Mason Mitchell and his team have another fast race car at Pocono Raceway as shown by their No. 98 sitting atop the leaderboard when the two-hour ARCA Racing Series practice session ended at Pocono Raceway Thursday afternoon. His team put in a lot of hours at the shop this week to make sure the car would be fast right off the hauler.
“I think we left last night about 5 p.m. and rolled into Pocono about 2 a.m.,” said Mitchell.
He also said that the team worked all through the night on Tuesday to ensure that this car would be ready for 125 miles at the 2.5-mile tri-oval coined, “Tricky Triangle,” in Friday’s ModSpace 125.
“It’s one of our nicest cars we’ve ever put on the race track,” said Mitchell. “I can’t thank my guys enough for putting all the hard work in.”
Mitchell’s lap of 53.046 seconds was the fastest of the afternoon, but he said that the team still isn’t completely happy with the car.
“We’re not 100-percent pleased with it,” he said. “We are still working on it. I think we’ll get it there. Just gotta keep plugging away on it.”
Justin Allison in his second Pocono start was second, ARCA’s all-time wins leader Frank Kimmel was third. Former ARCA winner at Pocono Brennan Poole was fourth and Justin Boston was fifth. There were no major incidents or engine changes to report during Thursday’s practice.
Poole Back at Home at Pocono Raceway
Brennan Poole is making his return to the driver’s seat this weekend at a track where he recorded an ARCA Racing Series win in 2012. Poole, who qualified John Wes Townley’s car second at Pocono in June, is back behind the wheel of the No. 66 Venturini Motorsports entry this weekend.
Poole was among one of the fastest cars all day and sat at the top of the speed chart near the end of practice. When teams went out for their mock-qualifying runs, Poole fell to fourth on the chart. As he made his way onto the track for his own mock-qualifying run, the sky opened up and rain fell at a heavy rate as he made his way down the front stretch.
Instead of pushing the limit with the track becoming damp, Poole shut off his car and ended a successful day of practice.
“The car was really good in race runs. Unfortunately, we didn’t make a qualifying run because the rain started coming down. It was crazy out there. I was driving down the frontstretch and it started pouring down rain. I cut the engine off and aborted the mock run.”
Despite not being able to make his mock-qualifying run, Poole was very pleased with his car in race trim and believes that he’ll be in a good position to compete for the win on Friday afternoon.
“We fought a tight condition all day. We kept making small changes all day and got it pretty close. I think we’re going to do a few things to it and I think it’s going to be good for qualifying and the race tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it, especially here. I love Pocono. It’s been really good to me in the past and hopefully I can get it done for ‘The Identical’ movie guys.”
Allison Driving Pocono Like a Short Track
This weekend at Pocono Raceway is the first time Justin Allison is returning to an ARCA racetrack for a second go. In June, Allison led three laps during the Pocono 200 and battled within the top-three before mechanical issues relegated him to a fifth-place finish.
Allison was second on the speed chart at the end of the two-hour ARCA Racing Series practice session on Thursday afternoon. Both of those factors have him excited to take to the track for 125 miles on Friday evening.
“I knew we were going to be good coming back,” said Allison. “I’ve taken to this track faster than any other track I’ve been to.”
Allison’s lap of 53.072 seconds was second only to Mason Mitchell. Allison said the team experimented with something early in the session, but decided that new setup wasn’t working.
“We were trying something and it just really wasn’t working,” he said. “We went back to what we had in the spring and got right back to where we were, if not better.”
Speed51.com was on site at Pocono with live Trackside Now coverage presented by “The Identical,” in theaters September 5, and Venturini Motorsports. To recap the day’s action, click this link: http://speed51.com/trackside-now-arca-racing-series-practice-at-pocono/ 51 will be live again on Friday with Trackside Now coverage of qualifying and the ModSpace 125 main event at Pocono.
– By Brandon Paul and Rob Blount, Speed51.com. Photo credit: Mason Mitchell Motorsports
ARCA Racing Series Practice Results