Coleman Leads ARCA RE/MAX Series Kentucky Practice
An all-time track record 55 ARCA RE/MAX Series drivers opened the third of four 2006 race weekends at Kentucky Speedway today with a two-hour-and-15-minute practice session for tonight's "WLWT-TV Channel 5 150."
Brewco Motorsports driver Brad Coleman, who finished second in the series May 13 race at the speedway, picked up where he left off by pacing the session with a quick 177.055-mph (30.499 seconds) in his No. 62 Federated Car Care-Brewco Motorsports Ford. His best of 16 laps was just off the series track pole record of 177.509-mph (33.443 seconds) set by May race winner Steve Wallace.
Coleman has finished in the top five in each of his four series starts this season and hopes to break through with his first series win tonight.
"We've been so close (to winning) so many times this year that I really have to thank Sean Parker, my crew chief, for setting us up with a great car," Coleman said. "We're destined to win one of these, and I really feel like it is going to be here in Kentucky. This is the same car that we ran in the May race. We're good in traffic and really good by ourselves. I'm excited to qualify."
Veteran Matt Hagans (No. 9 Eagle Creek Aviation / 1st Aircraft Management Dodge) was second fastest in the session with a 176.574-mph (30.582 seconds) lap, Evernham Motorsports developmental driver Erin Crocker (No. 98 Hamburger Helper Dodge) was third quickest in the session with a 175.827- mph (30.712 seconds) lap, defending and seven-time series champion Frank Kimmel was fourth with a 175.593-mph (30.753 seconds) lap and Dawayne Brian (No. 72 Hi Tech Construction Service Dodge) was fifth on the speed chart with a 175.342-mph ( 30.797 seconds) lap.
The 25-year-old Crocker is one of three women to win a Kentucky Speedway pole award. She topped the speed charts for the July 8, 2005 series race here with a 173.723-mph (31.084 seconds) lap before finishing second and posting the best finish by a female driver at the track.
"The car is better than last year, but the competition is better also. I think we have a shot at the pole, but I really want to concentrate on the race. I want to get my first ARCA RE/MAX series win," she said.
Hagans will make his fourth Kentucky Speedway start and first at the track since 2004. He took his Kentucky-best third-place finish after starting second in a 205-mile race in 2003.
"I just want to talk about our team because I didn't have to make any changes," Hagans said. "The car is just the way we want it and it is very racy. I'm sure Coleman will drive it hard to get the pole, but I probably won't chance hurting the car that I think can win. I can start fifth and win a race. When I was 16, I wanted to win poles. I turned 50 last Friday, now I want to win races."
Kimmel, a five-time Kentucky pole award winner, will gun for his fifth Kentucky Speedway victory tonight and his first at the track since May 2005. He will attempt to improve on his 25th-place May 2006 finish when drivers take the green flag for the "WLWT-TV Channel 5 150" at 9:00 p.m.
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers open their two-day run at Kentucky Speedway at 3:00 p.m. with a one-hour, fifteen-minute practice session. ARCA RE/MAX Series qualifying follows at 5:00 p.m.
Tickets for tonight's race are still available and on sale at Kentucky Speedway ticket booths.
Story by Mike Schmaltz
~ Kentucky Speedway ~