LaJoie Ready for ARCA Racing Series Kentucky Debut, Kimmel on ZLOOP 150 Pole
Corey LaJoie hopes to earn his third ARCA Racing Series victory of the season and if today's ZLOOP 150 final practice at Kentucky Speedway is any indication, he's got a fast car to do just that.
LaJoie drove his no. 17 Medallion Financial Ford to the quickest time of 31.454 seconds, 171.679 mph in Friday's final ARS practice session. The 21-year-old son of 1996 and 1997 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) champion Randy LaJoie already won at Chicagoland and Pocono this season. The younger LaJoie is preparing to race for the first time on Kentucky Speedway's challenging 1.5-mile oval.
LaJoie said his team found the right set up right off the truck and he's anxious to measure his skills against Kentucky's unique racing terrain.
"I'm just excited to get going, honestly. We unloaded really good and the car is running really well. So, I just want to get the race in and see what we can do.
"It's the most bumpy place I've ever been, but it's awesome. This place is really fun to drive. You gotta get your car working over the bumps, you're on the gas a long time and you're hauling the mail. It's just a combination of everything. It's really fun," he said, still grinning from ear to ear
Erik Jones, driver of the no. 15 Toyota Care-Matrix Protection machine, was next quickest in the session with a 31.870-second, 169.438 mph pass. The Venturini Motorsports' No. 15 has been to victory lane with four different drivers this season. Jones won at Berlin Raceway, John Wes Townsley took the checkered flag at Daytona International Speedway, Brennan Poole scored a victory at Michigan International Speedway and Springfield, Ill. Fifteen-year-old sensation Kyle Benjamin earned victories with the car Madison Speedway and last week at Salem (Ind.) Speedway.
Rounding out the top 10 in Friday's practice were: Justin Boston, who is currently third in the points chase; rookie Chase Elliott, the son of NASCAR Sprint Cup legend Bill Elliott; Chad Boat, the son of former Indycar racer Billy Boat; Will Kimmel, the nephew to current ARCA Series points leader Frank Kimmel, is ninth in the points; Josh Williams (fifth in points); Grant Enfinger; Spencer Gallagher (10th in points); and Mason Mitchell (sixth in points).
Series championship leader Frank Kimmel had a surprising turn of events occur during the practice session. On his eighth lap around the circuit where he has won four times, has the most top-five finishes with 11, most top-10 finishes with 14, pole awards with five, starts with 19, most ARS laps led with 553 and completed 2,041, his No. 44 car hit the wall.
"I just went off into three and it got loose on me and chased us up the race track. I tried to save it, but I just ran out of race track. It's a real bad deal because that car was REALLY good.
"This car here (backup car) is a great race car. We're going to be fine. We're going to be down on power quite a bit. I think, all in all, what we got to do here is get in and finish and have a good run. That's what our plan is now."
The nine-time ARS champion leads Mason Mingus by 305 points in the series standings, with only an Oct. 4 race at Kansas Speedway to go after tonight's event.
Kimmel caught a huge break when ZLOOP 150 qualifying was rained out and the race was postponed to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 21. The field was set by owner points and he'll lead the field to the green flag.
NASCAR Nationwide Series Kentucky 300 qualifying and race will follow.
Fans holding ZLOOP 150 and/or Kentucky 300 tickets will be able to enjoy both races.
- Kentucky Speedway -