By Brian Eberly, Contributing Writer
MADISON, Ill. — Sheldon Creed earned the General Tire Pole Award for Friday night’s ARCA Racing Series Papa Nicholas 150 at Gateway Motorsports Park. The top starting position was the second of his career in his 27th start. Creed’s lap on the repaved track shattered the previous ARCA qualifying record, set by Tim Steele (33.646 seconds, 133.745 mph) in 2001.
Creed leads the championship standings by 55 points over his MDM Motorsports teammate Zane Smith and picks up an additional five championship points from his qualifying effort. Creed’s lap also establishes ARCA as the fastest stock car series at Gateway Motorsports Park as it was also quicker than established track records for the NASCAR XFINITY Series and the Camping World Truck Series.
Christina Eckes, Harrison Burton, Riley Herbst and Zane Smith rounded out the top-five.
Eckes, Herbst, and Smith are pulling double duty this weekend and running the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event on Saturday at Gateway. Eckes is making his second Truck Series start while Herbst and Smith are making their debuts.
Chase Purdy, Joseph Graf Jr, Bret Holmes, Natalie Decker and Gus Dean rounded out the top-ten.
Heavy and persistent rain throughout the afternoon resulted in qualifying being replaced with the final practice session and cumulative practice speeds from the abbreviated morning session and the final practice session setting the starting grid.
ARCA returns to the 1.25-mile oval outside of St. Louis for the first time since 2007. Friday night’s race also marks the halfway point of the 2018 season.
The race will be televised live on Fox Sports 2 (FS2) beginning at 9:00 p.m. EST. Live timing and scoring will be available at ARCARacing.com.