Race Weekend Central

ARCA Preview: Dawn 150 at Kansas Speedway

The ARCA Menards Series rolls into the Kansas Speedway this weekend, as the field tackles its first 1.5-mile track of the 2023 season.

Twenty-eight teams are entered to take on the Dawn 150 on Saturday (May 6), with many of the drivers, including points leader Frankie Muniz and championship favorite Jesse Love, taking to the track for the first time in their careers this weekend.

That number is up significantly from both Kansas races in 2022, as the spring event had 19 entrants, and the fall event had 21 drivers take the green flag a few months later. 

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It’ll be the 25th time the ARCA Menards Series has raced in Kansas, dating back to 2001, when Jason Jarrett won the inaugural event. The track has seen 20 unique winners over that time, with current NASCAR Cup Series drivers Chase Briscoe, Alex Bowman, and Ty Gibbs all taking the checkered flag at the track. 

Muniz enters the race 12 points ahead of second place Love. That margin grew from three points after Talladega Superspeedway, as Love and teammate Gus Dean were each penalized eight driver points following Talladega. Both the Venturini Motorsports’ No. 20 and No. 25 were also docked eight owner points each. As for Muniz, it’ll be the first time he has tackled a mile-and-a-half track, as he is making just his fourth career ARCA start.

 “I’m looking forward to Kansas, although I am not really sure what to expect,” Muniz said via a team press release. “I’ve never raced anything close to an intermediate track before, but I am hoping some of the fundamentals that I learned on a superspeedway such as side-drafting will be something that I can apply throughout the weekend.”

As for Love, it’ll also be his first time on a mile-and-a-half track, though he is driving a car that dominated both events last season. Corey Heim won the fall race in the No. 20, leading all but four laps, and lead nearly half of the race in the spring edition, before being taken out in a wreck.

Fellow Venturini Motorsport driver Toni Breidinger will debut a new sponsor at Kansas, as Victoria’s Secret will join the team. It was previously announced that the company would sponsor Breidinger’s debut in the Craftsmans Truck Series this weekend, but it appears it’ll also support her ARCA effort.  

Like Love and Muniz, another championship contender heads to a mile-and-a-half track for the first time, that being Rev Racing driver Andres Perez de Lara.

Perez de Lara bounced back after missing Daytona due to an age restriction, finishing fourth at both Phoenix Raceway and Talladega Superspeedway, situating him in sixth in the current points standings, 18 points behind the leader Muniz.

“I think the first mile and a half is really important, I’ve been looking forward to this one a lot. I think it’s really important to get our mile-and-a-half package right,” Perez de Lara told sports reporter Casey Campbell. “Kansas has been a really good track for Rev, they’ve had a lot of success the last couple of years.” 

Joining Perez de Lara at Rev Racing for the weekend will be Jack Wood, who makes his fourth consecutive start, though he is only competing in the series on a part-time basis. Wood has shown speed in all three of the previous ARCA events, finishing inside of the top 10 twice, and being wrecked from the top five at Phoenix. 

TRICON Garage will return to the series for the first time under its new flagship, with driver Taylor Gray behind the wheel of the team’s No. 17. Gray has made one previous start in the series this season, with Joe Gibbs Racing at Talladega. The last time the team made an ARCA start, it was with a different manufacturer in Ford, coming at the 2022 season finale race at Toledo Speedway last October. 

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Connor Mosack will also make his series return this weekend, for the first time since the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Mosack earned the pole for the Daytona race and finished second, runner-up to Greg Van Alst. Since then, Mosack has run a partial schedule in the Xfinity Series with Sam Hunt Racing. 

Additionally, three drivers will be making their 2023 ARCA debuts this weekend, two of which will be pulling double duty this weekend. Both Dean Thompson and Josh Reaume are entered for both the Dawn 150, and the Heart of America 200. Thompson will drive the No. 25 for Venturini Motorsports, and Reaume the No. 11 for Fast Track Racing. It’ll be Thompson’s third career ARCA national division start and his first since 2021. That most recent start also came at Kansas, where he finished 8th driving for Niece Motorsports. As for Reaume, it’ll be the first time he’s appeared in an ARCA-sanctioned race in his career. 

The last of the three drivers making their season debut this weekend is Cody Coughlin, who returns to the series after making two starts last season, coming at Kansas and Michigan International Speedway. The pair of starts was Coughlin’s first since 2015 and marked the first time he appeared in an ARCA or NASCAR-sanctioned event since 2018.

Coughlin will again pilot the No. 72 Ford sponsored by JEGS looking to better his best finish of last season, eighth. The 27-year-old led four laps at Kansas last September. 

Prior to the green flag of the Dawn 150 on Saturday, the drivers will have plenty of opportunity for track time.

The series holds an optional pre-race practice on Friday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET. On the morning of the race, another practice session will be held from 10:25 to 10:55 a.m. ET. A qualifying session will follow, giving teams 20 minutes, from 10:10 to 10:30 a.m. ET to set down a lap to set the starting lineup. None of these events will be televised. 

The green flag of the Dawn 150 at the Kansas Speedway is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET, and television coverage of the race will be carried on FOX Sports 1 and streamed live on the FOX Sports App. The race can also be heard on select MRN Radio affiliates nationwide, and on MRN.com 

About the author

Josh joined Frontstretch in 2023 and currently covers the ARCA Menards Series. Born and raised in Missouri, Josh has been watching motorsports since 2005. He currently is studying for a Mass Communication degree at Lindenwood University

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