Kansas Speedway hosts the ARCA Menards Series for the second time this season with Saturday’s (Sept. 10) running of the Kansas Lottery 150. It’s the only track the series visits twice in 2022, a 100-lap race with 21 drivers entered to compete for the checkered flag.
Points leader Nick Sanchez unquestionably is a favorite heading to the heart of the Midwest. Sanchez has won back-to-back ARCA Kansas events, and he also won the series’ most recent race held at an intermediate oval, Michigan International Speedway.
“Our team excels on 1.5-mile tracks,” Sanchez said in a team release. “Even though we won the last two races in Kansas, we still could have made improvements to our car, and I’m looking forward to competing for the win this Saturday.”
If Sanchez indeed is victorious, he will become the first ARCA driver to win three straight events at a track since Sam Mayer swept the three 2020 Toledo Speedway races.
Kansas this Saturday in the @GainbridgeLife Chevy. 👊 pic.twitter.com/WtUhkreidU
— Nicholas Sanchez (@Nicksanchez080) September 8, 2022
Sanchez leads GMS Racing’s Daniel Dye by 10 points for the ARCA championship with four races left in the 2022 season. Dye started sixth and finished third in the earlier ARCA Kansas race this season, his first at the 1.5-mile track.
Dye’s crew chief Chad Bryant has been at Kansas three times as an ARCA head wrench with three different drivers. Each time, Bryant has progressively improved his results; can he guide Dye to his first ARCA victory of 2022?
Sanchez’s Rev Racing teammate Rajah Caruth suffered his career-worst day in the most recent ARCA race this season, held at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in Illinois. Caruth collided with Dye to bring out the first caution flag, but Caruth’s troubles were far from over.
On lap 18, smoke poured out of Caruth’s No. 6, and his day was over, winding up with a DNF and a 17th-place finish.
Caruth’s misfortune cost him dearly in the championship standings as he now trails Sanchez by 28 points. Caruth’s championship hopes are not over, but his odds of winning it are not good. He would need to gain an average of seven points per race to usurp the lead from Sanchez, a difficult hill to climb without two, perhaps three victories down the stretch.
Nevertheless, Caruth is highly confident heading into Kansas, a track where he has finished ninth and second in his two trips there.
“I feel like we are the one to beat this weekend,” Caruth said in a team release. “I feel extremely confident, the highest it’s been all year.”
Sammy Smith joins Caruth as the two drivers who will compete in both events at Kansas on Saturday. In the NASCAR Xfinity Series race, Smith will start 11th and Caruth will start 27th.
Smith has never raced at Kansas before, but he will complete 300 laps on this track in the course of a single day.
Big day tomorrow @kansasspeedway👊🏼 pic.twitter.com/th8fBRaPBH
— Sammy Smith (@sammysmithSS) September 9, 2022
Smith’s crew chief Mark McFarland has been successful at Kansas in ARCA competition. His drivers have nabbed four poles, one victory – earned by Ty Gibbs in the spring 2021 event – four top fives, four top 10s and led 218 laps in seven races there.
Switching gears, Kansas is also the last track on the ARCA schedule where drivers must be at least 18 years old to compete.
As a result, Corey Heim is making his last start in the No. 20 Venturini Motorsports Toyota. The ARCA event is Heim’s second race at Kansas this weekend as he is competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race there, too.
Heim has been quite successful at Kansas. He scored his first-ever ARCA victory there and he also led 56 laps in the earlier event held this season before a crash relegated him to a 16th-place result.
Trouble for Corey Heim and Drew Dollar as they battle for the ARCA lead at Kansas! pic.twitter.com/NbrSeI6wvO
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) May 14, 2022
“Looking back on that race, we definitely had the car to beat,” Heim told the ARCA Racing site. “We dominated the first portion, but something outside of our control took us out. The fact that we know we have a really good package that we’re taking to Kansas this weekend definitely gives me a lot of confidence. All we can do is go out and try to get the best run that we can.”
Kansas overall has been kind to Heim. In his five ARCA starts, he has one win, four top fives and four top 10s. Although he only has one victory in the 2022 ARCA season, Heim is hungry to finish off his part-time campaign by capturing another trophy.
“I’ve been so close so many times,” he continued. “There are about three races I feel like I should have won. It’s going to be important for me to roll off the truck on Saturday morning and show speed out of the gate, but I’m feeling confident that this Crescent Tools Camry is going to be pretty good.”
Heim piloted the No. 15 at DuQuoin, but he hands the reins of that Toyota to Parker Chase, back for his eighth ARCA start of 2022.
Chase started ninth and finished 10th, two laps down, in the 2021 ARCA season finale at Kansas. In his penultimate ARCA start of 2022, Chase is eager for a better day.
“Kansas is a great place to rebound and get some redemption for our Vertical Bridge Racing Team,” he said in a press release. “Last year, I was still pretty green on the bigger tracks, but I feel like I am in a completely different place this year. We were strong at both Charlotte [Motor Speedway] and Pocono [Raceway] earlier this season but unfortunately had problems outside my control that prevented us from having better finishes in the race.
“I have confidence at these bigger tracks because of the speed we had with our race cars. There isn’t a question in my mind that we’ll unload at Kansas with that same type of speed and maneuverability in our No. 15 Vertical Bridge Toyota Camry that we can practice well, qualify strong and execute during the race.”
Greg Van Alst is fourth in the championship standings, 108 points behind Sanchez. He will not win the title, but Van Alst has performed well in his first full-time ARCA season, scoring one top five and nine top 10s with a best finish of fifth at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Ahead of his fourth ARCA start at Kansas, Van Alst has a pair of seventh-place finishes there. He seeks to improve upon that in the Kansas Lottery 150.
“Every race is an opportunity for us and we don’t take that lightly,” Van Alst said in a press release. “We finished seventh at Kansas in the spring and it’s important for us to do better than that run on Saturday night.
“Last fall, I’ll admit that we were out to lunch, we struggled. However, we bounced back in May and I am confident that we can build on that finish even more Saturday night and show everyone how much we have grown as a team over the last several months.”
The ARCA competitors will hit the track Saturday, Sept. 10 for their second event at Kansas. Qualifying will take place at 11 a.m. ET, followed by the Kansas Lottery 150 at 7 p.m. ET. TV coverage will be provided by the MAVTV Motorsports Network and made 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.
A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.