Race Weekend Central

ARCA Preview: Southern Illinois 100 at DuQuoin

The Southern Illinois 100 at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds is not just another race at the 1-mile dirt track. For the second year in a row, it is the second race of the Performance Seed Dirt Double.

There is an added payday on the line for one driver to claim the ultimate prize. If that goes unclaimed, three drivers will receive smaller financial prizes.

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Entry List: 2023 Southern Illinois 150

Brent Crews won the Dutch Boy 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. If he wins on Sunday (Sept. 3) at DuQuoin, he earns a $20,000 bonus. On top of the race purse itself, Crews could max out at $34,500.

Only 15 years old, Crews is focused on winning more than collecting a nice paycheck.

“I just care about race wins right now,” Crews told ARCA Racing. “I want to work my way up the ladder and worry about money in the future. I’m really too young for that, honestly, but $34,500 would certainly not hurt for sure.”

Crews is again piloting the No. 25, the same Venturini Motorsports entry he took to victory lane at Springfield. If Crews is victorious, it will be the first time the No. 25 has won twice in the same ARCA season since Michael Self did so in 2020.

If Crews does not win at DuQuoin, three prizes are on the line for the three drivers with the best average finish between the two dirt track races. The driver with the best average finish nets $7,500 with the second- and third-best drivers earning $5,000 and $2,500, respectively.

Crews won at Springfield ahead of Andres Perez de Lara, Jesse Love, Kelly Kovski and William Sawalich.

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ARCA Power Rankings: Jesse Love, VMS Closing in on Two Championships

Love has fared well in his ARCA dirt track career too. In five career starts on the dirt, he has one win, four top fives, five top 10s and 127 laps led. At DuQuoin, Love finished 10th and second in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

Perez de Lara scored his career-best finish of second at Springfield and he is now hungrier than ever to capture a victory for his Rev Racing team.

“The achievement in Springfield truly surpassed my expectations,” he said in a team release. “Given that it was my first experience on a dirt track, the learning curve was steep, and I am confident that the lessons I learned will translate to success in the Southern Illinois 100. My intention is to secure victory and solidify our team’s standing in the series.”

Sawalich whupped the field in the most recent ARCA race at The Milwaukee Mile, winning the pole and leading 141 of the 150 laps to take home the Sprecher 150 trophy.

Now he wants to go back-to-back by using the experience he gained at Springfield.

“We’re coming off of a great weekend at The Milwaukee Mile – we had a great car and I’m proud of what we accomplished there,” Sawalich said in a team release. “Looking ahead to this weekend, we have another dirt race on Sunday. I feel like I learned some things at Springfield that will help me get a solid finish this weekend at DuQuoin.”

Kovski is an ARCA dirt track veteran with 32 career starts. In those 32 races, he has seven top fives and 20 top 10s. Specifically at DuQuoin, he has three top fives, highlighted by a second-place result in the 2016 race, nine top 10s and 41 laps led.

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While the Dutch Boy 100 was run during the heat of the day in Springfield, Brayton Laster wheeled the No. 31 Rise Motorsports Chevrolet to his first-ever top 10 in 10th. He’s eager to achieve a new career best at DuQuoin.

“I’m just hoping to bring the car home in one piece and ideally I would like to get a top 10; that would be really sweet,” he told Frontstretch. “Maybe a top five; I’d be ecstatic for a top five.”

Both Springfield and DuQuoin are 1-mile dirt tracks that used to have horse races, so Laster acknowledged there are some similarities between the two.

“They look similar,” he said. “I haven’t seen DuQuoin in person. It seems like it gets a little bit bumpy. The weather too; it’s been dry this entire week pretty much and it’s been hot, so that’s really going to affect the track conditions. So the track won’t be too favorable and there won’t be a lot of grip. It’ll be interesting.

“I ran dirt late models the past six years and I like a slick track. I like it when the track conditions are terrible because then it allows someone like me, in lesser-tiered equipment, to go out and show my experience and level the playing field. I hope the track conditions are terrible, I hope we have no grip and I hope it is like Springfield. I really liked the way that track raced and I hope it’s the same.”

Laster said he finished 32 laps down at Springfield due to a lack of time for the team to install the grill cover, which would have prevented the engine from overheating. Laster said the team will have a grill cover on the No. 31 for DuQuoin. He also has a new sponsor.

So glad to represent Drillbrush on the Rise Motorsports #31 Chevrolet SS this weekend at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds Racetrack!

Posted by Brayton Laster Motorsports on Wednesday, August 30, 2023

All 18 drivers vying for the trophy and money will have a half-hour practice session before single-car qualifying. The 100-lap race will then take place at 9 p.m. ET, with coverage provided by FOX Sports 2 and FloRacing.

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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