Chandler Smith rocketed to his second career ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards pole award Saturday afternoon at Salem Speedway. The 15-year-old driver from Jasper, Georgia was the only driver to crack the 16-second mark in qualifying, backing up his track record run at Nashville (TN) just two weeks ago.
”I’m actually happier now than when we did it at Nashville. We worked on race runs during practice and in race trim we’re a lot better than we were at Nashville,” Smith told Speed51.com. “That’s what I was focused on today because at Nashville the first fifty laps we were really good then the rest of the race we just fell off. I think it’s just another big high-banked race track that I love.”
Smith was also fastest in the lone practice session of the weekend. He was very pleased with his Venturini Motorsports Toyota, and feels like he has a strong shot at winning Sunday’s race.
“Venturini Motorsports gave me a really excellent Toyota Camry to work with,” Smith stated. “I feel like we’re where we need to be for tomorrow. We had a really good test and improved on it in the shop, and we came back and it’s reflecting on us. We just gotta get to the end tomorrow. If we’re there at the end, we’ll have a shot at winning.”
JR Motorsports Late Model driver Josh Berry qualified on the outside pole in his ARCA debut for Chad Bryant Racing. The 2017 CARS Tour Late Model Stock Tour champion is liking his chances for tomorrow’s 200-lap affair.
“I feel really good about it. We’ve been getting better with every run in practice,” Berry said. “It’s gonna be a long race, a lot about tire strategy and pit strategy. I feel like those are things that I’ve had a lot of success with running Late Models, so we need to apply all that stuff and have a good, solid day tomorrow. Starting on the front row is good, but our goal is to be in victory lane at the end of 200 laps tomorrow.”
Zane Smith will start third in tomorrow’s race, just two weeks after picking up his first career ARCA win at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville. Former Talladega winner Gus Dean and MDM Racing rookie Chase Purdy rounded out the top five in Saturday’s qualifying.
The Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 at Salem Speedway will be broadcasted live starting at 2:00 p.m.ET on MAVTV and lucasoilracing.tv.
-By Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI)
-Photo credit: Speed51.com