The ARCA Menards Series returns to Kansas Speedway for the second and final time in the 2023 season this Friday (Sept. 8).
Back in May, Jesse Love won the first Kansas race, leading 96 of 100 laps. He beat his Toyota teammates Dean Thompson and Taylor Gray, who rounded out the top three. This time around, Gray isn’t entered in the event, but Thompson returns as one of the four Venturini Motorsports entries.
“It’s definitely added confidence going back to a place we have already won at this year,” Love said in a team press release. “I like Kansas, it’s one of my favorite mile-and-a-half tracks.”
In total, 21 teams are entered for this Friday’s race, which is down from the 28 that were entered in the Spring race.
Love enters the race as the points leader, holding a commanding 120-point lead over Andres Perez de Lara with just four races to go on the schedule. Since his last race at Kansas, Love has won seven of the 12 races that have been run, for a total of nine wins.
Joining Love and Thompson at VMS this week will be Toni Breidinger, who makes her first ARCA start since Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park four races ago. Breidinger will carry primary sponsorship from Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers. The company has previously supported Breidinger but has never been a primary sponsor. The 24-year-old finished 11th at Kansas in the spring.
“I’m ready to build off of the first race in Kansas and take what I learned and apply it to this one,” Breidinger said in a team press release. “I’m eager to be reunited with my crew chief, Kevin Reed Jr., after our top five together at Iowa,”
Perez de Lara enters Kansas on a hot streak of sorts, showing very good speed at the last two tracks over a mile-and-a-half in length. The Rev Racing driver finished third at Pocono Raceway and 17th at Michigan International Speedway. The Michigan finish was skewed, as the 18-year-old led 43 laps before a mechanical failure.
Despite a handful of finishes outside of the top 10, Frankie Muniz heads to Kansas third in the season standings, 133 points behind Love, and 13 behind Perez de Lara for second. Since Iowa Speedway, the rookie has only finished in the top 10 twice, though one was a top five.
The team experienced mechanical issues at Watkins Glen International, The Milwaukee Mile and Pocono and crashed out of last week’s race at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds. However, Muniz has shown good speed at his first few mile-and-a-half races, finishing eighth at Kansas in the spring and sixth at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Joining Perez de Lara at Rev Racing this weekend will be Lavar Scott, making his debut on mile-and-a-half style tracks. Scott has four ARCA starts this season, but three have been in conjunction with the ARCA Menards Series East. He’s finished inside of the top 10 in each of his starts with a season-best of third at Iowa. His last start that was not in conjunction with the East division was the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in which Scott finished fourth.
Carson Kvapil is slated to make his ARCA national division debut, driving the No. 28 for Pinnacle Racing Group. Kvapil has made a handful of East division starts, each coming in 2021 with Cook-Finley Racing.
The 20-year-old is also slated to make his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut next weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway with Spire Motorsports. Like Scott, this weekend will be Kvapil’s first taste of action on a mile-and-a-half track.
Currently, the last driver mathematically in contention for the championship title is Jon Garrett, who sits fifth in the points standings. The fall Kansas race marks the one-year anniversary of Garrett’s first ARCA top 10, which he earned in just his third race. Garrett sits 210 points out of leader Love but joked on Twitter that he is offering each of the top four drivers a month-long, all-expenses-paid cruise through the end of the season. Garrett and his Veer Motorsports team have clicked off three top 10s this season, most recently at Michigan.
Friday’s schedule of events sees the ARCA competitors take to the track for the one and only practice session at 1:40 p.m. ET Friday, with qualifying to follow at 2:40 p.m. ET, though neither is televised. The Sioux Chief Fast Track 150 is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, with television coverage coming with FOX Sports 1.
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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