Teenager Buescher Grabs ARCA Pole On First Trip To 'Dega
James Buescher’s first appearance on a superspeedway is off to a good start, as the 18-year-old Texas native captured the pole position for Friday’s running of the ARCA RE/MAX Series 250 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Buescher turned a fast lap of 185.967 mph during Thursday’s qualifying for the ARCA 250. That was good enough to edge out Tom Hessert III, who will start on the outside pole after his qualifying run of 184.943.
“This is my first Superspeedway (race),” Buescher said. “I tested at Daytona earlier this year. I was still 17, so I wasn’t allowed to race. This is my first Superspeedway to race on.”
James Buescher Audio Clip
Tom Hessert III Audio Clip
Even though Buescher is a Talladega rookie, he has shown in the past that he is capable of overcoming his inexperience. Buescher won a race at Lakeland, Fla., last year two days shy of his 17th birthday, making him the youngest winner in ARCA history.
“We definitely want to win the race (Friday). That’s why we’re here,” Buescher said. “We wouldn’t have come here if we didn’t have a shot at winning it. That’s definitely the goal.”
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who is second in the ARCA point standings, qualified third with a speed of 184.733 mph. He was followed by Bobby Gerhart in fourth at 184.655, Eddie Mercer fifth (184.576), A.J. Henriksen sixth (184.473), points-leader Scott Speed seventh (184.402) and Justin Marks eighth (184.235).
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Audio Clip
Retired dirt bike racer Ricky Carmichael, who will make his ARCA RE/MAX Series debut in Friday’s race, qualified ninth with a fast lap of 184.232 mph.
Carmichael is nicknamed G.O.A.T, which stands for Greatest Of All Time, for his record-setting 150 career victories and 15 championships in AMA Motocross competition. But racing in the draft at Talladega Superspeedway is an entirely new experience for Carmichael, who received a sample of what it’s like during Thursday’s ARCA practice sessions.
“I didn’t think, ‘What was I doing here,’ but I couldn’t believe how much you move around in the draft. I really couldn’t. That blew me away,” Carmichael said. “We were all over the place. That’s what amazed me the most. It was a pretty neat feeling.
“You’ve always seen it on TV, but to be actually in it, I look forward to being in it with a lot more guys. I think the feeling will be more of an experience.”
Nine-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel will start in the 33rd spot in Friday’s race after posting a qualifying speed of 179.841. Kimmel has 74 victories in his ARCA career, five short of the series record of 79 held by Iggy Katona.
“We’re not very happy with it,” Kimmel said of his qualifying run. “It’s going to draft OK (in the race), but it’s just too slow right now.”
Mike Harmon, the only Alabama native in the race, turned in a fast lap of 179.828 and had to take a provisional in order to make the 43-car field. He will start in the 41st position, but remains optimistic that the car will perform better once the race begins. />
“It’s the best driving car that I’ve ever had here,” said Harmon, a native of Birmingport. “I think the car will be good in the draft. We came down here with a race setup, not a qualifying setup. With a little luck, we can get this monkey off our back. I think we’ll be all right.”
Friday’s ARCA RE/MAX Series 250 is scheduled to start at 4 p.m., with driver introductions set for 3:30.
Children age 11 and younger will be admitted free of charge with a ticketed adult in the general admission grandstands area for all of Friday’s activities, including the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Qualifying and the ARCA RE/MAX Series 250 race. Tickets are still available to the AMP Energy 500 event weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, which includes the ARCA RE/MAX Series 250 race on Friday, the Mountain Dew 250 Fueled by Winn-Dixie NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on Saturday and the AMP Energy 500, race four in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on Sunday. Tickets may be ordered by calling 1-877- Go2-DEGA, by logging onto www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or on-site at the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office located on Speedway Boulevard at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.