Race Weekend Central

ARCA Power Rankings: Andres Perez de Lara Racking Up Top 10s

For the second straight year, Connor Mosack won the ARCA Menards Series race at Kansas Speedway. Not only did he go back-to-back there, but Pinnacle Racing Group also now has back-to-back ARCA victories with the winning driver named Connor in both triumphs.

Mosack continued the series’ run of drivers earning their first win of the season, now five straight. As such, the Frontstretch ARCA power rankings saw some changes, though points leader Andres Perez de Lara remained on top.

See also
Connor Mosack Surges Late to Win ARCA Race at Kansas

1. Andres Perez de Lara

For the fourth straight race, Perez de Lara started inside the top 10 and finished inside the top 10. And that’s been his career: putting together top-10 performances that have him atop the points.

In his last 10 races dating back to last season, Perez de Lara has five top fives and eight top 10s. That’s a recipe for success, but as we saw back in 2022 with the championship fight between Nick Sanchez and Daniel Dye, leading laps and winning makes an enormous difference. In those 10 races, Perez de Lara has zero laps led and he is still seeking that first victory.

Looking ahead to Charlotte Motor Speedway, over the last three years, Rev collectively has two top fives, five top 10s and 40 laps led. As such, Perez de Lara has a prime opportunity to earn bonus points and increase his precarious six-point lead.

2. Amber Balcaen

While yours truly has been fortunate not to break a bone, I’ve had a pair of car crashes. Driving afterward in physical pain is not enjoyable. Amber Balcaen impressively finished eighth while driving with a broken foot at Kansas.

“My foot’s throbbing, but happy to come home with a top-10 finish,” she told Frontstretch post-race. “We wanted a top five. We really thought we could get a career-best today. But my team made all the right calls all day long. Made sure we followed the rules and kept it on the lead lap. Made the right changes during the breaks so this ICON Direct No. 22’s in one piece and we like that, keeping that for the guys at the shop, keeping it clean and decent day.

“I just wanted to have a clean race. I just wanted to be consistent and I think maybe I could have pushed it a little bit harder. But that’s the name of the game with racing, right? Finding that edge so I think we learned a lot today which we want to do and overall solid for the ICON Direct No. 22.”

Balcaen has made significant strides since her rookie ARCA season in 2022. In only a quarter of the season, she already has half of her top 10s from ’22. She’s third in points, 19 markers back, and to boot, she finished seventh at Charlotte in the ’22 race. So far, she is staying in the championship hunt. None of the FS panelists predicted that at the beginning of the season.

3. Jake Finch

Jake Finch is the highest part-time competitor in points in 12th. He appeared to struggle with restarts at Kansas and so he wound up fifth after starting on the front row in second.

The owner point standings are what matter in terms of end-of-year points fund money from the series. Finch is averaging 41 points per race. His 39 points gained at Kansas kept the No. 20 Venturini Motorsports entry atop the owner standings, 14 ahead of fellow VMS entry No. 55. Finch’s successes thus far land him smack dab in the middle of this week’s power rankings.

4. Greg Van Alst

Greg Van Alst said his No. 35 engine felt flat at Kansas and as a result, he struggled. He started 18th and with a combination of a flat engine and lack of cautions to earn the lucky dog and or improve the car’s performance, he finished two laps down in 12th.

Nevertheless, Van Alst is still second in points. He has continuously gained positions this season, finishing better than he started in all. His crux is his starting spot. In his 43-race ARCA career, he has one top-five starting spot and 19 in the top 10. If he starts better and continues to run better throughout the race, he’ll be in a much better position to gain more points and stay entrenched in title contention.

5. Kris Wright

Kris Wright left the season opener with a wrecked racecar and 38th in points. He ran around the top 10 at Phoenix Raceway, finishing 12th. Since then? A second, sixth and fourth have him up to fifth in points, three behind his teammate Balcaen and 22 behind Perez de Lara.

Wright’s overall experience is paying dividends at racetracks that also host NASCAR national series events. For example, he entered Kansas with six overall starts. He knows the racetrack. He was the beneficiary of the lucky dog on the final caution and wound up fourth, sandwiched between two VMS teammates in third and fifth.

Next up is Charlotte, where Wright has three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts.

VMS won there last year; winning would thrust Wright back into the championship mix as the ARCA season heats up in the summer months.

See also
Andrew Patterson Running 8 ARCA Races for MAN

Paint Scheme of the Race

Many racecars featured predominantly white paint schemes at Kansas. Although his 14th-place showing was not what he wanted, Christian Rose’s No. 32 West Virginia Department of Tourism Ford stood out and thereby earns him the Paint Scheme of the Race Award

Rose could use a little break from ARCA competition after a tough past two weeks. He wrecked out at Dover Motor Speedway with a hard lick to the wall – that also collected Balcaen resulting in her broken foot – and the past two races have cost him the points lead, down to fourth, 20 points back. He’ll visit Charlotte for the third time, one year removed from an eighth-place finish.

Charlotte hosts ARCA on Friday, May 24 with the green flag set to fly at 6 p.m. ET with TV coverage provided by FOX Sports 1.

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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Ron Taylor

What about Andy J.?

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