[media-credit name=”ARCA Racing Network” align=”alignleft” width=”345″][/media-credit]Last year, Alex Bowman impressed everybody as he won in both his ARCA Racing Series starts. So far this year, he has a 30th place finish at Daytona International Speedway. Bowman is now looking to turn things around at Mobile International Speedway.
He is off to a good start as he led practice and won the Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell. He drove a qualifying lap of 17.547 seconds to put his No. 22 Dodge for Cunniongham Motorsports on the pole for the first time.
“We have a great eBay Motors and St. Jude’s Dodge,” the 18-year-old from Tucson, Ariz said after qualifying. “I can’t thank all the guys at Cunningham Motorsports enough. I’ve always been terrible at qualifying, quite honestly, and for us to get a pole definitely shows how good the car is. We’ll definitely have a good race car tomorrow. Look for us up front.”
Bowman credits the success to a test earlier in the year.
“We came here and tested a few weeks ago, and it’s a pretty neat place,” he said. “It’s like Madison, and similar to Motor Mile (in Virginia).”
16-year-old Chase Elliott will start his first ARCA race on the front row along side Bowman, driving the No. 9 Aaron’s Dream Machine/Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet. Elliott, the son of NASCAR Champion Bill Elliott, has turned heads so far with his success. Last year in the K&N Pro East Series, he scored three top-fives and six top 10s in 12 starts. In 2010, he scored 13 victories, 29 top-five finishes, 39 top-10s and six pole awards in 42 Late Model starts. One of the notable accomplishments was winning the Miller Lite Series at Mobile International Speedway.
Starting third will be another rookie as Eric Jones will become the first 15-year-old to start an ARCA Racing Series race, driving for Venturini Motorsports.
ARCA recently changed the age limit from 16-year-olds to 15-year-old for drives to compete on tracks one mile in length or shorter. To compete on tracks bigger than one mile, drivers need to be 18 years of age or order.
“We started off on new tires and worked really hard on the whole package, the drivability of the car,” the Bryon, Michigan native said after practice. “It was fast, just not quite the feel we wanted. We worked through the whole practice and finally got what I wanted.
Jones comes into the ARCA Series with a lot of success, as he won the 2011 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Championship, winning at Rockford Speedway and Owosso. He also won the prestigious Governor’s Cup, leading every lap in the super late model race in Florida.
Brian Keselowski and Ryan Reed rounded out the top five, followed by Chad Hackenbracht, Brennan Poole, Matt Lofton, Cale Gale and Grant Enfinger. Nine-time ARCA Champion Frank Kimmel starts 11th with Southern short track star Bubba Pollard in 12th.
The 200-lap, 100-mile Mobile ARCA 200 will begin at 2 p.m. Central tomorrow, with live timing and scoring and live audio coverage available at ARCARacing.com. WNTM Fox News Radio 710 AM (Mobile) and WTDR Thunder 92.7 FM (Talladega) will produce and air the broadcast for ARCARacing.com, and also air the race to a network of Alabama radio stations. The race is scheduled as the second of 20 this season.