(TOLEDO, Ohio - July 2, 2012) - Brennan Poole finished sixth Sunday at New Jersey Motorsports Park and sat near his car after the race with a foot uncovered, having experienced tremendous heat throughout 67 laps in his first road course start.
The heat is definitely on in the championship standings as well, as Chris Buescher (bottom) ended the season's first half by trimming Poole's points lead to just 10, 2540-2530. Poole had entered with a 25-point lead, but Buescher gained 15 points by finishing three spots ahead of Poole in the race. Poole's margin was last this low after the June 2 race at Elko Speedway in Minnesota, four races before Sunday's event at New Jersey.
"Today was real hot and I burned my foot a little bit, but I'll tell you, it was a lot of fun," said Poole (top, No. 25 CJ Solar Band Toyota). "I'm covered in dirt, which brings me back to my old days; I'm just not used to turning right so much. Our plan was to qualify in the top 10 and we qualified 11th, so we were close. We wanted to stay on track all day, and we stayed on track all day. My guys put me in a good position with a strategy call there at the end. (Crew chief) Billy Venturini did a great job and we were fighting for a top-five finish there at the end. We just got a little too tight. That's some of my inexperience. We didn't lose a whole lot of points. We just wanted to get out of here safe and move on to some of our stronger tracks coming up like Iowa, Chicagoland, and Lucas Oil Raceway."
Frank Kimmel (No. 44 Ansell/Menards Toyota) moved into third, 160 points behind Poole but five ahead of Alex Bowman (No. 22 St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Dodge). Chad Hackenbracht (No. 58 Tastee Apple Chevrolet) is fifth, 260 points behind first. He stands 25 points clear of Tom Hessert (No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet) of Cherry Hill, N.J., who improved to sixth in his home state.
Matt Lofton (No. 16 Strutmasters.com Chevrolet) experienced early trouble Sunday and fell to seventh, ahead of Spencer Gallagher (No. 23 Allegiant Air Chevrolet), who improved two positions to eighth. Ryan Reed was inactive this weekend and stands ninth, just ahead of Venturini Motorsports teammate and top 10 newcomer Nelson Canache (No. 15 Venezuela Tourism Ford).
Several of the shuffles in the point standings, especially those near the bottom of the top 10, were a result of a 250-point bonus - per the ARCA Rule Book - being awarded to drivers who made each of the starts in the season's second five-race leg, which began June 2 at Elko and finished Sunday.
The full and official ARCA Racing Series standings will be released Tuesday.
Ranger Makes Name in Key New Jersey Categories: Andrew Ranger's 4.474-second margin of victory was the largest for an ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards driver in five races at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Chase Elliott and Ranger drove much closer than that going to the white flag, but Elliott slipped up after Ranger passed him on the last lap.
Casey Roderick held the previous record, a 2.889-second win on August 15, 2010.
Ranger moved into a tie for third on the all-time New Jersey lap leader list. Not only did he beat Chase Elliott on the final lap, but he also led 27 laps in the race's first half. He has now led 36 laps in two races, tied with Justin Marks' total from 2010 and just short of Patrick Long's 46 in 2009 and George Miedecke's 40 last year.
New Jersey the Home of ARCA Road Racing: Unofficially, New Jersey became the all-time home of ARCA Racing Series road racing with Sunday's event at Thunderbolt Raceway. Of the 16 road course races in ARCA's 60-year history, the Garden State has hosted five, more than any other state.
Illinois has hosted four and Kansas two, with Florida, Iowa, Ohio, New York, and Virginia all having welcomed single races.