February 7, 2014 – Audio and story by Jacob Seelman for Speed77 Radio and Race Chaser Online – All photo credits to Brennan Poole Racing – THE WOODLANDS, TX – Many people say that to be a better race car driver, you have to see the sport from multiple sides. And if you ask Brennan Poole, he’ll tell you that that statement is very true.
Poole, out of The Woodlands, Texas, has spent the last two and a half years serving as driver, spotter, and coach at Venturini Motorsports, alternating between multiple duties with the team while still competing in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.
It’s been a markedly productive run as well. Poole has five career wins in the series, including in his ARCA debut at Salem Speedway in 2011. The Texan scored two triumphs (Pocono and Elko) in 2012 while he was competing full-time on the tour, and added another pair of victories this past season at Michigan and the dirt mile at Springfield in addition to scoring a couple of wins as a spotter as well.
“It’s been an incredible last couple of seasons,” Poole expressed in a recent interview with Race Chaser Online from his family home in Texas. “We had a great full-time run in 2012, and came real close to winning the championship, but I honestly think I’ve learned more for my own career over the past year seeing everything happen from outside the cockpit.”
“Being up on the roof, being able to watch some of the really talented drivers in the ARCA series; (Ryan) Blaney, (Frank) Kimmel, and learning from watching some of our drivers too, Justin (Boston) and Kyle (Benjamin) to name a couple, I’ve been able to pick on even more things I can apply to my own time behind the wheel than I would have simply driving the laps myself.”
Poole has dedicated himself to excellence from the earliest stages of his career. He scored Grand National Championships in quarter midgets in 2002, and has found success in every division he has raced in so far, including dirt modifieds, pavement late models and INEX Legend Cars, where Poole won the prestigious Pro Division National Championship in 2006.
After graduating from Woodlands Christian Academy a year early in 2008, Poole moved to North Carolina and proceeded to continue his winning ways from the outset. He rewrote the United Auto Racing Association (UARA) record books during his time in asphalt late models, proving that his earliest successes were no fluke. He scored a single season tour-record six victories in 2010 despite not winning the season championship, and followed that run up with four additional wins and the UARA title in 2011. During his three years with the UARA-STARS, Poole was also voted Most Popular Driver twice, in 2009 and again in 2010. Overall, Poole’s ten wins rank second to Jamey Caudill’s 13 on the all-time wins list, and Poole says his experience with the STARS heavily prepared him for his current run of success in the ARCA Racing Series.
“In my mind, the UARA series is one that, if you’re down south, you have to run it in order to learn what to do to be successful at the next level. They’re one of the few series that’s not only a full-length touring series, but I learned everything from tire management to pacing throughout the race, I mean, I came straight out of the UARA car in 2011 while we were still racing for the championship, jumped in the ARCA car at Salem and won in my debut there, so there’s a lot to be learned by any young driver and it’s a series that tremendously helped me in my road forward.”
After running full-time in the ARCA Racing Series in 2012 and finishing third in points on the strength of a couple of wins behind eventual champion Chris Buescher and Frank Kimmel, Poole stepped back to a partial driving schedule in 2013 while taking on greater responsibility within the Venturini Motorsports operation. The 23-year-old ran five races from behind the wheel and also served as spotter for the #15 car during several of the races he did not drive in, helping guide that car to a couple of triumphs as well with a myriad of drivers behind the wheel over the course of the season including Kyle Benjamin and Erik Jones.
Poole has coached many of the other drivers that have come through Venturini Motorsports over the past year on what it takes to be successful in the ARCA series and going forward, and has struck a strong friendship with fellow VM driver Justin Boston over the course of the year as well. Poole advised Boston over the course of the Maryland native’s rookie season in 2013, but adds that though the two are friends, competition is still fierce between them.
The two found themselves fighting tooth and nail for the win at the Michigan International Speedway last summer, a race which Boston had been leading late until he and Poole made slight contact in Turn Two. Boston looped the car around, and Poole ultimately went on to win the event.
“Justin and I may be good friends, but we still both want to win no matter what’s going on,” Poole laughed. “We both hated that the Michigan event finished the way it did, but there were no hard feelings. We knew it was just two competitors racing hard for a checkered flag and a trophy.”
“And that competitiveness is more than just on the race track. You should see us play video games,” Poole quipped with a grin.
“But it’s really been so much fun for me, and fulfilling too, to be able to have worked with so many other young guys this year who are trying to make it just like I am and be able to pass along a little bit of what I’ve learned to them. But I haven’t shared all my tricks just yet,” Poole chuckled.
The Texan will now look towards 2014, where he will continue to work in largely the same capacity at Venturini Motorsports as he has the past year, running select races for the team as a driver while continuing to offer guidance to Venturini’s other drivers from atop the spotter’s stand or pit box.
Poole says now, it’s simply a matter of waiting for the next opportunity.
“Obviously, my goal is to make it to the NASCAR level in the future, but for right now, I’m learning so much about what it’s going to take and the things that I’m going to have to do at that next level; I couldn’t be happier or more thankful for the opportunities that Bill and Cathy Venturini, and Billy Venturini have provided me with.”
“I always say I’m blessed to be in the situations I’ve been in, and this is no different. In fact, this has been the biggest blessing yet. Hopefully there’s more to come down the road.”
Listen in to our complete interview with Brennan Poole, as he talks about his racing background, his time at Venturini Motorsports, and his outlook and plans for 2014: