Ranger Wins Pole at New Jersey

Andrew Ranger

"We've just had some bad luck with the engine blowing up." (Photo: Getty Images)

Andrew Ranger entered Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell as the bearer of high expectations. He delivered by winning the pole for Sunday's ModSpace 150 at New Jersey Motorsports Park, which will be his first start in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.

Before the green flag, however, Ranger will have to drop to the rear of the field, as his engine expired on his last of three qualifying laps inside an allotted 10-minute period.

Among the five drivers in the first group qualifying session, Ranger (No. 53 Waste Management/RRT Dodge) drove his best lap in 1:21.549 (99.327), topping second qualifier Tom Hessert by 0.553 second. Ranger had finished with the best time in both practice sessions earlier in the day, placing him in a qualifying group consisting of the five fastest cars from the day.

A two-time NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champion from Quebec, Ranger ended Ty Dillon's run of consecutive poles in the ARCA Racing Series. The 19-year-old rookie from Richard Childress Racing had won pole awards at Daytona, Talladega, and Salem to open the season.

"I'm really happy," said Ranger, 24. "We were fast this morning, and qualified the same. The No. 53 Waste Management car has been fast all weekend and we'll see if tomorrow we can do the same."

Ranger has 12 wins in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and two in NASCAR K&N Pro Series competition, but said that he has faced his share of bad luck before, still leaving him encouraged about what is possible in his first ARCA start.

"We've just had some bad luck with the engine blowing up," he said. "It was a pretty good engine in a pretty good car. We've had a couple problems this season where we get some bad luck. It's not a major problem, and it happened in qualifying, so it's better."

Driving through the ARCA Racing Series field, he says, will be a welcome challenge.

"It's going to be tough, but it's a long race. We can use the strategy we want. We need to think about it tonight, but you know, I'm ready. I think we have a good car, and we just need to prove it."

Though the ModSpace 150 will be Ranger's first ARCA start, he previously attempted to race in the series at Daytona in 2008, but suffered mechanical issues.

Tom Hessert (No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet), a native of Cherry Hill, N.J., qualified second for his fourth ARCA start at New Jersey's 2.25-mile Thunderbolt Raceway after hurrying to make the start of his 10-minute session.

"We were in a rush, trying to get through tech, but we buckled and got going," Hessert said. "The car's been really good since we unloaded. That front row starting spot will be really important for tomorrow. The car is really good on long runs, and that's what I'm excited about for tomorrow."

Before today, George Miedecke had never competed in an ARCA car. This season, the 24-year-old from Port Macquarie, New South Wales in Australia drives a late model in the UARA-STARS Series for Marcos Ambrose Motorsport. It was in that series two months ago at Hickory Motor Speedway that Venturini Motorsports general manager Billy Venturini spotted him and tabbed him to drive the No. 25 Toyota, sponsored this weekend by iSeek Communications.

Miedecke qualified third, and will have the chance to advance his starting position with Ranger dropping from the front of the inside row before tomorrow's green flag.

"I think the idea is to drop the hammer for a few laps and see where we end up, and then we'll start to look after the tires to stay in it for the long haul," Miedecke said. "Our car is capable of running at the front all day. Andrew has a huge amount of green tire speed, but I really feel we have a nice, competitive car on the long run as well. I'd like to think we're going to be there at the end. I certainly know that on the pit stop the guys from Venturini are going to do a great job."

Chris Buescher (No. 17 Roulo Brothers Racing Ford), who is currently fifth in points, qualified fourth. Chad McCumbee (No. 1 ModSpace Ford) will start fifth. Tim George Jr., Frank Kimmel, Dillon, Jason Holehouse, and Alastair Jackson fill out the remainder of the top 10. Dillon leads the points, and Kimmel is third, 100 back.

Matt Merrell, who is currently second in points, will start 11th. Grant Enfinger, who is fourth in points, will start the race 15th.

The ModSpace 150, the fifth race of the 2011 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season, will begin at 1 p.m. (ET).

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