TOLEDO, Ohio – Fifteen-year-old rookie Chandler Smith was awarded the ARCA Racing Series pole at Toledo Speedway on Saturday after rain washed out qualifying for the Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care.
Smith, in the No. 20 Smith General Contracting/Venturini Motorsports-prepared Toyota, put in the fastest time in practice before rains washed out qualifying. ARCA officials set the starting field for Sunday’s race based on practice speeds, giving Smith the pole.
The Talking Rock, Ga., driver is the first competitor in series history to start from the pole in his first three series starts. He previously won the General Tire Pole for the events at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn., and Salem (Ind.) Speedway this year.
“We had a really good practice…we could have picked up more in a mock run,” said Smith “But that’s okay. In race trim we’re really good. This car is really sporty…we’re going to be really good tomorrow. This just doesn’t get old. I could do this every day.”
Smith’s best finish so far is fifth in his first start at Nashville. At Salem he was racing his teammate Christian Eckes for the lead on the last lap when he cut a right-front tire. Smith is optimistic about his chances Sunday at Toledo, but not overly confident.
“We’ll see…I don’t want to jinx myself. I like this track so far. You can sort of clip the grass in three and four to help turn the car. It’s going to be an interesting race tomorrow.”
Smith will be joined on the front row by Zane Smith, who has won two of the first four races so far this year. Christian Eckes will start third, followed by Chase Purdy and ARCA points leader Sheldon Creed.
Harrison Burton, Riley Herbst, Gus Dean, Joe Graf Jr. and Brandon Grosso complete the top-10.