JOLIET, Ill. – official release – ARCA photo — John Wes Townley became the third Venturini Motorsports driver of the season to win a Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell and will start up front for tonight’s Ansell ActivArmr 150 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Townley turned his best qualifying lap in 172.117 mph Saturday afternoon to grab the pole from Spencer Gallagher, who circled the 1.5-mile track at 171.303 mph.
“We were fighting the car a little bit in practice, but they made the right changes,” Townley said. “I’m excited about the race. It’s my first race with the new sponsor, the movie ‘The Identity’ is on my car.”
Townley, in the No. 15 Zaxby’s/The Identity Toyota, will be up front when the Ansell ActivArmr 150 goes green just after 5 p.m. today. The race will be live on Fox Sports 2 with veteran announcers Rick Allen and Phil Parsons in the booth and Tim Tretow and Ray Dunlap on pit road.
Reports of a tire rub on the right front of Townley’s car, crew chief Brad Parrott said, was a ‘non-issue.’
Gallagher, in the No. 23 Alamo Rent-A-Car Chevrolet, will start second. Will Kimmel will go off the grid third in the Messinas-Circle Track Magazine-Ingersoll Rand Ford.
“The car just felt under me,” Kimmel said of his qualifying effort. “We had a really tough practice yesterday. We found a problem and fixed it and the car was much better.”
Venturini Motorsports drivers Justin Boston and Cody Coughlin will start fourth and fifth. Boston, in the No. 25 ZLOOP Toyota, was the fourth and final driver to top 171 mph. He has a new crew chief on top his pit box as Billy Venturini takes over for Kevin Reed. Reed was the crew chief for seven wins in the past two seasons.
Coughlin, the top qualifying SCOTT Rookie, is making his first start at Chicagoland Speedway. He had the fastest car during the only practice session Friday in his No. 55 JEGS Toyota.
Another SCOTT Rookie, Matt Tifft, will start sixth in his Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet. Austin Wayne Self, who is leading the SCOTT Rookie challenge point standings, will start at the back of the 25-car field after crashing on his first qualifying lap. His Cunningham Motorsports team is preparing a backup car.
ARCA point leader Grant Enfinger will start seventh and his teammate Justin Allison eighth. Mason Mitchell, only 10 points behind Enfinger in the point standings, will start ninth with 10-time series champion Frank Kimmel starting 10th.
Josh Williams, in the No. 6 Southwest Florida Cable Construction Chevrolet, is at the site of his career best finish. He finished second at Chicagoland last year behind winner Corey LaJoie.
“I like the short track racing,” Williams said, “but we made a good call last year on fuel and were able to make it to the end. This week is like any other – we’ll go out, try to win and, if not, me and the guys will go on to next week.”
Townley will kick off a busy stretch of racing that includes the ARCA race at Chicagoland at 5 p.m., the NASCAR Nationwide Series tonight, the Eldora NASCAR Camping World Truck Series mid-week then the ARCA race at Lucas Oil Raceway on Friday, July 25 and then the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“I have no doubt we can do it,” Townley said. “It’s a challenge. It’s exciting to try and do this all in one week.”
The Menards Pole Award is Townley’s second of his career. His previous pole came at Daytona for a race he won at Daytona in 2013.
The other Venturini Motorsports drivers to win poles this year were Justin Boston and J.J. Haley.