By Jacob Seelman, Special Contributor
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Despite a lengthy crash delay Friday just past the midpoint of ARCA Menards Series qualifying at Daytona Int’l Speedway, Connor Mosack held on to secure the General Tire Pole Award ahead of the season-opening Menards 200.
Mosack, driving the No. 18 Mobil 1 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing, turned a lap of 49.396 seconds (182.201 mph) on his one and only timed lap in qualifying group two around the 2.5-mile tri-oval.
After waiting through the remaining four groups, Mosack eventually celebrated the first pole of his national ARCA Menards Series career. He’ll make his 12th series start, and first at Daytona, on Saturday.
“For a little bit there, I thought that we might not get all of qualifying in and we’d have to go back to practice speeds, but thankfully we were able to resume,” said Mosack. “My guys at Joe Gibbs Racing brought me a really fast Toyota Camry … and it’s a good sign to start the year.
“Hopefully we’ll have a good car tomorrow and can carry that forward to the rest of our races as well.”
Mosack admitted that the “group style” of qualifying employed by ARCA at the two superspeedway races is something he hasn’t been accustomed to in his career until now, but it worked well for him.
“It’s definitely a little different, because you’re at the mercy of the group that you’re in and the draft,” Mosack explained. “Luckily, we were in a good group and had Jesse Love in there to lead us; he’s got a good car as well and everyone else was able to push, stay in line and do their jobs out there.”
Love, who hopes to deliver Venturini Motorsports its sixth straight Daytona ARCA victory and seventh in the last 11 years, will roll off alongside Mosack on the front row after posting a time of 49.419 seconds (182.116 mph) in the No. 20 Yahoo Toyota Camry.
Jason Kitzmiller posted a surprising third-place qualifying effort and will share the second row of the grid with Ryan Huff.
Modified ace Andy Jankowiak closed the top five, followed by Robby Lyons, Greg Van Alst, Scott Melton, Logan Misuraca and Gus Dean.
Practice leader and actor Frankie Muniz, who went out in the first group, was 16th fastest Friday.
Group four provided a nearly 20-minute stoppage after Amber Balcaen lost an engine in her Venturini Motorsports Toyota, leading to a multi-car crash that also collected the No. 8 of Sean Corr.
Saturday’s Menards 200 for the ARCA Menards Series is slated for a 1:30 p.m. ET green flag, with live coverage on FS1 and the Motor Racing Network.