Poole Takes Pocono Pole
June 10, 2011 | 4:15 P.M. EST
Brennan Poole captured the pole in only his second career ARCA start. (ARCA Racing Series Photo)
Given Brennan Poole's performance in ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards practice at Pocono Raceway, there was little doubt that he could win the Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell.
When it's realized that Poole is only 20, has just one prior ARCA start - albeit a win at Salem Speedway in May - and had never driven competitively on a long speedway before this weekend, his performance in qualifying first for tomorrow's Pocono ARCA 200 brings additional interest.
Poole steered Venturini Motorsports' No. 25 Lacy Green/Scott Dobrin RE/MAX Toyota to a qualifying lap of 53.807 seconds (167.264 mph), beating second qualifier Ty Dillon by 0.526 second to win his first ARCA pole before just his second career race.
The Menards Pole Award win is the second for Venturini Motorsports in seven days, following Josh Richards' pole at Chicagoland Speedway last Saturday. Poole's speed is the fastest ARCA qualifying speed at Pocono since Kyle Busch set a track record at 170.849 mph in July 2003.
Venturini Motorsports also won the Pocono pole last June with driver Mikey Kile, who finished second in the ensuing race to Craig Goess.
"It's a lot of fun," said Poole, of The Woodlands, Texas. "This is the biggest track I've ever been to, ever made laps on. It's really exciting; this is really fast. The car's been great all weekend. Billy Venturini's given me a great race car. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. We're just going to have to take it one lap at a time. We've got 80 laps, so we'll see how it pans out."
Venturini Motorsports general manager Billy Venturini indicated that Poole's car is new to ARCA competition, saying that the car was only completed at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday - less than 55 hours before the start of practice. Poole led the opening practice with a best lap of 53.989 seconds, nearly one half-second ahead of FrankKimmel, who qualified third.
Though Poole's only ARCA experience was his win on Salem's short track last month, footage of previous races and video game training helped him get up to speed.
"I've watched a ton of video over the last week and I've been playing a lot of Xbox," he said. "I probably ran about 500 laps before I even got here, on the computer. I started doing everything I possibly could before I got here as a driver. It helps out when you have great guys who can give you great cars. It makes your job a lot easier."
Tomorrow will be Dillon's fifth front row start in 10 races, and he'll have the chance to win for the sixth time after a lap of 54.333 seconds (165.645 mph) in the No. 41 Richard Childress Racing Development Chevrolet.
Kimmel (No. 44 Ansell/Menards Ford) will roll off the second row for his 37th ARCA Racing Series start at Pocono, a number which is behind only Pennsylvanian Bobby Gerhart's total at his home track. Gerhart's race will be his 44th of 52 total in Pocono Raceway history.
Chris Buescher and Grant Enfinger will start fourth and fifth, respectively, and Hal Martin, Tim George Jr., Chad Hackenbracht, Gerhart, and Sean Corr will round out the top five rows.
The Pocono ARCA 200 begins at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow. SPEED will air same-day delay television coverage of the race at 8 p.m.