ARCA Racing Series Iowa Prairie Meadows 200 Race Preview and Open Thread

Nine-time ARCA Series Champion Frank Kimmel prior to qualifying for the International Hall of Fame 250 at Talladega Superspeedway in May 2012. Kimmel is currently fourth in the ARCA Series Championship standings.

The ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards resumes tonight with a primetime race from the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. The season has been one of the most tightly contested in series history with seven different winners in 10 races and no driver winning more than two races.

Brennan Poole, Chris Buescher and Alex Bowman lead the series with two wins a piece and thus lead the standings with Poole holding a slim 10-point advantage over Buescher and just 165 over Alex Bowman, who has dropped to fourth behind a surging Frank Kimmel. Kimmel is now third, 160 points behind Poole.

ARCA utilizes a different championship system than NASCAR, with the race winner receiving 200 points for a victory. 25 points are also awarded to any driver who makes the field with point totals of 15, 10, and 5 going to the top-three in qualifying. Five bonus points are also awarded to any driver who leads a lap.

That goes to show you just how tight the standing are, entering tonight's Prairie Meadows 200.

[Read more: Complete ARCA Series championship standings]

Brennan Poole is the pole sitter for tonight's race, having set a fast time of 23.799 seconds around the .875-mile speedway. He's hoping to become the first driver to reach three wins and extend his championship lead over a quickly-closing Buescher, Bowman, and Kimmel.

The resurgent Kimmel has been the most-consistent driver over 10-races this season but has had trouble finishing races until just recently. Kimmel finished the first two races of the season in 23rd and 17th but was running in the top-five in both races. He led laps at Daytona and appeared to have something for the leaders at Mobile before getting punted on the backstretch.

Kimmel is a nine-time ARCA Series champion but is currently mired in a 72-race winless streak. The streak will end this season and it could be as early as tonight at Iowa.

The complete starting lineup and additional ARCA news and notes can be found after the jump.

The aforementioned Poole is the pole-sitter and will share the front row with Bowman. Ryan Reed will start third, just ahead of debut starter Chad Boat. Clay Rogers, who took the top spot from Poole, will start fifth for just his second race in 2012.

Sixteen-year-old Erik Jones gives Venturini Motorsports not only the pole, but three cars in the top six, as he will fill the third row. Chad Hackenbracht and Grant Enfinger will each look for their first career win from the fourth row. 2010 Iowa winner Tom Hessert will start 15th.

Enfinger made headlines earlier this month, separating from long-time business partners Bragg Racing Group. Enfinger made several starts in a super late model and Camping World Truck Series entry for the team and is making his first start since ending that relationship. He qualified eighth.

The Prairie Meadows 200 is the 11th race of the season and can be seen live tonight on the SPEED Network. The television broadcast starts at 9 p.m. EST with the green flag dropping shortly thereafter. See you in the comments section.

ARCA Prairie Meadows 200 Starting Lineup

1.) Brennan Poole/The Woodlands TX No. 25
Chevrolet
2.) Alex Bowman/Tucson AZ No. 22 Dodge
3.) Ryan Reed/Bakersfield CA No. 15
Toyota
4.) Chad Boat/Phoenix AZ No. 98
Chevrolet
5.) Clay Rogers/Troutman NC No. 45 Chevrolet
6.) Erik Jones/Byron MI No. 55
Chevrolet
7.) Chad Hackenbracht/New Philadephia OH No. 58
Chevrolet
8.) Grant Enfinger/Fairhope AL No. 36
Dodge
9.) Mason Mitchell/W. Des Moines IA No. 6
Chevrolet
10.) Frank Kimmel/Clarksville IN No. 44
Toyota
11.) Matt Lofton/Roxboro NC No. 16
Chevrolet
12.) Jared Marks/Napoleon OH No. 12
Dodge
13.) Michael Leavine/Bullard TX No. 95
Ford
14.) Chris Buescher/Prosper TX No. 17
Ford
15.) Tom Hessert/Cherry Hill NJ No. 52
Chevrolet
16.) Spencer Gallagher/Las Vegas NV No. 23 Chevrolet
17.) Josh Williams/Port Charlotte FL No. 02
Ford
18.) Mason Mingus/Brentwood TN No. 32
Chevrolet
19.) Michael Simko/White Lake MI No. 41
Chevrolet
20.) Brandon Davis/Huntington Beach CA No. 99
Ford
21.) Will Kimmel/Sellersburg IN No. 68
Ford
22.) Milka Duno/Caracas Venezuela No. 94
Toyota
23.) Zach Ralston/Springville IA No. 90
Chevrolet
24.) Drew Charlson/New Bremen OH No. 3
Dodge
25.) Korbin Forrister/Cedartown GA No. 69
Ford
26.) Buster Graham/Lafayette LA No. 88
Ford
27.) Bobby Gerhart/Lebanon PA No. 5
Chevrolet
28.) Larry Barford Jr./Denton MD No. 04
Dodge
29.) Roger Carter/Sunfield MI No. 40
Dodge
30.) Rick Clifton/Circleville OH No. 10
Chevrolet
31.) Mike Affarano/Shorewood IL No. 18
Ford
32.) Darrell Basham/Henryville IN No. 34
Chevrolet
33.) Nelson Canache/Caracas Venezuela No. 66
Chevrolet
34.) Tom Berte/New Berlin WI No. 35
Chevrolet
35.) James Hylton/Inman SC No. 48
Ford
36.) Tommy O'Leary/Cygnet OH No. 06
Ford
37.) Scott Null/Lake Mills WI No. 0
Ford
38.) Mike Koch/Mountain Home AR No. 79
Chevrolet
39.) Joseph Hughs/Springfield IL No. 64
Dodge
40. Dale Shearer/Chillicothe MO No. 73
Ford
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