Pocono II: Series pre-race notes

Pocono II: Series pre-race notes
Jul 30, 2008, 11:56 PM

Pocono Brings Out Top Driver Development Teams Via ARCA RE/MAX Series LONG POND PA (7-29-08) -- The ARCA RE/MAX Series has clearly become one of the top, go-to series for driver development, especially at Pocono Raceway. For years, ...

Pocono Brings Out Top Driver Development Teams Via ARCA RE/MAX Series

LONG POND PA (7-29-08) -- The ARCA RE/MAX Series has clearly become one of the top, go-to series for driver development, especially at Pocono Raceway.

For years, top-level NASCAR teams have utilized the RE/MAX Series to groom up and coming drivers. This year's Pennsylvania 200 will be no exception.

Aric Almirola, already tapped as the driver of the no. 8 DEI car in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition in 2009, has filed an entry for the upcoming August 2nd Pennsylvania 200 at Pocono in a DEI-prepared Chevrolet. Almirola made one start in ARCA RE/MAX Series competition at Talladega in 2005 under the Joe Gibbs Racing banner, but got caught up in a wreck, relegating the Tampa, Florida driver to a 37th place finish.

Development Drivers Excel at Pocono

Former winners at Pocono from the driver development ranks include Ryan Newman/Penske Racing (2000), Casey Atwood/Evernham Motorsports (2002), Casey Mears/Ganassi Racing (2003), Scott Riggs/Penske Racing (2004), Travis Kvapil/Penske Racing (2005), Chase Miller/Dodge Development (2006), Chad McCumbee/Petty Enterprises (2007), Michael McDowell/Michael Waltrip Racing (2007) and most recently Ricky Stenhouse, Jr./Roush Fenway Racing in June of 2008. Kyle Busch and David Stremme, both former ARCA RE/MAX Series Pocono polesitters, have also utilized the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Pocono en route to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Also entered at Pocono in a driver development mode is rookie Marc Davis, entered in a Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet under the Joe Gibbs Racing banner and former Pocono winner Chase Miller, entered in an Evernham Motorsports Dodge.

Rookies Rule in 2008; Stenhouse, Speed Lead

Rookie Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. is the current ARCA RE/MAX Series point leader over fellow rookie Scott Speed headed to Pocono. Stenhouse won the Pocono 200 back in June with Speed finishing a close second. Speed, a Team Red Bull driver, is also being groomed for NASCAR's highest leagues. Speed is also the most recent winner on tour after picking up the victory last Saturday at Berlin Raceway, and trails Stenhouse by just 55 points for the championship. Speed also heads up a very tight SunTrust Rookie of the Year battle, leading Stenhouse by just 2 points in that category.

Jarit Johnson Enters

Other entrants include Chrissy Wallace, daughter of NASCAR veteran Mike Wallace and Jarit Johnson, the younger brother of two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmy Johnson.

Johnson is slated to drive the no. 53 GermaneRED-Germane Tooling Group Chevrolet for the 200-mile event. Team owner John Fox contacted Johnson less than two weeks ago to inquire about driving for the team at Pocono. Fox primarily operates a modified team around the northeast with driver Steve Fox.

"I'm really fired up about racing at Pocono," said Johnson. "I've never driven there before, but it's one of those signature tracks in stock car racing that every driver wants to conquer in their career. I'm looking forward to getting back in the ARCA series as well."

"We are proud to have Jarit Johnson carry our company around Pocono," said Fred Hoeffken, President of GermaneRED and Germane Tool. "He shares our company mindset of hard work and dedication to perfecting our trades."

Other sponsors that have joined support for the program include: Fox Realty, Blaise Alexander Family Dealerships and The Jimmie Johnson Foundation. Johnson and the team will receive support as well from Johnson Excavation and RFL Clothing.

"I'm grateful for the support we gained for this event," expressed Johnson. "Whether they are providing us products or actual race dollars, it's been humbling to me to have such a great group of companies and people supporting our efforts in Pocono. I especially have to thank John Fox for the opportunity to come and drive his car."

Johnson has only one previous start in the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Michigan Int'l Speedway in 2005. Most of 2006 and 2007 Johnson spent racing late models around the southeast. He collected 8-wins at the famed Hickory Motor Speedway last season.

The ARCA RE/MAX Series, which shares the track at Pocono with the NASCAR SPRINT Cup Series, is scheduled to practice from 10:15 AM to 11:55 PM Friday, August 1st with SIM Factory Pole Award Qualifying slated for 1:45. The Pennsylvania 200 goes off Saturday afternoon, August 2nd at 1:00.

Catch all the Pocono ARCA RE/MAX Series action at arcaracing.com offering LIVE Timing & Scoring of all on-track activities as well as LIVE flag-to-flag streaming audio coverage of the race through the ARCA Racing Network exclusively on arcanation.com presented by Team Glock.

Tickets for the ARCA RE/MAX Series Pennsylvania 200 and the SPRINT Cup Series event at Pocono are available by contacting the Pocono Raceway Ticket Office at 1-800-RACEWAY (1-800-722-3929), or through www.poconoraceway.com.

-credit: arca

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