The race weekend at Talladega Superspeedway kicks off with ARCA Racing Series female driver Milka Duno leading the pack. Duno, in the No. 35 CanTV-Milkaway Toyota, became the first female ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards driver since 1988 to win the pole at the famed Superspeedway.
The distinction came when the qualifying time of her fellow Venturini Motorsports teammate John Wes Townley was disallowed following post-qualifying inspections. Duno had the second-fastest time in the Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell was announced as the pole winner following the post race inspections.
The Caracas, Venezuela driver is the fourth female to win an ARCA pole award. Others are Patty Moise, Shawna Robinson and Erin Crocker.
"This is fantastic," Duno said following her award. "We have been trying, trying, trying for the pole ever since Daytona. All day, I made my crew chief (Kevin Caldwell) crazy, saying 'what do we need to do?'"
Duno, 41, qualified second behind Townley at the season-opening Daytona International Speedway race and led the first 11 laps before transmission troubles. Townley won the race. Duno had her career-best ARCA finish at Salem Speedway last weekend.
While speaking to the media Duno hinted that her good qualifying runs are not where she wants to focus right now. The driver and her Venturini Motorsports team are not resting quite yet. "We are very competitive," Duno said. "This is great. Now, I must go to my crew chief and talk about being better. I have to run the perfect race."
Local Team Nails Down Top Ten Start
Hixson Motorsports of Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee entered two cars into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 250 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Hixson Motorsports driver Drew Charlson, of Bremen, OH, qualified in the 8 spot. Charlson will be behind the wheel of the Number 3 Aluma Aluminum Trailers-J&M Chevrolet. His Hixson Motorsports teammate is Thomas Praytor or Mobile, Alabama. Prater, in the Number 2 Alabama Realtors-Golden Flake Ford, will start in the 25 position while driving the .
Friday's International Motorsports Hall of Fame 250. The race will begin at 4 p.m. (Central Standard Time) and will be broadcast live on SPEED.
(Kent Whitaker is a culinary writer and cookbook author living in Chattanooga. He is the winner of the Emeril Live BBQ contest and winner of an American Authors Association Gold medal. Mr. Whitaker’s books are in bookstores nationwide and are available online. Visit him online at www.thedeckchef.com