Kyle Larson has won his first career ARCA Series event. Larson, 21, led the majority of the Pocono 200 at the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA. However, even after dominating the race, Larson was passed by Mason Mitchell on the final restart with less than 15 laps to go.
Mitchell held the lead over Larson until Larson got around him with less than three laps to go. Once he passed Mitchell, Larson checked out and defeated the no. 98 Ford by more than a second. This is the fifth time Mitchell has come up just short of a victory, and the second time he has done so this season after finishing in the runner-up position at Toledo.
The only major incident in the race occurred when Matt Tift got into Justin Boston as the two were battling for position inside of the top-five. Tift got loose in Turn 1, sending both cars hard into the outside wall. The No. 52 car owned by Ken Schrader was able to continue in the race, but finished 19th – five laps down.
Austin Wayne Self had two speeding violation after contending for the lead with Larson after the first round of pit stops. Then, Self had a mechanical failure just laps later, forcing the No. 22 Dodge to go to the garage. The team Tweeted out that Self believed he damaged the radiator while going to pit road, but the damage was permanent.
Larson has a 21 second lead over Tift, but also had a speeding penalty on pit road. The No. 4 car came back down pit road, but due to his large lead, he came back out and still had a five second advantage over Tift.
John Wes Townley finished third after earning a fifth-place finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Texas on Friday evening. Since Townley was in Texas on Friday, Brennan Poole practiced and qualified Townley’s car – forcing Townley to start at the rear of the field on Saturday. Townley was mired outside of the top-20 early in the race after receiving damage to the front-end of his No. 15 Toyota. He went a lap down, but due to several late race cautions, Townley worked his way back on the lead lap and took advantage of the final caution by racing his way into the top-five.
Unofficially, Grant Enfinger leaves Pocono with a 20 point lead over Mitchell in the ARCA Series points standings.
Here are some notables from the ARCA 200:
-Karl Weber tied his best career finish with a 10th place run.
-Josh Williams earned a sixth-place finish in the No. 6 car. Williams earned his second top-10 of the year after not racing in the first two events of 2014.
-Kyle Martel ran in the 14th position in his first race of 2014.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Kyle Larson, has won the pole award for the ARCA 200 at Pocono. Larson’s No. 4 Chevrolet, fielded by Turner-Scott Motorsports, set the pace in ARCA Series qualifying with a staggering time of 53.106 seconds – edging out second-place qualifier, Brennan Poole, by over a tenth of a second.
Larson will be pulling the double this weekend as he will race the No. 42 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as per usual. Prior to Pocono, Larson has run just two career ARCA Series events, including a second-place finish at Daytona last season. During this weekend’s event, Larson has teamed up with his Cup Series sponsor, Target, to run the ARCA Series event in an attempt to gather more experience before hitting the Pocono Raceway for the first time.
“It just helps me learn the track a little bit better. I’ve never raced here before. I’m trying to run as many laps as I can,” Larson said. “I’m not sure if it’s hurting me a whole lot, but it certainly is helping.”
Larson later joked about how the team has made him drive around town in his Chevrolet Camaro – attempting to figure out a way to shift smoother in the Cup Series car where drivers shift at least two times per lap.
Justin Allison will start third in the No. 88 car. Allison is the grandson of former NASCAR driver, Donnie Allison. Current ARCA Series point leader, Grant Enfinger, will start ninth as teammate to Allison. Entering Pocono, Enfinger has five top-10s in six ARCA Series races this year. Of those who qualified inside of the top-10, Poole (who will be replaced by John Wes Townley for Saturday’s event), Frank Kimmel and Enfinger are the only drivers to record a victory in the ARCA Series.
Brennan Poole was a contender for the ARCA Series title a mere two years ago. However, he was able to race just five times in 2013, and he has yet to race this year.
The 23-year-old continues to search for funding as he has a seat waiting for him at Venturini Motorsports with his close friend, Justin Boston. In just 28 career starts, Poole has won five ARCA Series events. But even winning races is not enough when you have to compete with others to find funding.
This weekend, Poole has the chance to race for Venturini Motorsports – well, kind of. John Wes Townley, driver of the No. 15 Toyota, is racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Wauters Motorsports. As he attempts to compete for both championships, Townley will have Poole qualify and practice his car this weekend at Pocono, and possibly a few other events this season.
“We did pretty well. We were just a little tight. This track has changed a lot over the winter,” Poole said. “We didn’t even make a qualifying run in practice. We will have to see what happens and hope the changes will work for John.”
The car which Townley will be racing at Pocono is the one Poole went to victory lane with at Michigan last season – a race which he ran up front in. Though he is not sure when he will be back in a car for Venturini Motorsports, Poole hinted that he is working on a deal to get him back in the car, but everything revolves around funding in this era of racing.
Poole was able to set a lap time of 53.223 seconds which was just over a tenth slower than Kyle Larson's time of 53.106 seconds.