After seven races in seven weeks, the Justin Boston and the No. 25 ZLOOP/JACO Environmental Toyota Camry – as well as the entire ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards – returns to action after a welcomed weekend off with one of the series’ most tradition-laden events, the Federated Auto Parts Fall Classic at Salem Speedway. Boston enters with momentum on his side, scoring a victory in the series’ last short track event at Madison and backing it up the following weekend with a runner-up finish on the mile-dirt at DuQuoin.
It is the 96th time the ARCA Series has competed at Salem, but unlike when the series was there in the spring, there’s a new twist: crumbling pavement in turns three and four necessitated a repave of that end of the speedway. So drivers and teams will be faced with pavement laid in 1977 in turns one and two, and pavement laid six weeks ago in turns three and four. The new pavement presents a challenge for all, yet it’s a challenge Justin Boston and the No. 25 ZLOOP/JACO Environmental Toyota team welcome.
What is the biggest challenge going to be with the new pavement in turns three and four? “We didn’t test so we don’t quite no what to expect with the new pavement. But every time we’ve been there in the past we’ve been really fast, so we’re not that worried about it. We’re going to take what we know works there, and we’ll adjust to it as needed with the pavement throughout the day. It’s going to be interesting because one of the track will have no grip and the other end will have a ton of grip. I think we’re going to be okay, I know Billy (Venturini) and the guys will give me a fast car. We just need a little luck to go our way and we’ll fine.”
You’ve always been fast at Salem, but never have had a lot of luck there. Does that mean you look forward to going to Salem, or is it a track you go to with some apprehension? “We totally look forward to Salem. It’s always a great race and we run really well there. We’ve had a couple of poles there but it seems like we have rotten luck in the race. So what we’re going to try to do is qualify second and win the race. We’ll gladly give up the pole if it means we get some good luck later in the night.”
How will the pavement change the racing at Salem? “I think it’s going to make the racing better. In the past the only way you could pass was by getting a run out of turn two and then clearing into turn three. I think you’ll see people turning down off turn four and getting a run and being able to clear into turn one too. I think you’ll see the same kind of Salem race you’re used to though, people driving hard and getting in to each other. There’ll be some torn up stuff at the end of the night, and it’s our job to stay out of it all.”
Justin Boston career stats at Salem: Justin has three previous career starts at Salem, and he’s started from the Menards Pole in all three. He has one top-ten finish, a ninth-place in April, 2013 and he’s led 78 laps. He has completed 414 of 605 possible competition laps (68.4%).
Salem Schedule: Practice, 12:30-1:15; 1:45-2:30; Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell, 4:00; Federated Auto Parts Fall Classic, 7:00 (all on-track activity broadcast live on the ARCA Racing Network on ARCARacing.com)
– Charles Krall Racing Communications Release
Photo Credit: Speed51.com