New England Star Claims ARCA East Pole in Series Debut

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


Pos. # Driver Fast Lap
1 2 Derek Griffith 18.673
2 1 Max McLaughlin 18.736
3 6 Nick Sanchez 18.752
4 18 Ty Gibbs 18.766
5 20 Corey Heim 18.802
6 21 Sam Mayer 18.828
7 43 Daniel Dye 18.894
7 09 Stephen Nasse 18.894
9 74 Giovanni Bromante 18.926
10 25 Mason Diaz 18.944
11 17 Tanner Gray 18.948
12 4 Chase Cabre 19.001
13 30 Tristan Van Wieringen 19.004
13 19 Jesse Love 19.004
15 42 Parker Retzlaff 19.056
16 16 Gio Scelzi 19.157
17 91 Justin Carroll 19.195
18 50 Holley Hollan 19.222
19 80 Brian Finney 19.369
20 99 Gracie Trotter 19.451
21 11 Chuck Hiers 19.669
22 E11 Robert Pawlowski 21.139


-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans

-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo


New England Star Claims ARCA East Pole in Series Debut