Dakoda Armstrong, driver of the No. 22 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge, completed a qualifying lap at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway in 51.346 seconds (186.499 mph) Thursday to earn the Menards Pole Award Presented by Ansell and the first starting spot for Friday's Talladega ARCA 250.
The pole is the first for the 18-year-old Armstrong, who was seventh in line for the qualifying session. His previous best start in ARCA Racing Series competition came earlier this year at Daytona, where he started fourth. Armstrong will receive 15 bonus points in the ARCA Racing Series championship standings for qualifying first.
Armstrong had already proved his superspeedway might earlier in the day by finishing second in the opening practice behind Steve Arpin and the No. 55 Mike's Hard Lemonade Toyota.
Though he acknowledged that a top starting position may not be as important in a long event on a pass-heavy, competitive track like Talladega, Armstrong did not discount the significance of winning the pole.
"It means we have the fastest car," said the Penske Racing developmental driver. "Now it'd just be great if I could lead 94 laps like that."
Mikey Kile rebounded swiftly after changing a motor late in Thursday's practice. Driving the No. 25 Tag Heuer Eyewear Toyota as the 26th car in the session, Kile turned a lap in 51.419 seconds (186.235 mph) to take the second starting spot.
"I'm not worried about the motors," Kile said. "Toyota has built us good engines and we'll have the chance to run up front, so I'm not too worried."
Kile's position on the front row gives him 10 bonus points, meaning third qualifier and current series runner-up Justin Marks (51.513 seconds/185.895 mph) scored just five points for his third position. This leaves Steve Arpin, who led by 10 points after his win at Texas Motor Speedway, as the series points leader.
The Talladega ARCA 250 will take the green flag Friday at 4 p.m. Central, with live broadcast coverage provided by SPEED. More information is available on the Web at ARCARacing.com.
ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards
Starting Grid, Talladega ARCA 250 (4-23-10)
POSNODRIVER/HOMETOWNTIMESPEED 122Dakoda Armstrong/New Castle IN51.346186.499 225Mikey Kile/Westlake LA51.419186.235 332Justin Marks/Rocklin CA51.513185.895 431Tim George Jr./New York NY51.514185.891 555Steve Arpin/Fort Frances Ontario51.537185.808 677Tom Hessert/Cherry Hill NJ51.625185.492 751James Buescher/Plano TX51.668185.337 809Grant Enfinger/Fairhope AL51.696185.237 930Terry Jones/McGregor Ontario51.721185.147 1035Hal Martin/Galliano LA51.732185.108 1115Alli Owens/Daytona Beach FL51.764184.993 1266Mark Thompson/Cartersville GA51.807184.840 135Bobby Gerhart/Lebanon PA51.840184.722 144Ricky Carmichael/Tallahassee FL51.877184.590 1560Patrick Sheltra/Indiantown FL51.918184.445 1616Joey Coulter/Miami Springs FL51.920184.438 171Chad McCumbee/Supply NC51.962184.289 186Brandon McReynolds/Mooresville NC51.986184.203 1975Benny Chastain/Tallahassee FL51.992184.182 2011Bryan Silas/Stuart FL52.023184.072 2136Robb Brent/Shelby Township MI52.094183.822 2281Craig Goess/Greenville NC52.340182.958 2344Frank Kimmel/Clarksville IN52.384182.804 2452Bill Baird/Sturgis KY52.412182.706 2582Sean Corr/Goshen NY52.497182.410 2643Kyle Martel/Lebanon PA52.554182.213 2738Alex Kennedy/Aztec NM52.715181.656 2842Scott Stenzel/Orlando FL52.848181.199 2914Chase Mattioli/Long Pond PA52.928180.925 3076Jerick Johnson/Faribault MN53.090180.373 3159Nick Igdalsky/Long Pond PA53.600178.657 3248James Hylton/Inman SC53.712178.284 3323Mark Gibson/Winder GAProvisional 3434Darrell Basham/Henryville INProvisional 3528Brent Cross/Cortland NYProvisional 3626Brad Smith/Shelby Township MIProvisional 3706Wayne Peterson/Pulaski TNProvisional 3810Marc Easton/Lake Saranac NYProvisional 3968Larry Meadors/Louisville KYProvisional 400Rob Jones/Bowie MDProvisional 4158Chad Hackenbracht/New Philadelphia OHProvisional 4294Jason Basham/Henryville INProvisional