Though fastest in ARCA practice at Talladega, points leader Steve Arpin was unable to translate that into a pole run on Thursday afternoon. That honor instead went to Cunningham Motorsports rookie driver Dakoda Armstrong, who will share the front row with one of Arpin’s teammates at Venturini Motorsports, Mikey Kile.
Rounding out the top five were Justin Marks, RCR development driver Tim George Jr. and Arpin. Marks, who entered the weekend trailing Arpin by 10 markers for the ARCA points lead, cut that gap in half by qualifying third (ARCA rewards 15 points for a pole, 10 for qualifying second and 5 for third).
Several contenders in the ARCA title hunt had disappointing efforts in qualifying, with Patrick Sheltra lining up 15th and Frank Kimmel a distant 23rd. Kimmel, who is riding a stretch of consecutive top 10s but has yet to find the dominant form that saw him win eight consecutive ARCA titles driving for former owner Larry Clement, has a solid career record at Talladega, including his only career restrictor-plate victory and nine top-10 finishes in 12 starts.
A number of NASCAR competitors and prospects are entered in Friday’s 250-miler at Talladega, including James Buescher, who will start seventh, Ricky Carmichael (14th), Chad McCumbee (17th) and Brandon McReynolds (18th). John Wes Townley was scheduled to run this race in a fourth Venturini Motorsports car, but he has been replaced by Hal Martin in the No. 35 Zaxby’s Toyota.
The ARCA 250 at Talladega will be broadcast on SPEED at 5 p.m. ET.