Sean Corr/Goshen NY55.047163.497 977Tom Hessert/Cherry Hill NJ55.079163.402 1060Patrick Sheltra/Indiantown FL55.207163.023 1136Robb Brent/Shelby Township MI55.219162.987 125Bobby Gerhart/Lebanon PA55.314162.707 1322Dakoda Armstrong/New Castle IN55.399162.458 1458Chad Hackenbracht/New Philadelphia OH55.705161.565 1559Will Kimmel/Sellersburg IN55.814161.250 1641Dillon Moltz/Waterford CT55.820161.233 1731Tim George Jr./New York NY56.015160.671 181Chad McCumbee/Supply NC56.160160.256 1943Kyle Martel/Lebanon PA56.206160.125 2011Bryan Silas/Stuart FL56.673158.806 2123Ron Cox/Soddy Daisy TN56.941158.058 2217Chase Mattioli/ong Pond PA57.381156.846 2315Tom Berte/New Berlin WI57.403156.786 2428Steve Fox/Hazelton PA58.208154.618 2533Curt Tori/Wilmington DE58.422154.052 2668Brent Cross/Cortland NY59.159152.132 2714Nick Igdalsky/Long Pond PA59.558151.113 2834Darrell Basham/Henryville IN60.198149.507 2994Jason Basham/Henryville IN60.600148.515 3076Jerick Johnson/Faribault MN60.649148.395 3118Mike Holt/Snow Camp NC62.075144.986 3206Mike Harmon/Birmingport AL62.891143.105 3326Brad Smith/Shelby Township MIProvisional 3448Ricky Byers/Leeds ALProvisional 3510Ed Pompa/Ballston Spa NYProvisional 367Brian Kaltreider/Reading PAProvisional 3775Benny Chastain/Tallahassee FLProvisional 388Rob Jones/Bowie MDProvisional 399Larry Meadors/Louisville KYProvisional 0 Wayne Peterson/Pulaski TN