Poole breaks through
with his first Kentucky
ARCA Racing Series victory
in ZLOOP 150
Louisville's Ben Rhodes leads 26 laps,
finishes 17th after late wreck.
SPARTA, Ky. (Sept. 19, 2014) – Pit strategy vaulted Brennan Poole to the lead in the ZLOOP 150 on Friday, Sept. 19, but the final 27 laps showed his car belonged up front. The Texan earned his sixth career ARCA Racing Series victory and first this season by holding off Matt Tifft by 1.301 of a second at Kentucky Speedway. The triumph tripped a memory from nine years ago when Poole won a Legend Car race on the speedway's quarter-mile track.
"I remember looking at the big track when I was a kid, and it was overwhelming," he said. “I went to victory lane that day. To be there again after winning on the big track, it’s just nuts.”
Series points leader Mason Mitchell started second and finished third, followed by Cody Coughlin and Daniel Suarez. Mitchell started the race with 60-point lead over Grant Enfinger and left with a 200-point lead in the standings with one race remaining on the schedule.
An engine failure ruined Enfinger’s shot to keep pace with Mitchell. He completed a mere 19 laps and finished 30th.
Ben Rhodes appeared to have the car to beat, but his bid to become the first Kentuckian to win a major racing series event at Kentucky Speedway ended with 14 laps remaining.
Racing for third position with Tifft, the two cars made contact in Turn 2. Rhodes was on the inside and got the worst of it, hitting the wall and forcing him to the garage with heavy damage.
The senior at Louisville’s Holy Cross High School, who has clinched the K&N Pro Series East championship, finished 27th in the No. 41 Chevrolet.
After the race, he said Tifft could have given him more room.
“We had the faster car; we were running him down,” Rhodes said. “I really wanted some clean air so I could pass the leaders but unfortunately I guess that’s the way it goes. I learned a lot, and that’s what we set out to do.”
He led 26 total laps and held a 5.9 second when the third of four cautions in the race came out.
Nine drivers elected to stay out and not pit. Poole, who was running in second before the caution, was one of them. Rhodes ducked onto pit road for tires and fell back to 12th as a result while Poole took the lead on Lap 74 of 100.
Poole’s car struggled in traffic but he knew it would be fast in clean air. On the final restart with nine laps remaining, Poole quickly distanced himself from Tifft and cruised to the victory.
“Out front it was just flying,” he said. “I lost so much momentum in the dirty air that I couldn’t pass people, so it made it a struggle. Once I got up front, and got that track position, the car was just unreal.”
Tempers flared after the checkered flag.
As cars funneled onto pit road on their way back to the garage, Mitchell missed the turn and had to stop and back up. Josh Williams was behind Mitchell and Mitchell’s car backed into his. Williams ran into the back of Mitchell’s car and pushed it semi-sideways through the garage.
The incident didn’t dampen his spirits about potentially locking up the title on Oct. 3 at Kansas Speedway.
“It’s unfortunate Grant had problems,” Mitchell said. “We’ve had good battles back and forth all year. It is what it is. We’ve got a good points lead now and just have to go and be smooth at Kansas.”
Back to Kentucky Speedway 2014 Articles.