For the 33rd time in its history, the ARCA Menards Series visits the 0.438-mile short track Berlin Raceway.
None of the 17 drivers in the field have an ARCA victory at Berlin, so who will claim the trophy on Father’s Day weekend?
Jesse Love has been on a hot streak, winning the last three races en route to gaining a 13-point lead in the standings. Love is seeking to become the first driver since Ty Gibbs in 2021 to win four straight ARCA races. Coincidentally, Gibbs also won the ARCA championship that same season so Love is on a promising trajectory.
However, Love has not shown race-winning speed at the short track with no backstretch wall. Yes, he has two top fives, but both finishing positions were the same as his starting spot. The series points leader is confident his third trip to Berlin is the winning one.
“(Feel) Pretty good about our chances,” Love told Frontstretch. “If we didn’t get wrecked by our teammate at Phoenix [Raceway], we’d be four in a row.
“You know, Berlin is a place that I’ve finished third at in the last two years. So, not great. But I think that I’d have to really suck to get it wrong for a third time in a row. So, hopefully we can pull pieces of the pie together there. It’s a tricky place, it’s not like anywhere else in the world. Just need to kind of accept that and understand that I’m about to drive different than I have anywhere else. I think it’s not our best racetrack, but I think that we have a good shot at it.”
Venturini Motorsports has not won at Berlin since 2016.
Love’s strongest competition very well may come from his teammate Sean Hingorani. Hingorani has won two 2023 ARCA Menards Series West races at 0.5-mile short tracks and he also won the pole for the ARCA Menards Series East race at 0.25-mile Flat Rock Speedway.
Although this will be Hingorani’s first race at Berlin in an ARCA racecar, he recently gained experience at the racetrack. On June 7, 10 days before the ARCA Berlin event, Hingorani finished seventh in a 150-lap super late model race, one that NASCAR Cup Series driver Erik Jones won.
Daniel Dye led 390 of the 400 laps over the past two Berlin ARCA events, but the No. 18 team also averaged a 1.5 finishing position result. William Sawalich won the East event at fellow Michigan short track Flat Rock. He also finished sixth at Berlin in a 200-lap super late model race in 2022.
“Everything’s pretty much similar,” Sawalich told YouTube channel host Jeffrey Hrunka. “The tire compound is a little different just to get used to and how heavy the ARCA car actually is. But ARCA car is a little bit less horsepower; you can really get the throttle and it’s the same with the super [late model] but you also have to be easier with it. So they’re pretty much similar but they’re both a blast to drive.”
Sawalich undoubtedly will be a contender for the ARCA victory at Berlin.
In his NASCAR FedEx Challenge career at short tracks, Andres Perez de Lara scored six top fives and seven top 10s in nine starts. He then finished seventh in his ARCA series debut in 2022 at 0.533-mile Bristol Motor Speedway.
Rev Racing scored a runner-up finish at Flat Rock, albeit with Lavar Scott. Still, can the team finally break through with its first ARCA series victory of 2023 at Berlin?
Ninth in points, rookie Jon Garrett might pass Van Alst in points, but not Wood.
“It certainly helps me gain some points, but they will likely still be ahead of me after the race – with my poor start to the season,” Garrett told Frontstretch. “Our last two races have been solid – with almost every track being new to me – we are constantly learning what I want and need in the car – and I’m learning the tracks. I would certainly be disappointed with anything less than a top 10 – and we are certainly aiming for more than that. We are bringing a good piece – a former Bret Holmes car – and I grew up racing short tracks – walls, no walls, no matter to me.”
The Texan is seeking a good run in his No. 66 as he is still searching for funding to help complete the full season.
With now only nine full-time drivers, the 200-lap race is a chance for them to shine. Furthermore, over half of the field (10 of the 17) has not competed in an ARCA event at Berlin.
The drivers will hit the racetrack for a 45-minute practice session before qualifying. In the race itself, the competitors will have six tires in the pits, with competition cautions set at laps 75 and 125.
Fans can tune into the ARCA race on Saturday, June 17 at 8 p.m. ET with TV coverage provided by FOX Sports 1, live streaming on FloRacing and live audio on ARCARacing.com.
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.