The month of August brings about five races in four weeks for the ARCA Menards Series and the first up will be Michigan International Speedway. This Friday, Aug. 4, the field will take to the high-banked 2-mile racetrack for the 100-lap, 200-mile race.
The series has raced in Michigan since the 1980s and has seen several notable winners, including Bob Keselowski, Parker Kligerman and the NASCAR Cup Series’ most recent winner, Chris Buescher. Last season, it was Nick Sanchez who found victory lane, leading 35 of the 100 laps en route to victory, holding off Corey Heim in the process.
The 2023 edition of the race is certain to bring about a new winner, as none of the entrants have found the victory lane at the track prior. In fact, most drivers entered will have never even seen the track before this week’s race. In all, 23 drivers are set to take the green flag on Friday evening. It’s the largest ARCA field at Michigan since the 2018 edition of the event, a race won by Sheldon Creed.
Amongst those who are headed to Michigan for the first time is current championship leader Jesse Love. Love holds a commanding 69-point lead over second-place Andres Perez de Lara and comes into the race fresh off a win at Pocono Raceway. Love has five wins through the first 10 races of the season, including four of the five races on tracks a mile and a half or longer in length.
As for Perez de Lara, he too will be making his first trip to Michigan this weekend, and does so on an impressive streak of his own. After missing Daytona due to an age restriction, the 18-year-old has finished inside of the top seven in all but one race since. The streak includes five top-five finishes, including a career-best of third in the most recent race at Pocono.
Early mechanical gremlins gave Rette-Jones Racing driver Frankie Muniz a career-worst finish of 21st at Pocono, dropping him to third in the points standings, 74 points back of the leader Love. However, Muniz has had success on the other larger tracks, finishing inside of the top 10 in three of the four outside of Pocono and just missing that mark at Daytona with an 11th-place finish.
Christian Rose enters this weekend’s race at Michigan fresh off his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut at Richmond Raceway in which he finished 32nd. Focusing on ARCA, Rose and his AM Racing team have finished inside the top 10 in six of their last seven races, including a best finish of seventh at Iowa Speedway. He enters this race fourth in the season standings, 87 points out of the lead.
New to the entry list this week is Kris Wright, who makes his first ARCA Menards Series start since the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course race in 2022. Wright is running a one-off race for Venturini Motorsports in a partnership that was announced last week, driving the team’s No. 55 Toyota.
Also back with VMS this week is Gus Dean, who makes his first start since the Memorial Day weekend race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In three previous starts this season, Dean has one top 10, which came as a runner-up finish at Talladega Superspeedway back in April. Dean will pilot the No. 25 Toyota for VMS.
For the second consecutive race, Andy Jankowiak is entered after missing four straight races after Charlotte. Jankowiak and his No. 73 team finished seventh last time out at Pocono and look to repeat much of the same this week at Michigan.
The start of this week’s Henry Ford Health 200 is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET Friday evening, with television coverage being provided by FOX Sports 1, as well as FloRacing.
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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