ARCA General Tire Pole Battle Wide Open at Berlin

The season-long battle for the 2018 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards year end General Tire Pole Award stayed hot through the Sioux Chief PowerPEX 250 at Elko Speedway when Christian Eckes added his name to the list of pole winners on the season. The year end award of $10,000 goes to the owner of the car that wins the most poles throughout the season.
Eckes took the No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota to his first career pole on his way to a second-place finish in the race.
With Eckes locking up the pole award, that meant neither Chandler Smith, driver of the Venturini Motorsports No. 20 Craftsman Toyota, nor Sheldon Creed, driver of the No. 28 United Rentals Toyota for MDM Motorsports, were able to gain on the other in their battle for the season-long title. Smith has four poles at Nashville, Salem, Toledo, and Madison while Creed earned three consecutive poles at Madison, Gateway, and Chicagoland heading into Elko before Eckes stopped the streak.
Other pole winners in 2018 include Natalie Decker at Daytona, Michael Self at Talladega, Todd Gilliland at Charlotte, Noah Gragson at Pocono, and Brandon Jones at Michigan.
Starting up front at Berlin Raceway has been important over the years. In ARCA’s modern era, four drivers have gone on to win from the pole: Tim Steele in 2000, Joey Miller in 2005, Justin Lofton in 2009, and Grant Enfinger in 2015. No driver has won from lower than seventh on the starting grid dating back to 1999. The average starting position of the winner dating back to 1999 is third.
Drivers looking for their first General Tire Pole Award of 2018 going into the Primera Plastics 200 include last week’s winner Gus Dean, driver of the No. 32 Gree Cooling Products-Baker Distributing Chevrolet; Riley Herbst, driver of the No. 18 NOS/Orca Coolers Toyota; Travis Braden, driver of the No. 27 MatrixCare/Consonous Healthcare/Liberty Village Ford; and Chase Purdy, driver of the No. 8 Bama Buggies Toyota.
Tom Hessert III set the track record at Berlin Raceway in General Tire Pole Qualifying for this event in 2016. His official lap speed was 94.714 miles per hour.
The Primera Plastics 200 at Berlin is scheduled for Saturday, July 21. Practice will start at 2:30 pm ET, General Tire Pole Qualifying is at 6:30 pm ET, and the 200-lap race will go green at 9 pm ET. The race will be televised live nationally on MAVTV and will have live timing and scoring and track updates throughout all on-track sessions for registered users.

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