What’s in a number?

For ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards veteran driver Mark Thompson, a history-making pole position. 

The number in question – 63 – is Thompson’s age, which made him the oldest pole winner in a major race at Daytona International Speedway, following Friday’s qualifying for the Lucas Oil 200 presented by AutoZone, set for today at DIS. Thompson won his first ARCA pole award in 17 years, with a fast lap of 187.336 mph during group qualifying in the 2.5-mile tri-oval.  

“Winning the pole at Daytona is a big deal,” said Thompson, driver of the No. 11 Phoenix Air-Ken Schrader Racing Toyota. “It’s special. There’s probably not another place I’d rather win the pole than here.” 

Thompson won three previous Menards Pole Awards in ARCA competition, all at Michigan International Speedway – two in 1996 and one in 1997.

Saturday’s race will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 4 p.m.

 

                            *      *      *      *      *

Starting position for Saturday night’s (8:15 p.m. ET; FOX) Sprint Unlimited – the first 2015 event for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams – was determined by a random draw Friday by race fans and team’s respective crew chiefs. Paul Menard got the pole and will lead the 25-car field to the green flag in the No. 27 Peak/Menards Chevrolet. The Sprint Unlimited includes 2014 pole winners, former Sprint Unlimited winners and DAYTONA 500 pole winners who competed full time in 2014, and Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers from 2014.           

Friday night, two Sprint Unlimited practice sessions were held. The 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, Kurt Busch, led the first session (200.749 mph); four-time series champion Jeff Gordon, starting his final season, led the second session (196.764). 

Tickets for the 57th annual DAYTONA 500 and all Budweiser Speedweeks 2015 events are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or visiting www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com. 

Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtag #DAYTONA500 and #SPEEDWEEKS. Fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for the latest news all season long. Fans can follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch renovation at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising on Twitter or visiting www.daytonarising.com.