Making their second 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 second 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 very 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, August 4, 2007 shortly after 1:00pm with live coverage on SPEED.
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 fifth fastest time of the day with a quick lap of 55.219 seconds at 162.987 MPH.
The Westby Wisconsin native returns to Pocono Raceway with unfinished business after settling for second in June. Bean led the most laps in the Pocono 200 before settling for the runner-up position for the second time this season.
Bean also is shooting for his third top-five finish at the 2.5-mile triangle. In his first full year of competition last season, Bean stormed into the spotlight netting a then career-best finish of fourth.
Entering the 14th race of the season, Bean trails third place Bobby Gerhart competitor by 60 points. He trails second place runner Michael McDowell by 100 points and is 245 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 in June hoping to add their names to the first time winners this season. It is also the same automobile that Bean has competed with at Nashville Superspeedway, Kansas Speedway, Kentucky Speedway (May) and Iowa Speedway.
Bean has collected one top-fives and three top-10 efforts this season with this same automobile with second at Pocono followed by a ninth and 10th respectively at Nashville and Kansas.
Bean drew the 11th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"The car is really good. We didn't make a qualifying run. We unloaded really strong off the truck, but we faced an issue with water pushing out of the overflow. The motor was showing good temperatures so it wasn't overheating, so the guys are working hard to change a couple things hoping to fix that problem. I'm really excited about the race; I just hope we can get this overflow problem taken care of."
DOMINICK CASOLA, NO. 1 A. CASOLA FARMS FORD FUSION
Casola in his inaugural year on the ARS tour will make his second 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.
The likable rookie returns to the track seeking to better his previous Pocono finish of 14th earlier this year. Sitting comfortably inside the top-20 (18th) in the ARS point standings, Casola looks to Pocono to inch his way forward towards the top-15 in the championship chase.
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 57.816 seconds at 1555.666 MPH putting him 23rd on the practice rundown overall.
Casola drew the 39th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"This is a brand new car we bought from Roush-Fenway Racing last week. We also have a brand new motor but the car is fighting a tight condition. I'm not worried; we should have a good car for qualifying and the race. I'm really excited to have a new car and I think we can better our performance from here in June."
MIKE HARMON, NO. 38 RICHARDSON-NETZLOFF-HARMON RACING CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS
Harmon, a veteran on the ARCA RE/MAX Series tour enters Pocono looking to make his 84th career start at a track where Harmon enjoys.
The Birmingport, Alabama native had a superb run going in the June event before a miscue on pit road slipped the ARCA veteran back in the running order. Harmon recovered in great fashion to record a 16th place finish.
The Richardson-Netzloff-Harmon Racing team has unveiled a brand new Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS for this event hoping to gain Harmon his first top-10 finish of the 2007 ARCA season.
In practice today, he posted the 27th fastest time with a time of 58.406 seconds at 154.094 MPH.
Unfortunately, the team lost a tire during the lone practice session causing damage to the valance and the hood of the racecar. The team is frantically repairing the car preparing it for qualifying this afternoon.
Harmon drew the 37th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"This is a brand new car and the first time we've ever brought it to the track. I was happy with everything until we lost the tire. We can't seem to catch a break. We're repairing the car and I think we'll be okay. We didn't even get up to speed, so we still have a lot left. I just really would like to have a good run tomorrow and give us some momentum going into Nashville!"
JOEY MILLER, NO. 32 YOUNGFIELD HOMES-COUNTRY JOE PIZZA DODGE CHARGER
2005 ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie-of-the-Year Joey Miller reunites with Country Joe Racing for Saturday' Pennsylvania 200 looking to finish what they started in 2005.
During his rookie campaign, Miller was a threat at Pocono Raceway. After starting on the outside pole in the first event, Miller soared into the lead before settling for third. The team returned with higher hopes in the summer event. The weekend started off great with Miller grabbing one of his six poles of the season before blasting into the lead only to be subsided with mechanical failure early in the race.
Two years have passed; Miller approaches Pocono Raceway patiently but knows this place owes him one.
Miller will make his second ARCA start of the season with his 2007 debut coming at Nashville Superspeedway, the third race of the year.
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, Miller clocked off the 16th fastest effort with a time of 56.049 seconds equaling a speed of 160.574 MPH.
Miller drew the 20h position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"We got boxed in during our qualifying run, so it wasn't the run we were looking for, but the car is in good shape. I have a feeling that we'll be in the top-five for qualifying and we're going to be great for the race. We had a little problem getting into the corner, but as the session went on, we got better which leads me to believe we'll be able to pick up where we left off in 2005."
ART SEEGER, TOM RIVERS, NEW JERSEY NATIVE AND ARCA RE/MAX SERIES DRIVER
Part time ARCA RE/MAX Series competitor Art Seeger was planning on making his second start of the 2007 season at Pocono Raceway Saturday.
However, after speaking with Carter-2-Motorsports, Seeger offered to bow out of the No. 48 Dodge Charger and allow the legendary James Hylton to step in and take the controls for this weekend.
Seeger's primary sponsor Scuderia O2 is in negotiations with several ARCA RE/MAX Series team about leaping aboard for the 45th ARCA RE/MAX Series race held at Pocono Raceway.
Seeger plans to return for a later race on the 2007 schedule.
"This turn of events is unfortunate. We were hoping to come to Pocono and have a realistic chance of being competitive and really push our new sponsor. However, after consulting with the car owner, we came to the agreement that this might not be the applicable race for us under all the circumstances. I want to thank Roger Carter and Carter-2-Motorsports for their efforts thus far this weekend. I wish them the best of luck for the race and we'll make an announcement about our sponsor's position for Saturday's race soon."
PATRICK SHELTRA, NO. 60 FLORAGANICS-BRADY RANCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS
ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie Patrick Sheltra will make his 15th ARCA RMS start on Saturday night driving for his family owned Sheltra Motorsports. Rolling into Pocono, Sheltra sits eighth in the championship standings in 12 of a possible 13 races this season. Sheltra has recorded two top-10 finishes this season including a fabulous performance at Berlin Raceway where Sheltra maneuvered his Chevrolet into the fourth position. In May, Sheltra tackled Kentucky Speedway to record another top-10 finish.
Sheltra, nicknamed "Mr. Showtime" will make his third 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. Earlier this year, Sheltra battled tire issues before finishing 24th after starting 15th.
His team manager and crew chief is John Hayden, a former ARCA RE/MAX Series driver.
In practice, the Florida native maneuvered a time of 55.573 seconds equaling a speed of 161.949 MPH positioning himself ninth on the charts.
Sheltra drew the 16th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"We're in great shape. The car is really good. We really picked up the pace since the last time we were here and that's bad news for the rest of the competition. The more time I get around Pocono, I seem to get more comfortable. I think we'll have a top-10 qualifying effort and we should be plenty competitive in the race."
BRYAN SILAS, NO. 11 NORTRAX, SHELL ROTELLA T, HOLLAND PUMP, PALM BEACH GRADING (PBG) FORD FUSION
Bryan Silas returns to Pocono Raceway this weekend looking for redemption. The ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie-of-the-Year candidate has been named a sleeper for Saturday's race.
In the June event, Silas surprised many with a career best fourth place qualifying effort only to impress more by shooting his Andy Hillenburg owned Ford Fusion into the lead for an impressive 15 circuits only to have his finish ruptured by a cut tire late in the race.
Silas also has momentum this weekend following a stout eighth place finish at Kentucky Speedway in the most recent ARCA RE/MAX Series event. The finish was Silas's career best Superspeedway finish.
Driving for two-time ARS champion Andy Hillenburg, the team sits 10th in the championship standings heading into the 14th race of the 2007 season.Silas, a native of Stuart, Florida posted the 18th fastest time with an effort of 56.624 seconds equaling a speed of 158.943 MPH.
Silas drew the 14th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"The car is better than when were here in June. I know the times don't show that, but we're going to be just fine. We're going to tweak the chassis just a little bit and I really think we'll be able to backup our qualifying effort from the spring race. I'm really proud of all the guys on the team, I have a good feeling about tomorrow's race and I feel we can score our second consecutive top-10 finish."
BILLY TANNER, NO. 07 CHEAPCARIBBEAN.COM CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO
Still recovering from a tough finish at Kentucky Speedway last month, ARCA rookie Billy Tanner and his Stott Classic Racing team lean to Pocono Raceway to put their season back on track.
Tanner competed in the first Pocono event. After never seeing the event, Tanner qualified 31st only to be in contention for a solid top-20 finish before being drilled from behind on a restart from a competitor who was experiencing mechanical failure.
Billy Tanner looks to re-build on his momentum from Kentucky Speedway (May) and Toledo Speedway (May) (two top-20 finishes) and reward his Stott Classic Racing (SCR) with a career-finish Saturday. Tanner has six 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 14th 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 also plans to run Nashville Superspeedway next week. During the only practice today, Tanner clicked off the 36th fastest lap with a time of 62.764 seconds equaling a speed of 143.394 MPH.
Tanner drew the 44th position for SIM Factory pole qualifying set for later this afternoon.
"We didn't have a lot of practice time because we had a problem with the helmet. We are going to be okay though. The car is fine; I think I have logged enough laps at this track that we should be able to put our car inside the top-25 for qualifying this afternoon. We tried to make a qualifying run but the flags came out before we could ever get a true statement on where we really stood. No worries though, we'll be in the field!"
The Pennsylvania 200 (80 laps/200 miles) is the 14 of 23 races on the 2007 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule. The 45th ARCA race held at Pocono Raceway is a two-day show. ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying is set for later in the day at 1:45pm Local Time. The event will take the green flag on Saturday, August 4 shortly after 1:00pm Local Time with live coverage on SPEED. Additional race coverage can be found online at arcaracing.com
-credit: Chris Knight