After showing throughout the day that he was the car to beat, Andres Perez de Lara lost an engine while leading with under 15 laps to go in Friday’s Henry Ford Health 200 at Michigan International Speedway.
The 18-year-old Rev Racing driver showed plenty of speed throughout the day, finishing the series’ lone practice session of the weekend in third and qualifying his No. 2 on the pole for the start of the race. Come race time, nothing much changed, as Perez de Lara led a majority of the race but surrendered the lead with under 15 laps to go to Connor Mosack. Originally, it looked as if Mosack had simply run down the rookie driver, but soon after, it was apparent that the Rev Racing Chevrolet had an issue under the hood. FOX Sports originally reported the car had lost a cylinder, and less than a lap later, the engine expired, bringing out a caution and ending Perez de Lara’s chances to put an exclamation point on an otherwise successful day at Michigan.
“We were definitely the fastest out there,” Perez de Lara told Frontstretch. “We were leading with 10 to go, and we lost the engine. Nothing we can do there. Just bad luck on our side for the last couple of races. We’ve had so many fast cars. We should have been in victory lane a couple of times already this year.”
The eventual 17th-place finish in today’s event is the worst he’s had since the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, where he wasn’t able to compete due to age restrictions and was classified as last-place finisher.
Not all was lost for Perez de Lara, however. Frankie Muniz was able to rebound in the points standings and overtake the Mexican-born driver, but Perez de Lara still sits in third, 86 points off Jesse Love’s leading mark. The most evident silver lining for the driver of the No. 2 is the growth he has shown on the larger tracks.
Before tonight, he had finished inside of the top ten on each of the tracks that were greater than a mile and a half in length, all of which were tracks that he was not allowed to compete on as recently as four months ago. In the last two races of the season including Michigan, Perez de Lara was in the hunt for the win, but both times was taken out due to an issue largely out of his control.
“We’ll take all the positives from here, that we were running so good,” Perez de Lara continued. “We were the fastest car out there, we made a little mistake there on strategy, and it cost us track position, but we got back to the lead, and we were pulling away until this issue.”
Moving forward, Perez de Lara has one last opportunity in the 2023 season to redeem himself on the larger tracks on the schedule at Kansas Speedway next month. The track holds previous success for his team, Rev Racing, as they won twice during the 2021 and 2022 seasons with driver Nick Sanchez. The remainder of the schedule is filled between short tracks and road courses, both styles of circuits Perez de Lara is comfortable with, both in his native Mexico and in his limited ARCA Menards Series starts to date.
The next challenge for the rookie Perez de Lara will be a short track with the Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park as he and the rest of the ARCA Menards Series field head to the 0.686-mile short track next Friday (Aug. 11). The green flag of that event is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET that evening and will be run in conjunction with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series playoff opening race later that night. FOX Sports 1 has television coverage.
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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