Ty Dillon Wins Second Career Menards Pole Award
(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - February 11, 2011) - Ty Dillon set the standard early, and made it stick. Dillon, an 18-year-old ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards rookie, drove a qualifying lap in 48.509 seconds (185.533 mph) to win the Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell for Saturday's Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona International Speedway.
Dillon was the 10th of 47 drivers to attempt a qualifying lap, and his time is the fastest ARCA qualifying lap at Daytona since February 11, 2001, when Kirk Shelmerdine qualified for the pole at 187.352 mph.
The Menards Pole Award is Dillon's second in four career ARCA starts; his first came in his series debut at Iowa Speedway last July.
"It was really special to me. I've been coming here for a long time since I was a little kid to see my grandfather, watching races, watching qualifying, and this being my first time at a superspeedway and to have this car get the pole is really special to me," Dillon said. "I'm glad we could do it with UNOH."
Dillon - a grandson of legendary NASCAR team owner Richard Childress - will aim for his third consecutive victory in the series in tomorrow's race after winning the final two races of last season, at Kansas and Rockingham.
"Our team has definitely worked hard enough so that we have one of the best cars in the garage," he said. "I believe we can definitely win this race tomorrow. I just have to be patient; we have the car to do it."
Despite a schedule that has had him traveling back and forth from Daytona Beach to Volusia Speedway Park - just over 20 miles away - for nightly dirt modified racing this week, Dillon mentioned that he finds the action enriching.
"I think it just helps me with my experience, getting as much seat time as possible," he said. "It's been hard every night getting back to the hotel at 1 in the morning and getting up at 6 to come here to be with the guys, but I love racing. I wouldn't want to be doing anything else."
Starting next to Dillon's No. 41 University of Northwestern Ohio/Richard Childress Racing Development Chevrolet on the front row will be Kyle Fowler, a fellow 18-year-old.
Fowler drove the No. 15 Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet into the second position with a lap of 48.65 seconds (184.995 mph).
"Venturini definitely has an awesome piece there with the 15 car, and I'm just the lucky guy that gets to hold the steering wheel," Fowler said.
Fowler has made just five prior starts in the ARCA Racing Series, but none on a track larger than a mile-and-a-half.
"It was absolutely incredible to make those first few laps around here," he said. "Heck, I got goosebumps just walking on the premises. It's every driver's dream to race here. It's racing's biggest stage, and I just want to be there at the end."
Steve Arpin, a teammate to Fowler at Venturini Motorsports, will start third after a lap of 48.762 seconds (184.57 mph). Matt Merrell, making his first ARCA Racing Series start since 2009, will start fourth in the No. 32 Red Line Oil Toyota for Win-Tron Racing.
"We were really focused (in practice) yesterday on qualifying stuff," said Arpin, who led the series with three victories last year. "It's really hard at Daytona, because you've got to try to qualify the best you can because track position's really important, but at the same time you've got to make the car drive as good as it can.
"We tried to find that happy medium and balance the car the best we could. The best thing I'm excited about is that our car drives awesome in the draft and that's all that's important - to get that trophy at the end of the day tomorrow."
Six-time Daytona ARCA winner Bobby Gerhart will start fifth. Practice leader Hal Martin, motocross superstar Ricky Carmichael, Mark Thompson, Tim George Jr., and Tom Hessert will fill out the rest of the first five rows.
Milka Duno will start 23rd. Nine-time ARCA Racing Series champion Frank Kimmel will roll off 26th for his 20th ARCA Racing Series start at Daytona.
The 80-lap, 200-mile Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 airs live on SPEED at 4:30 p.m. Eastern tomorrow, with live timing and scoring and live audio presented by ARCA Nation and News 1150 WNDB at ARCARacing.com. Bobby Gerhart (No. 5 Lucas Oil Slick Mist Chevrolet) is the defending and all-time leading winner at the track, with wins in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2010. Gerhart also won four consecutive poles between 2003 and 2006. The race is scheduled as the first of 19 this season.
The ARCA Racing Series will host a final, 45-minute practice at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Live timing and scoring will be presented by ARCA Nation at ARCARacing.com.