Sheldon Creed, driver of the No. 28 United Rentals Toyota for MDM Motorsports, locked up the 2018 General Tire Pole Award when Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 20 Smith General Contractors/Craftsman Toyota for Venturini Motorsports, qualified fifth for last Saturday's Shore Lunch 200, the final ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards short track race of the season.
Creed, the current ARCA Racing Series championship leader with one event remaining in the season, has scored four General Tire Poles on the season, including a string of three in a row at Gateway Motorsports Park, Chicagoland Speedway, and Iowa Speedway. His fourth of the season at the DuQuoin State Fair tied him with Smith, who at just 16 years of age is not eligible to compete on superspeedways meaning Creed wins the tie breaker regardless of where he qualifies for the finale at Kansas Speedway in two weeks.
“Winning the General Tire Pole Award for the season is particularly cool for me because when I started racing stock cars I was a terrible qualifier and it really hurt my race results," Creed said. "So now to get the most in a year is pretty satisfying and I can’t thank Jeff Stankiewicz and my whole MDM Motorsports crew enough for giving me really fast cars all year.”
Although he didn't win the season-long pole award, Smith's qualifying performances have been nothing short of record setting in 2018. His four General Tire Pole Awards came in his first four career ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards starts, making him the first driver in ARCA Racing Series history to start from the pole in his first four starts.
Smith started from the pole at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Salem Speedway, Toledo Speedway, and Madison International Speedway to start his ARCA Racing Series career.
"Starting up front is extremely important," Smith said. "Track position is everything. If you're up front you're less likely to get caught up in someone else’s problems trying to drive back up through the field. Being able to control the pace of the race is a huge advantage.
I don’t measure my success on starting position but starting off with four consecutive poles is definitely something very cool. ARCA has been around a long time. There have been so many great drivers and teams throughout the years. Kinda hard to believe I was the first. I’m really proud to add my name to the ARCA record books."
Gus Dean, driver of the No. 32 GREE Cooling Products/Baker Distributing Chevrolet and Christian Eckes, driver of the No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota have both scored a pair of General Tire Pole Awards in 2018, with Dean taking the top spot in qualifying at Pocono Raceway in July and at the Springfield Mile. Eckes started from the General Tire Pole at Elko Speedway and at Lucas Oil Raceway last Saturday, from which he went on to score his second win of the season.
Other drivers to earn General Tire Pole Awards in 2018 include Natalie Decker, driver of the No. 25 N29 Capital Partners Toyota at Daytona International Speedway, Michael Self, driver o the No. 15 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota at Talladega Superspeedway, Todd Gilliland, driver of the No. 54 DGR-Crosley Toyota at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Noah Gragson driver of the No. 54 DGR-Crosley Toyota at Pocono Raceway in June, Brandon Jones, driver of the No. 12 Mobil 1 Toyota at Michigan International Speedway, Carson Hocevar, driver of the No. 35 KBR Development Chevrolet at Berlin Raceway, and Zane Smith driver of the No. 41 LaPaz Margarita Mix/ICON Vehicle Dynamics Toyota at Salem Speedway in September.
There is one final race in the 2018 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season, the Kansas ARCA 150 at Kansas Speedway, scheduled for Friday, October 19. Practice is scheduled at 11:30 am ET/10:30 am CT, General Tire Pole Qualifying is set for 6:05 pm ET/5:05 pm CT, and the green flag slated to wave on the season finale at 8:30 pm ET/7:30 pm CT. The race will be televised live on either FS1 or FS2, depending on Major League Baseball playoffs; ARCARacing.com will have live timing & scoring, track updates, and scanner audio during all on-track sessions free for registered users.