For the second time this year, the ARCA Menards Series and ARCA Menards Series East will have a combination race, this time at the Milwaukee Mile. The Sprecher 150 will be the seventh ARCA race at this 1-mile track in West Allis, Wisconsin. Who will be the drivers to watch?
Nick Sanchez increased his points lead to 13 over Daniel Dye and 17 over Rajah Caruth after the ARCA doubleheader weekend at Watkins Glen International and the Illinois State Fairgrounds, also known as the Springfield Mile. Although this championship battle is far from over, Sanchez has emerged as the title favorite.
All three drivers competed in the ARCA event at Milwaukee last year. Dye finished third, Sanchez finished 12th and Caruth finished 13th.
Dye has one win — at Berlin Raceway in 2021 — four top fives and six top 10s in his nine-race ARCA short track career.
Milwaukee vibes for this week 😎
— GMS Racing (@GMSRacingLLC) August 24, 2022
The Rev Racing duo of Sanchez and Caruth have both struggled in their ARCA short-track careers. In 13 short track starts, Sanchez has three top fives and nine top-10 finishes, with the best finish of third place at Toledo Speedway.
Still, Sanchez has enjoyed a career-best season with career highs in wins, laps led, both average starting and finishing position and fewer DNFs.
In his first full-time main ARCA campaign, Caruth has only led 34 laps. Even though he has 11 top-10 finishes, he only has five top fives, the fewest of the trio.
Moreover, in his seven short track starts, Caruth has two top fives and six top 10s with his best finish of third place last year at Salem Speedway.
However, with his experience at Milwaukee, hopefully, Caruth will be able to regain some points on his two championship competitors.
Jesse Love is not in line for any ARCA title this year, but the two-time ARCA Menards Series West champion earned his second main ARCA victory in the series’ most recent race this season at the Springfield Mile.
Love finished seventh in the 2021 ARCA event at Milwaukee, but he has higher hopes for this year’s iteration.
“Go there and do what we can to win the race,” Love told Racing News Now. “I think we got our flat track package a lot better from last year to this year. Iowa [Speedway] was a place I was terrible at last year and I almost won the race this year. Dover [Motor Speedway] was a place that was embarrassing for me last year and I almost won the race this year. Hopefully, it follows the same pattern, and I know that I can do it. I think that we got our cars a lot better.
“Shannon Rursch [crew chief of the No. 20] … and everyone over there at Venturini Motorsports … everybody is doing everything they can to make fast racecars and I think that we’re getting our package a lot better. I’m just going to go execute and I think that we’ll have a very good weekend.”
In the East standings, Sammy Smith leads Taylor Gray by 27 points with two events to go this season – here at Milwaukee and then another combination race with the main series at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Despite being only 18 years old, Smith has already racked up an impressive racing resume. He won the East title last year and has six victories. In the main series, he has two victories and leads the series in laps led.
Smith also has begun an impressive NASCAR Xfinity Series career. He earned his series career-best third-place finish at Watkins Glen.
Smith also will run double duty this weekend as he will compete in the Xfinity race at Daytona International Speedway. Is he auditioning for a full-time Xfinity ride next year?
“I have a management team that deals with all that, so I’m not too in tuned with that,” Smith told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I just try to focus on going to the racetrack and being productive and trying to win races.”
Smith has eight career ARCA-sanctioned victories, but he believes he should have more this year.
“I feel like we should have had at least five or six,” he said. “We’ve either been taken out in a couple of them or we’ve had mechanical issues or taken ourselves out of them. We feel like we should have more than two wins right now, but I guess that’s how it goes. It’s part of racing. But we’ve had a car to win every time.”
Last year, Ty Gibbs waxed the ARCA field at Milwaukee, leading every lap while his teammate Smith finished fifth after starting second. This year, Smith wants to finish the Sprecher 150 in victory lane.
“We were really good in practice and qualifying, and we made some adjustments through the race that hurt me,” Smith continued. “But I feel like we’ll have a good balance going back there. It’s probably one of my favorite tracks. I just remember during the race the fall-off (in speed over the life of a set of tires) was pretty big. I think it fell off 2-3 seconds, which as a driver, it’s always fun to try to work around that.”
As for Gray, he is tied for the most ARCA victories this season (three) and has accumulated a whopping 22 top fives and 29 top 10s in 32 career starts. In short, he certainly will be one to watch as he finished fourth at Milwaukee last year.
The 28-driver field will also feature a series record of six females.
We have been working to confirm this all day and yes, it is a record for the most female drivers in a single ARCA Menards Series race. https://t.co/uGL5rLnexp
— Charles Krall (@ChasKrall) August 24, 2022
Gibbs was the only leader last year at Milwaukee. Expect that number to be at least five, as eight of the 13 ARCA events have featured at least five lead changes.
The Sprecher 150 will take place at 3 p.m. ET with TV coverage provided by MAVTV Motorsports Network and available on FloRacing.
About the author
Mark Kristl joined Frontstretch at the beginning of the 2019 NASCAR season. He is the site's ARCA Menards Series editor. Kristl is also an Eagle Scout and a proud University of Dayton alum.
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