Race Weekend Central

ARCA Power Rankings: A New Face Emerges On Top

The ARCA Menards Series took to the high banks of the Talladega Superspeedway on April 20, and Jake Finch found victory lane in dominant fashion, leading all 76 laps in the event.

Finch led a frequently dwindling pack of single-file cars throughout the race, surviving one caution period, the scheduled race break. By the end of the race, the 34-car field had only five cars in the lead draft and Finch held them off for his first ARCA national division victory.

Now three races into the 20-race schedule, where will Finch stack up in this week’s Frontstretch ARCA power rankings?

See also
Jake Finch Dominates, Wins ARCA Race at Talladega

1. Christian Rose

Christian Rose ended up being the lone man out at Talladega. He was the only driver in the five-car breakaway who wasn’t driving a Toyota and despite making a last-lap effort to pull out of line and win, he was left stranded, finishing fifth.

It’s been a vastly improved season for Rose, who already tied his number of top fives in 2023 this season, with two in the first three races. Coupled with a 16th-place finish at Phoenix Raceway, Rose now sits in first place in the standings after three races, with a narrow one-point lead over Greg Van Alst.

Rose now heads to Dover Motor Speedway for the second time in his career. He finished 10th in the 2022 ARCA Menards Series East race there. It’ll be a home race of sorts for Rose, as he grew up just under three hours from the track, and played baseball in college an hour and a half away from the track in Maryland.

2. Jake Finch

After not running the second race of the season at Phoenix, and falling out of the rankings, Finch returns to second where he ranked after the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway.

It was a dream race for Finch at Talladega. He captured the pole by points, as the series didn’t hold qualifying, and never looked back. He retained the lead for the entirety of the event, logging 76 laps led, en route to victory.

Finch is still on a part-time schedule this season and it’s not yet clear where and when his next race will be. However, he’s made it clear in his first two starts that he’s sure to be a threat for the win whenever he’s behind the wheel. Despite having one less start, Finch still sits sixth in the standings, 24 points out of the lead.

3. Greg Van Alst

After a bit of a down week, Van Alst finds himself down to third in the power rankings and second in the season standings, one point behind Rose.

Van Alst didn’t record a top 10 at Talladega, narrowly missing the mark by coming across the line in 11th. He fell out of the lead draft early in the going and with the lack of cautions, he never caught the break he needed to catch back up. However, his finish kept him one point behind Rose and two over last season’s points runner-up Andres Perez de Lara.

Van Alst now heads to Dover for the first time in his career.

Dover hosts an ARCA combination race with the East series. As such, Van Alst will make his seventh career East start. Of those six starts, he has one top five and four top 10s. Another good run might lead him to regain the points lead.

4. Andres Perez de Lara

Perez de Lara cracks the top five in power rankings after recording back-to-back eighth-place finishes to start the season.

Talladega was a quiet race for Perez de Lara. He was inside the top 10 for most of the event, but like many others, lost the draft late in the race, taking him out of contention for the win. Perez de Lara now sits third in the season standings, three points out of the lead, and two points behind second-place Van Alst.

Perez de Lara will be one of many making his debut at Dover, but he has previous success on tracks a mile in length or shorter, finishing inside of the top five six times in 2023. 

5. Amber Balcaen

Amber Balcaen has quietly been very productive to start her 2024 ARCA season. She currently sits fourth in the standings, six points behind Rose, and has a healthy gap of 14 points built over fifth-place Gus Dean.  

Talladega, much like the other races, saw Balcaen fly under the radar. She finished ninth, losing the draft early like so many others and never caught a timely caution break to rebound. Overall on the season, she’s finished inside the top 15 in all three races, and inside of the top 10 in two of them, Talladega and the season opener at Daytona, where she finished seventh.

Balcaen and her Venturini Motorsports No. 22 team head to Dover for the first time in her career.

See also
Kole Raz Picks Up 1st ARCA West Win in Close Finish at Kern

Paint Scheme of the Race

Talladega had no shortage of unique paint schemes, with many teams carrying new sponsorship into the race with a better chance of television time, thanks to the great equalizer, the draft.

Toni Breidinger had Raisin Canes Chicken Fingers onboard her No. 25 VMS entry, with its vibrant red color scheme. Jeff Scofield carried JXT Transport on his No. 68 Kimmel Racing Chevrolet that was mid-2000’s Tony Stewart-esque. However, neither took the cake over Fast Track Racing and Cody Dennison’s No. 01 ALL CAPS Comics Ford.

The scheme carried a mix of green and yellow with scales, featuring the company’s comic, Cyberfrog, on the hood. Dennison, who made his national division debut, finished 17th on the lead lap after qualifying 20th. 

ARCA drivers now head to the nation’s first state, Delaware, to tackle Dover Motor Speedway. The race will occur on Friday, April 26 at 5 p.m. ET, with television coverage carried by 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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Texas MoFo

Thanks for mentioning Cody Dennison and All CAPS Comics. We hope to bring a lot of NEW fans to ARCA racing! 🏎️🏁

Jimmy Thomos

By far the coolest car was driven by Cody Dennison 01. That was one of the coolest cars I have seen in a long time.

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