ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Jesse Smith made a splash in his Kentucky Speedway debut by matching the series track qualifying record with a quick 178.731-mph (30.213 seconds) lap in the morning practice session for tonight's "Drive Smart! Buckle-Up Kentucky 150."

Smith's lap ties the current qualifying series record set by Evernham Motorsports driver Erin Crocker on July 13, 2007.

Smith will make his fourth series start of the season tonight. He has already charted a third-place finish at Kansas Speedway April 25 and a fifth-place finish at Iowa Speedway April 19.

He is optimistic about matching his practice results in qualifying and taking his first ARCA Sim Racing Pole Award this afternoon at 3:30 p.m.

"The first time I've run on the track was this morning, so I've got about 20, 25 laps in, just getting used to the track. I felt like the car was really good, but a little tight in the center so we'll make some adjustments and get better on that. We should be good for the race and qualifying. We have two top fives this season. This week, we feel like we'll be good and hopefully run up front and get a win. We'll try to get a pole here. We'll be better than what we practiced, so I feel like we have a good shot at it," Smith said.

Michael Annett was second on the speed chart with a 177.819-mph (30.368 seconds) lap in the No. 28 Pilot Travel Centers Toyota, Scott Speed shown third with a 177.784-mph (30.374 seconds) circuit in the No. 2 Red Bull Toyota, Ryan Fischer turned the fourth-fastest lap of the session at 177.591 mph (30.407 seconds) and Rob Brent was fifth quickest with a 177.288-mph (30.459 seconds) trip around the 1.5-mile tri-oval.

Tickets for tonight's "Drive Smart! Buckle-Up Kentucky 150" will be on sale at the speedway main entrance until the 8:00 p.m. race start.

Story by Mike Schmaltz

~ Kentucky Speedway ~