(TOLEDO, Ohio - July 23, 2012) - Despite a well-known schedule shift in the Indianapolis market between last season and 2012, stock car racing is indeed scheduled at Lucas Oil Raceway for one of the Circle City's biggest weekends of the year.
The Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 200, ARCA's second event at the track after more than two decades away, has many drivers more than ready to take on the historic short track.
Brennan Poole calls Lucas Oil Raceway his favorite track despite no prior ARCA experience there. He has said on multiple occasions that he has hundreds of virtual laps on the track through simulator work, and his memories extend beyond that.
"I've raced Lucas Oil on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox so many times that it's my favorite track," he said. "But I remember sitting in the stands, being 10 years old from quarter midgets and looking at (USAC) Silver Crown cars, and looking up to these guys. That's what I wanted to do and it was special to me.
"I hope we can go there and have a good show. I'm looking forward to it."
Grant Enfinger finished ninth at Lucas Oil last season and hopes to return this week.
"I think that was a great turnout and a great show last year," he said. "We didn't get the finish we wanted, but we're going to go back and re-group, and we're going to be good there. This year has been shaky for us as far as making it to the race track, so I'm excited to go racing again."
All on-track activity for the Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 200 is scheduled for Friday. Two practices will take place, from 1:35-2:30 and 3-3:45. Menards Pole Qualifying will start at 5:30, setting the field for the 200-lap race at 9 p.m.
ARCARacing.com will feature live timing and scoring of all of Friday's action, and SPEED will televise the 9 p.m. race live. The ARCA CRA Super Series will join the ARCA Racing Series at the track, giving fans in Indianapolis a double feature of ARCA divisions.
(Additional news and notes from Saturday's Ansell ActivArmr® 150 are below.)
Up and Down Day Ends Well for Poole: Brennan Poole initially qualified on the pole Friday morning at Chicagoland, but had his time disallowed by ARCA officials after an infraction in post-qualifying inspection. That gave Kevin Swindell his second career Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell and sent Poole to the back of the field.
Poole started 31st on a provisional and worked his way into the top five very quickly. In the end, he just missed reaching Swindell for the win.
"It was a fun day," he said. "Coming through the back and passing all those cars, we're race car drivers and that's what we love to do. It's a blessing to get out of here with a second after having to start so far back in the field."
Poole's race was markedly different than his experience at Iowa, when he qualified first and led over 70 laps before cutting a tire and dropping far out of contention. He discussed having to fight through traffic.
"It definitely makes it more of a challenge, and that's what makes it fun," he said. "We just had to be smart today and make smart decisions, make sure we kept the fenders on it. With these cars, aero is so important and the bodies make such a big difference. We really had to be protective of that."
By earning the maximum of 30 rookie points, Poole edged ahead of Alex Bowman in the Team Messina Rookie Challenge, 304-300. Bowman still leads Poole in race rookie award wins, 6-3.
New or Tied Career Highs for Six: Below Kevin Swindell in the final race report were five drivers who earned new or matched existing career-best results in Friday's Ansell ActivArmr® 150.
Ryan Reed finished fifth and Nelson Canache was seventh, additional good news for Venturini Motorsports on the team's day of celebration.
David Levine (No. 45 Richard Petty Driving Experience Dodge) finished 12th in his first ARCA Racing Series start, a spot ahead of where he started.
Armed with a similar surname, Michael Leavine (No. 95 WRL General Contractors Ford) came home 14th, one position ahead of the former career high he had achieved at Iowa Speedway eight days earlier.
Robert Bujdoso (No. 09 Checkered Express Ford) finished 15th - again - in his second ARCA Racing Series start. Bujdoso also finished 15th in last season's final race at Toledo Speedway.