Pocono: Practice notes, quotes

Making their first trip to the tricky triangular Pocono Raceway Friday, the ARCA RE/MAX Series held their first and only practice session of the day leading up to ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon. Friday's lone...

Making their first trip to the tricky triangular Pocono Raceway Friday, the ARCA RE/MAX Series held their first and only practice session of the day leading up to ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon. Friday's lone practice session was held under warm and sunny conditions. Following qualifying, the anticipated 41-car field will be impounded in preparation for Saturday's race. The green flag will waive Saturday, June 9, 2007 shortly after 1:00pm with same-day taped delay television coverage on SPEED beginning at 8:00 Local Time.

Here is what some of the drivers are saying from the practice session.

DEXTER BEAN, NO. 6 FIVE STAR TELECOM CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO

Dexter Bean, a sophomore driver on the ARCA RE/MAX Series tour posted the seventh fastest time of the day with a quick lap of 55.409 seconds at 162.428 MPH.

The Westby Wisconsin native enters Pocono with four top-10 finishes in the last seven races which have propelled the 20-year old to fourth in the championship standings entering his third Pocono start.

Last season, Bean led three laps around the 2.5-mile Speedway before an engine failure sent the team to the garage early. Vowing to rebound the team returned in July with a vengeance. After qualifying inside the top-10, Bean thundered to the front of field to post a fourth place finish. At that time, it was a career-best finish for Bean.

Entering the 10th race of the season, Bean trails third place Bobby Gerhart competitor by 70 points. He trails second place runner Justin Allgaier by 85 points and 190 points from first, held by eight-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel.

The BlackJack Racing team brought the same Chevrolet Monte Carlo the team competed with last season at Pocono Raceway. It is also the same automobile that Bean has competed with at Nashville Superspeedway, Kansas Speedway, Kentucky Speedway and most recently last Saturday night at Iowa Speedway. Bean has collected two top-10 efforts this season with this same automobile with ninth and 10th respectively at Nashville and Kansas.

Bean drew the second position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.

"The car is real good. We are better than we were last year and I'm happy about that. The BlackJack Racing crew did a good job setting the car up. We're going to make a few minor adjustments and hope we get a good starting spot for tomorrow. I'm in love with this place; I hope we can get a good finish out it again."

DOMINICK CASOLA, NO. 1 A. CASOLA FARMS FORD FUSION

Casola in his inaugural year on the ARS tour will make his first career start at Pocono Raceway on Saturday afternoon. The New Jersey native is driving for veteran car owner Andy Belmont, who has produced strong runs at the 2.5-mile track in recent years.

Casola enters the 10th race of the 2007 ARS season on the heels of three straight top-20 finishes with a 18th place finish at Toledo Speedway then notching a career best 16th last month at Kentucky Speedway. Last weekend, Casola matched his career-best with also a 16th place effort at Iowa Speedway.

The former USAR (United Speed Alliance Racing) Series competitor looks to net his first top-10 effort tomorrow afternoon.

The team is carrying sponsorship from A. Casola Farms, a family-owned business based out of New Jersey.

In practice today, Casola turned a time of 58.442 seconds at 153.999 MPH putting him 27th on the practice rundown overall.

Casola drew the 20th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.

"I took it easy during practice. Once again the Andy Belmont Racing team has given me a great racecar. This place is definitely different. We have some horsepower; it's just going to take me getting a little more comfortable around the track. We'll tweak a few things and hope for a good starting spot. I think we'll have a good run tomorrow."

MIKE HARMON, NO. 38 EVOSHIELD CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS

Harmon, a veteran on the ARCA RE/MAX Series tour enters Pocono looking to make his 81st career start at a track where Harmon enjoys.

The Birmingport, Alabama native looks to better his previous Pocono finishes from 2006 when he brought his No. 38 Chevrolet home in the 31st and 40th places respectively last season.

His effort this weekend is being sponsored by Evoshield. Evoshield (formally All Sports Amour) was established in 2000. The initial team was comprised of a chemist, a cardiologist, and a group of intelligent former collegiate and professional athletes with a mutually unconventional idea; comfortable sports equipment.

In practice today, he posted the 29th fastest time with a time of 59.195 seconds at 152.040 MPH.

Harmon drew the 28th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.

"We're okay. We need to pick it up a little bit. You can have a lot of fun at this place if your car is handling right. We'll make some more changes and see what we can drum up."

PHILLIP MCGILTON, NO. 47 SIPERFORMANCE FORD FUSION

On the heels of a career-best fourth place run last Saturday night at Iowa Speedway, ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Phillip McGilton looks to make it two back-to-back top-five finishes by bolting his No. 47 SIPerformance Ford Fusion to another career best on Saturday.

Jolting to fifth in championship points, McGilton and new crew chief Danny Gill hope to find some magic that could send the Brewco Motorsports team to victory lane for two years in-a-row.The Marion, Illinois native bolted around the Long Pond, Pennsylvania based track in a time of 56.461 seconds amounting to a speed of 159.402 MPH, locking him 15th on the charts.

McGilton drew the sixth position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.

"I really wished we would have come and tested here. We're not horrible, but we're not great either. We're a little tight. This place definitely presents some challenges to rookies. My Brewco Motorsports team is working hard to put a good qualifying setup underneath our SIPerformance Ford. We hope to keep our top-three qualifying streak alive this afternoon. Once we're in the show we can turn all of our attention towards the race tomorrow."

JOHNNY SAUTER, NO. 32 RED LINE OIL DODGE CHARGER

NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver Johnny Sauter will make his Pocono ARCA debut Saturday behind the wheel of the No. 32 Country Joe Racing entry.

Sauter, a successful racecar driver who has competed in all three of NASCAR's ranks will utilize the Pocono 200 as a test session for Sunday's NNC Series Pocono 500, when Sauter will climb behind the wheel of his No. 70 Yellow Transportation Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS for Haas/CNC Racing.

The duo looks to send CJR into victory lane for the second time this season. In the second race of the season at USA International Speedway, James Buescher took the reins of the No. 32 and maneuvered himself through a competitive field to give the team at least one win in the last three ARCA seasons (Joey Miller, 2005, Blake Bjorklund, 2006 and James Buescher 2007).

In practice today, Sauter clocked off the ninth fastest effort with a time of 55.668 seconds equaling a speed of 161.673 MPH.

Sauter drew the 12th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.

"We're alright. The car was battling a tight condition for most of the session. I'm not worried, the guys are going to make some changes and we're going to qualify inside the top-10."

ART SEEGER, NO. 48 RANCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS

In a 11th hour deal, Art Seeger will attempt to make his third start at Pocono Raceway Saturday. Hoisting the No. 48 proudly carried by James Hylton for a number of years in ARCA competition, the New Jersey native looks to put on a good show in the 10th ARS event of the season.

Teamed with Mike Harmon for guidance and support, Seeger maneuvered the 39th fastest lap with a time of 65.647 seconds at 137.097 MPH.

S.R. Industries, R&R Construction, R&S Sewer Contractors, Jim Potts Excavating, Chris Petnuzzeuui Construction, J.R. Lentile, Inc., Triple T Canoe, Cosmos Auto Recycling, Bill's Produce, Patriot Excavating and Yankowski Enterprises have all stepped up to sponsor Seeger for his expected eighth ARS race of his career.

Seeger drew the 14th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.

"We need to pick it up a lot. We didn't get all the track time that we wanted out there during practice. The good news is that a bunch of us between my team and Mike Harmon's group and see if we can put an ideal setup for qualifying"

PATRICK SHELTRA, NO. 60 FLORAGANICS-BRADY RANCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS

ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie Patrick Sheltra will make his 12th ARCA RMS start on Saturday night driving for Premier Motorsports, owned by businessman Dan Kinney.

Rolling into Pocono, Sheltra sits ninth in the championship standings in nine races of a possible 10 races this season, while also collecting a career best top-10 finish at Kentucky Speedway last month.

Sheltra, nicknamed "Mr. Showtime" will make his second start at Pocono Raceway on Saturday. Last year, Sheltra drove for long-time ARCA competitor Ken Schrader and appeared to be heading towards a career-best finish before a late race incident knocked him from competition.

Sheltra finished 20th last Saturday night at Iowa Speedway in his inaugural debut at the Newton, Iowa-Rusty Wallace built facility.

His team manager is John Hayden, a former ARCA RE/MAX Series driver.

In practice, the Florida native maneuvered a time of 57.307 seconds equaling a speed of 157.049 MPH positioning himself 21st on the charts.

Sheltra drew the fourth position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.

"We're not bad. We're going to make some changes in hopes of putting our No. 60 Chevrolet Monte Carlo upfront in qualifying an the race tomorrow. We need to have a good run on Saturday. If we can get score a top-10 tomorrow it will be refreshing for this entire team."

BRYAN SILAS, NO. 11 NORTRAX, SHELL ROTELLA T, HOLLAND PUMP,

PALM BEACH GRADING (PBG) FORD FUSION Bryan Silas fresh off another solid finish last Saturday night at Iowa Speedway, the Rookie-of-the-Candidate is deeply searching for his third straight top-20 finish in a row.

Silas will make his Pocono Raceway debut on Saturday and the team is more worried practice, practice and more practice for their rookie driver to prepare him for the second trip to the speedway set for August.

Driving for two-time ARS champion Andy Hillenburg, the team sits 10th in the championship standings heading into the 10th race of the 2007 season.Silas, a native of Stuart, Florida posted the 12th fastest time with an effort of 55.930 seconds equaling a speed of 160.915 MPH.

Silas drew the 24th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.

"The car is really good. We're picking up where we left off from last weekend. I cannot thank the Fast Track Racing guys for all of their support and hard work. I'm really excited about qualifying and tomorrow's race. We've switched from a Chevrolet Monte Carlo to a Ford Fusion this weekend and I'm happy with that change."

BILLY TANNER, NO. 07 CHEAPCARIBBEAN.COM CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO

After a rough weekend at Iowa Speedway last Saturday night, Billy Tanner and his Stott Classic Racing team hope to put themselves back on the ARCA map with a solid showing on Saturday afternoon.

Billy Tanner looks to re-build on his momentum from Kentucky Speedway and Toledo Speedway (two top-20 finishes) and reward his Stott Classic Racing (SCR) with a career-finish Saturday. Tanner has four previous starts in the ARS at Daytona International Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Toledo Speedway and Iowa Speedway. CheapCaribbean.com will sponsor the team's efforts for the 10th race of the 2007 season.

Tanner, a promising driver from Newtown, Pennsylvania will make several starts for Stott Classic Racing (SCR) this season. Following Pocono, the team will also attempt Michigan International Speedway before taking a few weeks break from competition to catch-up.

During the only practice today, Tanner clicked off the 25th fastest lap with a time seconds equaling a speed of MPH.

Tanner drew the 26th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.

"We held a lot back. We have a lot more. I took it kind of easy. I didn't want to wreck the car. I can tell you I like this place a lot better than Iowa. Corrie (Stott, crew chief and owner) is going to make some strong changes and I really think we're going to be okay."

The Pocono 200 (80 laps/200 miles) is the 10th of 23 events on the 2007 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule. ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying is slated for later in the afternoon at 1:45pm Local Time. The event will take the green flag on Saturday at 1:00pm Local Time. The race will be taped-delayed and aired on SPEED at 8:00pm Local Time. Additional race coverage is available online at arcaracing.com

-credit: Chris Knight

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Ken Schrader , Frank Kimmel , Andy Belmont , Andy Hillenburg , Mike Harmon , Johnny Sauter , John Hayden , Joey Miller , Bryan Silas , Blake Bjorklund , Dexter Bean , Billy Tanner , Patrick Sheltra , James Buescher