For having no chance to drive his ARCA Menards Series entry before testing Sunday, Derek Griffith is making his debut in style. Griffith will start on the pole for the 175-lap season opener for the series at New Smyrna Speedway (FL).
Griffith circled the Florida half-mile in 18.673 seconds during his qualifying lap, putting him on the pole ahead of Max McLaughlin. The Hudson, New Hampshire native is doing so in a car he hadn’t laid eyes on before yesterday.
“I had never even seen it. I didn’t know what it looked like, I didn’t know what number it was, anything,” Griffith told Speed51. “It’s hooked up. For me, this is a little bit mind-boggling. I can’t believe, my first time in an ARCA Menards East car, I’m on the pole at New Smyrna.”
Nick Sanchez qualified third, with Ty Gibbs and Corey Heim rounding out the top five.
While those drivers will be starting up front, others faced calamity during the single-car qualifying session.
Willie Mullins suffered a broken axle before he could turn a lap in the qualifying session, while Gio Scelzi discovered a leak in the rear-end of his entry after a poor qualifying effort.
“It doesn’t really start there. I did a bad job qualifying, and now we start in the back. We’re not racing for points, so it’s not the end of the world.
“We can’t go backwards so, there’s that.”
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ARCA Menards Series East Qualifying Results
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-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor - Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo