Talladega: Qualifying report

Clauson Earns SIM Factory Pole Award at Talladega Superspeedway TALLADEGA AL (10-4-07) - The starting grid for Friday's ARCA RE/MAX 250 at Talladega Superspeedway closely resembles something that would appear at the 2.66-mile superspeedway on...

Clauson Earns SIM Factory Pole Award at Talladega Superspeedway

TALLADEGA AL (10-4-07) - The starting grid for Friday's ARCA RE/MAX 250 at Talladega Superspeedway closely resembles something that would appear at the 2.66-mile superspeedway on Sunday afternoon, as cars fielded by well known NASCAR car owners Chip Ganassi, Bill Davis, Jack Roush and Clarence Brewer make up the top-five starting positions for Friday's ARCA RE/MAX 250. The series will be led to the green flag at 4 p.m. Central on Friday afternoon by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates developmental driver Bryan Clauson, who bested close to 60 other ARCA RE/MAX Series drivers to earn his career first SIM Factory Pole Award Thursday afternoon.

"Looking at the entry list for this race, I think we looked at it and decided that there were 40 guys that were really, really tough and this ARCA series just keeps getting more and more competitive," said Clauson. "We did a lot of testing here a couple of weeks ago and we worked a lot on qualifying runs. Today we focused more on race trims so we weren't really sure what we had. I would like to take the credit for it but at a place like Talladega it's more about the car and the crew did a really good job of getting things prepared. It's awesome to add this to our list of accomplishments this year."

Clauson's speed of 184.840 mph in the No. 40 Memorex Dodge eclipsed Michael Annett's 184.633 mph lap and made him the 12th different driver to earn a SIM Factory Pole Award in 22 events this season. Annett starts on the outside front row in a Bill Davis-prepared No. 28 Pilot Travel Centers Toyota.

"We definitely knew we had a strong car for the race we were just hoping to backup the qualifying run we posted in practice," said Annett. "We have a great team and a great sponsor in Pilot Travel Centers so we're definitely excited for tomorrow."

Roush Fenway Racing's Colin Braun starts third in the No. 99 Ford.

"The No. 99 Ford was good out there," said Braun. "All the guys did a really good job preparing a fast race car. It was neat to go out and qualify and never lift off the gas. Overall I think we have a god car in the draft and I'm looking forward to learning a lot tomorrow. The 99 team has been working really hard and hopefully tomorrow we can have a good run for everyone at Roush Fenway."

Brewco Motorsports' Phillip McGilton starts fourth in the No. 47 SI Performance Ford, followed by Bill Davis Racing's Bobby Santos III in the No. 20 Chimney Rock Cattle Company Toyota.

"The car was strong in practice both in the draft and out so we were confident coming into qualifying," said McGilton. "I think we're going to be a contender here tomorrow. The guys put a lot of hard work into this car and it really showed here. I've been anxious to get back here. This track bit me good last year with a blown engine on my first qualifying lap. We only ran six races so we didn't have the owner's points to fall back on and had to pack up and go home."

In addition to a familiar mix of ARCA RE/MAX Series competitors, Friday's race is sprinkled with some open wheel flavor, with Dario Franchitti and Scott Speed among those in the 41-car starting field. Franchitti, the reigning Indy 500 and IndyCar Champion, will make his stock car debut in Friday's ARCA RE/MAX 250.

"My initial impression of Talladega was from two years ago when we were flying to Nashville and we went off course because of the weather," said Franchitti. "We flew over the track, and it was just huge. Everthing about Talladega is big. The banking is big, the track is big. We flew in last night, and it was just getting dark and all the lights were on, and again it was, 'Oh my God, look at the size of that track.' It's an intimidating place."

Formula One's Scott Speed, who has announced plans for a full-time ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule in 2008, starts seventh on Friday in the Red Bull Toyota. Max Dumarey starts eighth, followed by defending race winner Frank Kimmel and Billy Venturini.

The series will host a final practice session on Friday morning beginning at 10:05 a.m. The session will give the 41-car ARCA RE/MAX Series starting field a final opportunity to get acclimated to the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway before Friday's ARCA RE/MAX 250. Limited impound procedures will be in effect. The race is scheduled to roll off at 4 p.m. Central LIVE on SPEED.

-credit: arca

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Colin Braun , Frank Kimmel , Billy Venturini , Scott Speed , Chip Ganassi , Bobby Santos III , Bryan Clauson , Phillip McGilton , Michael Annett , Max Dumarey
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Roush Fenway Racing , Bill Davis Racing