||The UARA Top Ten Countdown - 1st Brennan Poole 2011 Champion
HENDERSONVILLE, NC – When the UARA-STARS season kicked off at Hickory in March, no one realized that season opening race would be a microcosm of the season to come. Eventual 2011 Champion Brennan Poole won the race, while 2011 Rookie of the Year and points runner-up George Miedecke mounted a hard challenge for the win but ended up in the second spot after 150 laps. Kyle Grissom ended up third and Alex Yontz fifth, just as they did in the season-ending points tally, too.
Exceptional performances by the entire top five in points were a normal occurrence during 2011, but the seasons of Miedecke and Poole stood out above the rest of the competition. The first-year and third-year competitors, respectively, are both products of Fat Head Racing’s driver development programs and also piloted ARCA Racing Series cars for Venturini Motorsports during 2011 with great success.
Brennan Poole started the season with a dirt floor and a building full of old, useless equipment that hadn’t been used for years. After leaving Yelton’s Fat Head team, Poole and his father Tom started their own operation. Despite claiming 6 wins in 2010, the Texas natives recruited the people, built the cars, and managed the finances of a single-car UARA team vying for the championship.
“There was so much old junk in this building that we still have piles of scrap out back,” said Poole after the year with a laugh. “I thought we were crazy when we were moving in with a little over a month or so left until the season started and we still didn’t really have the car even close to ready. I don’t know how some of these guys do it. It’s pretty stressful. My guys are just awesome to be able to do that and win three of the first four races of the year.”
Poole had what many would consider to be a dream season 2010. He won six races, including his career first at Tri-County Motor Speedway. He missed the championship by just 28 points when Coleman Pressley claimed the title.
In 2011, he started out in even more dominating fashion than he showed in 2010. He won at Hickory and Kingsport, finished second at Newport, and visited victory lane again when the series visited Rockingham Speedway in May.
“It really meant a lot to me to win at Rockingham. To have my name on the big rock out front with the names of my heroes – Pearson, Petty, Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, all of those guys – that’s pretty awesome,” said Poole.
Poole visited victory lane only once more in July at Lonesome Pine Raceway, but his model of consistency made it hard for any of his pursuers to gain points on the No. 7 Midas Car Care/NOS Energy/Smokey’s Inc. Chevrolet. Up
until the 12th race of the season at Greenville, Poole finished no worse than fifth all year long. At Greenville, he and Miedecke tangled on the first lap, collecting several cars and placing a hurdle in their paths for the night. Poole, ever the battle-tested Texas “bull,” soldiered on to a ninth place finish with a damaged racecar. A blown engine at the season ending race in Rockingham was his only DNF of the season after wrapping up the title a week prior at Concord.
“This one’s for all of my guys. It really stung last year missing it by the little bit that we did, but this one is for them,” Poole said. “It’s hard to believe that as long as David King and the rest of this team has been around late model racing, this is their first championship of any kid. That means a lot to me, to be able to be the guy who brings that home for them. They’ve been awesome to me the past three years and I can’t think of any better way to repay them.”
Poole, like so many UARA graduates, has plans to advance up the motorsports ladder. After winning in his very first ARCA start earlier this year, he will be piloting the No. 25 Chevrolet for Venturini Motorsports in pursuit of the ARCA Racing Series title.
“I’m really excited about next year,” exclaimed Poole. “Billy and those guys have great equipment and we had a shot to win every time we unloaded this year. Next year should be unreal. We’re still going to have the late model, though. We hope to start a driver development program and maybe run a few UARA races on the off weeks from ARCA. It’d be really cool to have a driver for David King to mentor just like he did me, however. And UARA has been the best learning experience I’ve ever had in a racecar.”
As in years past, the graduates of the UARA-STARS have aspired to greatness in other series of racing for 2012. Poole is arguably one of the hottest prospects in all of stock car racing and will be competing at Daytona to start the 2012 season with ARCA.
Kyle Grissom, David Roberts and Alex Yontz completed the top five in UARA year-end points. Scott Turlington, Ronnie Bassett, Jr., Joey Herques, Kaleb Pressley and Andy Mercer completed the top ten. Poole, with four victories led the season-long win total with other victories going to Ronnie Bassett, Jr. (2), Garrett Campbell (2), Jeremy Burns (1), Kyle Grissom (1), Andy Mercer (1), Corey LaJoie (1), Lee Tissot (1), Steve Wallace (1) and Alex Yontz (1).
Fans are able to keep up with the UARA’s drivers past and present via the series’ website at uara-stars.com, or join the conversations and the discussions on the series’ Facebook page under the United Auto Racing Association. With promising new talent declaring their 2012 intentions so early in the offseason, the 2012 season could be one of the best in the 11-year history of the UARA-STARS.
For more information on the UARA, visit them online at www.uara-stars.com or call (828) 692-3833.
Fans can also follow the series on Twitter (@uarastars) or Facebook (United Auto Racing Association)