(TOLEDO, Ohio - July 5, 2012) - On the track, Brennan Poole and Alex Bowman have been equal at so many points.
Both drove to victory for Venturini Motorsports while debuting in ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards competition last season; Poole won in Salem, Ind. in May while Bowman won near Madison, Wis. nearly four months later.
This year, with Poole still driving for Venturini and Bowman now at Cunningham Motorsports, the two have been stellar again - and it shows as both aim for the year's top honors in the Team Messina Rookie Challenge.
Through 10 of 20 races, each has two wins this year, with Bowman's No. 22 winning twice in Indiana, at Salem and Winchester. Poole's No. 25 won in ARCA's first trip to Elko New Market, Minn. in June, one week before his first speedway win at Pocono Raceway. That success has shown up in the Team Messina Rookie Challenge standings with Poole leading Bowman by 16 points, 262-246.
Thirty points in the Rookie of the Year standings are provided to the highest-finishing registered rookie in any race, with the second rookie earning 28, the third 26, the fourth 24, and so on by subtracting two points per driver until all rookies are counted. Each registered driver's best 15 rookie point results are added together to tabulate the final official total. The Rookie of the Year program is sponsored by Messina Wildlife Management; all drivers in the series carry a Messina decal for every event, and the rookies display the Team Messina Rookie Challenge logo inside the yellow stripes on their rear bumpers.
Though Poole leads the rookie standings, he may not be the top candidate for the rookie award. Since only a driver's best 15 scores are counted, low scores are filtered out at season's end. Bowman has won the race award - and the 30 points - five times, compared to just two for Poole. Taking the best eight results from each of the top two so far, Bowman adds a 28-point result and two 24-point results, and Poole adds five 28s and a single 24. That adds up to a hypothetical two-point lead for Bowman, 226-224.
The full top 10 through the season's halfway point are as follows: Poole, 262; Bowman, 246; Matt Lofton, 230; Ryan Reed, 198; Spencer Gallagher, 180; Josh Williams, 172; Jared Marks and Nelson Canache, 164; Larry Barford Jr., 132; Will Kimmel, 108.
In addition to Poole and Bowman, Drew Charlson won the $250 race award at Daytona, Brandon McReynolds won at Talladega, and Kimmel won by finishing fifth Sunday at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Messina Wildlife Management is part of the Menards Racing vendor program in ARCA, and has been involved since 2010. In addition to the Team Messina Rookie Challenge, Messina Wildlife is an official company sponsor and will sponsor the Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis on Friday, July 27.
The $10,000 Team Messina Rookie Challenge award will be officially presented at the series' Championship Awards Banquet on Saturday, December 8 in Indianapolis.
The ARCA Racing Series will travel to Iowa Speedway for the Prairie Meadows 200 next Friday, July 13. The race will air live on SPEED at 9 p.m. Eastern, with live timing and scoring available at ARCARacing.com. All practice activity and Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell will take place that day, and ARCARacing.com will feature live timing and scoring coverage of those sessions as well. The race will be the seventh for ARCA at the 0.875-mile track since 2006, and the 11th on the 20-race schedule for 2012.