Dillon Still Perfect in Qualifying
April 30, 2011 | 5:01 P.M. EST
Ty Dillon captured the Menards Pole Award for the third time in 2011. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
The winner of the Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell at every race earns an extra 15 points in the standings, and that's a fact not lost on ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards rookie Ty Dillon.
Dillon (No. 41 UNOH Chevrolet) captured the Menards Pole Award for the third time in this season's three races, driving a qualifying lap around the 0.555-mile Salem Speedway in 17.509 seconds (114.113 mph). Dillon edged newcomer Brennan Poole, who drove the No. 55 Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet to second with a lap of 17.58 seconds (113.652 mph).
Dillon will start first in Sunday's Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200, marking his fourth time rolling out of the top position in only six career starts. He is the first driver to win the first three poles in a season since Bill Venturini won poles at Daytona, Atlanta, and Talladega to start the 1987 season.
"Our car's been awesome," Dillon said. "We unloaded, and I hadn't run the track. In practice I ran a lot of laps. We got the car the way I wanted it. I thought we weren't going to qualify on the pole. We were a little too loose, but that just says how fast our race car is. I'm really proud of Flash (crew chief Scott Naset) and all the guys on our UNOH Chevy. Hopefully, it'll carry over to tomorrow and we can win the race."
To date this season, he has earned the maximum of 45 bonus points. The ARCA Racing Series awards qualifying bonus points on a 15-10-5 basis for the top three positions.
"That's one of the main things we started out saying this year. If we're going to win the championship, there's 285 points to go out there and get from poles. We're doing great so far and we'll keep going after them."
The 20-year-old Poole, the current UARA-STARS Series points leader, will start outside Dillon on the front row in his ARCA Racing Series debut.
"It went pretty well," Poole said. "I'm pretty happy. The car's driving pretty good. The track, after sitting there for a while, was slick. I drove off into (Turn) 1 pretty hard and carried just a little too much speed, which hurt us a little. We're starting up front, so hopefully that'll give us a better chance to stay out of trouble all day and we'll be able to be up there toward the front."
Poole appreciated the opportunity to make his ARCA debut with a mainstay in the series, Venturini Motorsports.
"I just want to thank Venturini Motorsports for giving me the opportunity to drive one of their cars. It's awesome. It's a lot of fun when you get in good equipment. It makes your job as a driver a lot easier.
Chad McCumbee (No. 1 ModSpace Ford), a pole winner at Salem in his rookie season of 2005, will start third.
"It's a lot better than I was thinking after practice," McCumbee said with a smile. "We messed with a bunch of stuff after practice and got the car driving a lot better, but still, we didn't know where we were at with our ModSpace Ford. We were really scratching our heads, and we were frustrated. There was something happening that we just couldn't put our finger on. We talked about it for a while and made a few fairly significant changes for qualifying. I feel very confident now that we found what we were fighting. I'm real pleased with that. That five points for the bonus will help us make up what we lost in Talladega."
McCumbee expressed surprise at his starting position.
"I would have never thought we'd be within a tenth of the pole, and then when you are within a tenth of the pole, you think, ‘Where could we have gotten something else at?' But we know where we can be better and we made a lot of gains today. This was the first time working with Wayne Carroll and the new guys here at ABR and it was a pleasure to work with them. We're going to have some good stuff this year."
Dakoda Armstrong, last September's winner at Salem, qualified fourth in the No. 22 Cunningham Motorspsorts Dodge. Chris Buescher (No. 17 ApplianceZone.com/Jasper Engines & Transmissions Ford) qualified fifth, just one day after making his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut in a surprise start at Richmond International Raceway in Virginia.
Tom Hessert and Frank Kimmel, the top two drivers in practice, will start sixth and seventh. Max Gresham, Chad Hackenbracht, and Brett Hudson will fill out the first five rows in tomorrow's race.
The 200-lap, 111-mile Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 takes place at 2 p.m. tomorrow.