Charlotte Motor Speedway hosts four races over the Memorial Day weekend and the ARCA Menards Series kicks it off with the General Tire 150.
The 100-lap race is the fifth race of the season and the 24th event for the series at the 1.5-mile track in Concord, N.C.
Although 29 drivers are entered, none of them have a victory at Charlotte. So, who will capture the trophy on Friday (May 26)?
Venturini Motorsports driver, and series points leader, Jesse Love has been on a tear over the past two races, leading 131 of the 176 laps en route to back-to-back victories. Can he win three in a row, becoming the first driver to win three straight since Sammy Smith ended the 2022 season with three straight wins?
“Charlotte’s one that’s really important for us,” VMS team owner Billy Venturini told sports reporter Casey Campbell. “I really hope we can win that thing. That was one that we kind of circled at the beginning of the year as would love to win there. Hopefully we can. That’d a really big one. That’s one that we haven’t been able to get.”
Love will be joined by Dean Thompson in the No. 15, Gus Dean in the No. 25 and Toni Breidinger in the No. 55. Breidinger is seeking her first top 10 at Charlotte in her third start there and Thompson will be making his first ARCA start there. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series regular finished 28th in his lone Truck start there. Dean meanwhile finished third in the 2022 ARCA race at Charlotte.
Taylor Gray will be making his first start at Charlotte, and like Thompson, he’ll compete in double duty Friday with the Truck Series race afterward. Gray has a seventh and third-place finish in his two 2023 ARCA races, so he’s seeking his first win of the year and fourth overall.
But the VMS quartet and Gray in his No. 17 TRICON Garage Toyota both haven’t been the dominant Toyota team at Charlotte. Instead, it has been Joe Gibbs Racing winning the past two ARCA events there. In 2023, the team will look to win again with its third straight different driver: Connor Mosack.
With two top fives and two top 10s in his two ARCA starts in 2023, Mosack enters Charlotte with some experience. He finished fourth in this race last year. In 2023, he too will be running double duty as he will compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday.
If a Toyota driver doesn’t end up in victory lane, then who leads the charge for the other manufacturers? Chevrolet team Rev Racing has both Andres Perez de Lara and Jack Wood entered, both of whom currently are in the top five in points.
Perez de Lara was with the team at the ARCA Menards Series East race at Flat Rock Speedway, as he watched his teammate Lavar Scott earn his career-best finish of second. Now Perez de Lara is eager to better the team’s best run of 2023 by one spot, earning the win.
“This is my first time racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the home track for the team, and I’ve been working hard for this track,” Wood said in a team release. “I am ready to show our speed in the No. 2 Max Siegel Rev Racing Chevrolet. The team deserves a win.”
“I’m really looking forward to heading back to Charlotte, it’s my favorite mile-and-a-half track that we go to in the ARCA and Truck Series,” Wood added. “It has good character and it’s always fun to race close to home for the team. It’s one that everyone wants to win just a little bit more and that makes for exciting racing. I’ve had strong runs there in the past and it’s a place I believe I have a good understanding of. I can always learn more but after Kansas I think we’re going to have good speed in our car.”
Two other previous ARCA victors are entered at Charlotte: Greg Van Alst, who won the 2023 season opener, and Grant Enfinger. Enfinger, the 2015 ARCA champion, has never won at Charlotte before in his racing career. The Truck Series regular has never competed at Charlotte in an ARCA racecar. Still, in his seven-career racing starts there, he has one top five and three top 10s including a runner-up result in the 2022 Truck Series race.
If Enfinger wins, it would certainly be an upset win for CR7 Motorsports as it would be the first-ever win for the organization.
Speaking of good finishes, Tamayo Cosentino Racing is seeking its first top 10 with driver Tony Cosentino. The owner/driver earned his career-best ARCA finish of ninth place in this race one year ago. He wants to continue that success in this race.
“Yes, we’re ready for that top 10!” he told Frontstretch. “Felt like we should have had it a couple of times this year but hasn’t come to fruition yet. There are definitely more great cars and teams this year.”
The 29 drivers will hit the racetrack on Friday for a 45-minute practice session before qualifying. Then, the green flag for the General Tire 150 will wave at 6 p.m. ET with TV coverage provided by FOX Sports 1.
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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