MILLVILLE, N.J. – Andrew Ranger won the Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell Saturday and will start up front for Sunday’s ARCA Racing Series Great Railing 150 at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Ranger set a track record by circling the 2.25-mile Thunderbolt Raceway in 79.426 seconds, or 101.982 mph. He will start first in the No. 53 RRT Design & Construction Dodge. Justin Boston, in the No. 25 ZLOOP Toyota, will start second with Matt Tifft third in the No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet.
Ranger was excited about his lap time.
“We don’t have time to test the car,” he said. “So, when we got here, we used the morning as a test.”
When he came into the garage after the first of two test sessions with the top speed, he still asked that several changes be made to the car.
“There was a lot to do,” he said. “The shifter was not in the right place and the brake pedal wasn’t right and the steering wheel was too far to the right. Like I said, we don’t have time to test that car, so we come here and have to make these changes at the track.”
By qualifying, Ranger’s car was definitely ready to go. He turned his record lap on his second time around the course during group qualifying and shut it off, coasting to pit road content with the lap.
“I asked my guy for the time and once I knew I hit the bullseye, I shut it off,” he said. “Tomorrow is a long race. I won’t push the car early like we pushed today. I have to save it.”
Boston was happy with his lap, too. He was actually fastest in the second practice Saturday.
“I’m really happy with it,” he said. “The ZLOOP Toyota car is really stout. He’s going to be tough to beat, but they call it a race for a reason. Anything can happen in a race.”
Tom Hessert will go off fourth in the Caregard-AxiomWarranty.com Dodge for Cunningham Motorsports. Joey Coulter turned the fifth-fastest lap in the No. 23 Allegiant Travel Chevrolet in a replacement driver role for Spencer Gallagher, who missed all on-track activity Saturday. Coulter’s crew overcame an in-car fire during the second practice run. The crew repaired the car in time for qualifying.
Brian Wong will start sixth for Venturini Motorsports and Frank Kimmel seventh in the Ansell-Menards Toyota. Josh Williams is eighth in the Southwest Florida Cable Construction Chevrolet, Raul Orlandini ninth in the Kimmel Racing Ford and series point leader Grant Enfinger 10th.
Enfinger will be making just his second road course start in the No. 90 Triple K Construction-Motor Honey-Casite Ford.
“I feel like the car is a little bit better than the driver right now,” Enfinger said. “Our goal is to get ourselves in a position to be in the top five at the end. We’ll play it smart and see what we have at the end.”
Mason Mitchell enters the race second in the point standings in the No. 98 Thermal Technology Services Ford. He will start 13th.