NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie Kyle Larson’s started off the weekend on a high note a Pocono Raceway (PA). Despite never having driven the “Tricky Triangle” before Friday, The Elk Grove, California driver won the pole for Saturday’s ARCA Racing Series 80-lap race. Larson credited much of the success to a teammate in the Turner-Scott Motorsports fleet.
“We didn’t do a whole lot of stuff in practice,” Larson said following qualifying. “Ben Kennedy was here the other day to test the car for us and got it really good.”
Cup newcomers testing the Long Pond waters prior to Sunday has become the norm over the years. Current Cup drivers Casey Mears, Ryan Newman, and Joey Logano have won at the track in ARCA before making their first Pocono start on Sunday.
“The Chip Ganassi racing team wanted me to run this because I’ve never been here before,” said Larson. “The Cup Series is so tough, they want me to be prepared for every track that we go to.”
While any track time is positive, the differences between the ARCA and Cup cars may not equate to much of an advantage overall.
“It’s kind of hard to learn a whole lot because in the Cup car we downshift and in the ARCA car we don’t,” Larson said.
Former Pocono ARCA winner Brennan Poole qualified a close second, but will not be in the seat come Saturday. Regular driver John Wes Townley was at Texas Motor Speedway with his NASCAR Camping World Truck and will be making the trip back to Pennsylvania in time for the race. Townley finished fifth in the Truck race.
Luck wasn’t on the side for the remainder of the Venturini Motorsports fleet. Justin Boston’s car snapped loose and backed into the wall on his qualifying lap. The team currently has intentions to thrash at the damage sustained to the right rear of their Toyota and have it ready for the race. Cody Coughlin went to a backup car prior to qualifying after spinning in turn three and making contact with the wall in his JEGS Toyota. Coughlin qualified in tenth.
Additional drivers with issues included Spencer Gallagher going to a backup and Karl Weber with an engine change.
Justin Allison, Mason Mitchell, and Austin Wayne Self rounded out the top five qualifiers. The only former Pocono winner in the field, Frank Kimmel, qualified sixth. ARCA points leader Grant Enfinger was ninth.
The start of the Pocono ARCA 200 is scheduled for 1:00pm Saturday.
By Aaron Creed
Photo Credit: Speed51.com