Chad Finley Earns Menards Pole Award by Ansell at Rockingham ROCKINGHAM, North Carolina (October 10, 2009)- 17-year-old Chad Finley will start Sunday's ARCA RE/MAX American 200 from the pole position after earning his career first Menards Pole...
Chad Finley Earns Menards Pole Award by Ansell at Rockingham
ROCKINGHAM, North Carolina (October 10, 2009)- 17-year-old Chad Finley will start Sunday's ARCA RE/MAX American 200 from the pole position after earning his career first Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell on Saturday afternoon at Rockingham Speedway. The Brad Keselowski Racing Driver posted a 24.494 second lap around the one-mile oval for a speed of 146. 975 mph.
"Wayne Setterington is a family friend of ours and hooked us up with the Brad Keselowski Racing Team and here we are," said Finley, whose father Jeff is a former ARCA racer himself. "My background is ASA cars, Super Late Models and that's about it right now. I didn't think we had enough to get the pole but this is a pleasant surprise. I finished ninth in an ARCA race at Iowa earlier this year and that is the biggest track I've been too so far other than Rockingham I also raced at Toledo and Berlin, where I finished sixth and third."
The race, which starts at 1 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, will determine 2009 ARCA RE/MAX Series Driving Championship, concluding a season that has been highlighted by a close points battle between Eddie Sharp Racing's Justin Lofton, a second-year veteran of the Series, and rookie Penske Development driver Parker Kligerman, who drives for Cunningham Motorsports. Lofton qualified second in the No. 6 Lofton Cattle Toyota and Kligerman qualified fourth in the No. 77 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge.
Although Lofton's second-place qualifying run allowed him to pick up an additional ten championship points-he heads into Sunday's race leading Kligerman by 25 points--the Westmoreland, California, driver will start Sunday's ARCA RE/MAX American 200 from the rear of the field after making an engine change after qualifying.
"I'm looking at this engine change as a blessing in disguise," said Lofton, whose Eddie Sharp Racing Team has already clinched the 2009 Owner's Championship. "I didn't know before qualifying that we were going to change engines even though the guys on the team knew. They didn't want me to worry about anything other than qualifying during my run. We don't have too much of a plan heading into Sunday's race even though we have had a lot of team meetings during the week. We're just going to go out and do our own thing. If we start worrying about what other people are doing then we are going to start making mistakes. Someone will leave a lug nut loose or I will go out and brush the wall. We are just going to go out and try to win the race."
Lofton needs to finish Sunday's race within four finishing positions of Kligerman in order to clinch the 2009 ARCA RE/MAX Series Driving Championship, provided that Kligerman does not lead laps on Sunday. The ARCA RE/MAX Series awards 225 points to the race winner at the conclusion of each event, with points decreasing in increments of five. A driver can earn an additional five points for leading a lap and an additional five points for leading the most laps.
"At the beginning of the season we didn't think we were going to run for the championship so we just focused on race trim," said Kligerman. "I think it wasn't until the middle of the season that we realized that the 6 [Lofton] was earning a lot of points on us in qualifying so we needed to focus more on that. We showed we can get a pole in the Nationwide Series at Kansas last weekend. This season has been so competitive in ARCA that we have had to up our game and be more competitive than we otherwise would have. Justin and I push each other and that has made both of us better. We came into this race thinking we are going to have to win the pole, lead the most laps and win the race. That's the same thing we did in the ARCA race at Kansas. We are going for our ninth win and that is our main focus for tomorrow. You don't win a championship over a single race you win it over a season and if we come out of here with the Championship that is great but even if we don't win the championship we still had a good season."
Casey Roderick, a development driver for NASCAR veteran Bill Elliott, qualified third in the No. 51 Bill Elliott Racing Dodge in his career-first ARCA RE/MAX Series attempt. Bill Elliott Racing is teaming up with James Finch's Phoenix Racing Team for this weekend's ARCA RE/MAX Series event at Rockingham.
"I'm used to 3/8 mile racetracks and half-mile racetracks," said Roderick. "This is my first race on radials so it's a different feel than on the Hoosier bias ply tires that I am used to running. I'm having fun and learning. We started running late models at the end of last year and I've only run ten late model races this year because we're fighting budget and sponsorship concerns, just like everyone else. We're just focusing on this ARCA race and trying to get the best finish that we can. Bill [Elliott] will be up here tomorrow. He's racing with his son Chase in Pensacola, Florida today. My main goal is not to wreck the car. Tomorrow I have 200 laps and that is a good experience for me to get seat time in these big 3,400 lb cars."
Steve Arpin qualified fifth in the No. 25 MundyRanch.com Chevrolet. Arpin is competing this weekend in the same chassis that has won the last two consecutive ARCA RE/MAX Series races at Rockingham (Sean Caisse in April of 2009 and Joey Logano in 2008). Arpin was followed in qualifying by Dakoda Armstrong (No. 22 Cunningham Motorsports dodge), Chris Buescher (No. 17 Motorcycle Quick Stop-David Ragan Fan Club-Shriners Hospital Ford), Frank Kimmel (No. 44 Ansell-Menards Ford) and Grant Enfinger (No. 83 BeasleyAllen.com Ford).
Tune into ARCA Nation for extended audio coverage of ARCA Championship weekend with a special broadcast from 10 a.m. until 12 Noon on Sunday. The show will feature exclusive content, including driver interviews, and will be broadcast live from the ARCA RE/MAX Series garage area at Rockingham Speedway. Coverage of the American 200, including live audio and live timing and scoring, begins at 12:30 p.m. on Arcanation.com.
The ARCA RE/MAX American 200, the 21st and final race of the 2009 ARCA RE/MAX Series, is scheduled to roll off at 1 p.m. Eastern on Sunday. SPEED will air the race on Sunday at 10 p.m.