JOLIET, Ill. (Sept. 15, 2016) - ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship leader Chase Briscoe turned his first laps at Chicagoland Speedway this afternoon. It did not take the Mitchell, Indiana rookie long to figure the place out.
"So far, so good," Briscoe said. "This is my first mile-and-a-half track on a race weekend...I mean we tested at Kentucky, but that's it."
Briscoe, in the No. 77 Big Tine Ford, circled the 1.5-mile track in 30.889 seconds, an average speed of 174.820 mph.
Briscoe discovered early on that Chicagoland has some built-in character.
"Biggest thing about this place is that it's really rough down in three and four. We're a little tight down there and I know we're giving up a little at that end. One and two is pretty smooth...I feel like everyone's pretty equal down there, but three and four is where you're going to make something happen tonight. We gotta find a better line through there."
Like all the teams vying for a starting position in tonight's SCOTT 150, Briscoe's Cunningham Motorsports crew is trying to get ahead of the handle, knowing they'll practice and qualifying in the bright sun, yet race under the lights.
"We know we're going to have to free it up some as the night goes on...we're talking about that now. With these composite cars, when you get behind another one, the cars get really tight."
John Wes Townley, in the No. 05 Jive Communications-Zaxby's Chevrolet, was second on the practice board with a speed of 173.522 mph. Townley is also competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series here this weekend.
Second-generation ARCA racer Chad Finley, with a brand new composite car, was third fastest overall at 171.614 mph.
"We're pretty happy with it, actually," Finley said. "To unload a new car like that and be that quick in the first two or three laps...we'll take that. We still have some speed left in it.
"I really think we have a top-three car right now. Hopefully, we can tune on it and end up in victory lane, but that's everyone's plan, right?"
Finley's Bruce Cook-led crew is also discussing the transition from day to night racing.
"We talked about it a lot. We know this place will change tonight. We're favoring one side of the equation to be good tonight...don't want to give it away."
Kyle Weatherman made his return to ARCA competition on the plus side, coming in fourth on the practice charts in the No. 10 St. Charles Glass-Fast Track High Performance Ford.
Christopher Bell, last week's winner at Salem Speedway, was fifth overall in the No. 15 JBL Toyota for Venturini Motorsports.
Thirty-four drivers posted time and speed in practice this afternoon. Eighteen of the top 20 cars were composite body cars. Ty Majeski, in sixth, was the fastest steel body car in practice and the only one among the top-10. Bobby Gerhart, 18th fastest on the chart, was also in a steel car.
Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell is next at 5:10 p.m. Eastern time. Tonight's SCOTT 150 is live on FS1 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
Don Radebaugh email@example.com
This year’s SCOTT® 150 at Chicagoland will set the stage for an exciting weekend of NASCAR racing action including Sprint Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series races. The weekend also kicks off NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup, the playoff system used to crown the 2016 Sprint Cup champion.
No Repeat ARCA Winners at Chicagoland
In 15 consecutive ARCA races at Chicagoland, there have been no repeat race winners among drivers. Former ARCA Chicagoland winners are Ed Berrier (2001), Chad Blount (2002), Frank Kimmel (2003), Kyle Krisiloff (2004), Dawayne Bryan (2005), Steve Wallace (2006), Michael McDowell (2007), Scott Lagasse, Jr. (2008), Justin Lofton (2009), Patrick Sheltra (2010), Ty Dillon (2011), Kevin Swindell (2012), Corey LaJoie (2013), Mason Mitchell (2014) and Ryan Reed (2015).
No Repeat ARCA Pole Winners at Chicagoland
In addition to no repeat victories among drivers, there have been no repeat Menards Pole presented by Ansell winners either. Chad Blount (2002), Frank Kimmel (2003), Steve Wallace (2006), Michael McDowell (2007), and Kevin Swindell (2012) won the race from the pole. Other pole winners at Chicagoland include Tim Steele (2001), Stuart Kirby (2004), Joey Miller (2005), Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (2008), Brian Ickler (2009), Craig Goess (2010), Josh Richards (2011), Ryan Blaney (2013), John Wes Townley (2014) and Cody Coughlin (2015. The ARCA one-lap track record was set in 2008 by Stenhouse with an average speed of 180.030 mph.