LONG POND, Pa. – Not too bad for having never turned a lap on the ‘tricky’ Pocono Raceway triangle until he woke up this morning.
Justin Allison, in the No. 88 HaVaCoSales.com Ford, turned in the fastest lap Wednesday at Pocono in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards open test. The third-generation Allison circled the 2.5-mile triangular superspeedway in 53.436 seconds, an average speed of 168.426 mph.
“Honestly, it just took me getting comfortable in the car,” Allison said.
Allison was able to tap into the experience of his Team BCR teammate Grant Enfinger, the current ARCA Racing Series point leader.
“Once I got a few laps in, I figured out what I was doing right and wrong. I asked Grant (Enfinger) for some advice, and my crew chief Howard Bixman also gave me some advice on how to approach each turn.”
Getting ‘comfortable with the car’ did not take Allison long.
“We made some small changes after the first session to the car and that helped a lot in the second session. Once we had the car as best as it could be, it was just a matter of me getting comfortable with the car and the track.”
Allison put in 31 laps in the afternoon session to get to know the “Tricky Triangle”.
“The biggest thing for me was figuring out where I was going and what the car wanted from me. I think we have a really good shot at this. Our car is good and it’s even good on old tires in the long run.”
In fact it was a good day overall for ARCA rookies, including leading SCOTT Rookie Challenge driver Austin Wayne Self, who, like Allison, turned his first laps today at Pocono.
Self, 18, posted the second fastest lap of the day at 168.196 mph in the No. 22 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge.
“Testing went well today,” Self said. “We started off with a lot to learn and we exceeded expectations. I really enjoyed driving on the track and I think we’ll have a good car this weekend. Pocono is definitely an interesting and challenging track but every time we ran a lap I started liking it more and more – it has character and I’m ready to race it.”
The only prior experience Self had at Pocono was through video games.
“The video games give you an idea of what to expect, but nothing like the real thing. You could get away with a lot online, but if you tried it at the track, you’d probably end up in the wall.”
Mason Mitchell (Mason Mitchell Motorsports), Justin Boston (Venturini Motorsports) and Frank Kimmel (Win-Tron Racing) completed the top-five on the overall test charts, respectively.
In all, 24 drivers posted time and speed in preparation for this Saturday’s Pocono ARCA 200, the 58th ARCA race on the Pocono triangle since 1983.