Race Weekend Central

ARCA Preview: General Tire 150 at Charlotte

Thirty drivers are entered for Friday night’s (May 24) ARCA Menards Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It is the most entered since the 2018 edition.

Pinnacle Racing Group enters two drivers – Connor Mosack and Carson Kvapil – and it is arguably the hottest team in the series, as Connor Zilisch won at Dover Motor Speedway and an ARCA Menards Series standalone race at Flat Rock Speedway. Mosack, meanwhile, won at Kansas Speedway.

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Entry List: 2024 General Tire 150

Mosack is from Charlotte, so it’s his home racetrack on Memorial Day weekend. He’s competed there three times — twice in ARCA and once in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He has fourth- and ninth-place result at Charlotte, and he’s led 23 laps. Look for him to have his No. 28 Chevrolet up front.

His teammate Kvapil will give him a run for his money though. Kvapil finished third, after starting second, in the fall 2023 ARCA race at fellow 1.5-mile racetrack Kansas, one spot behind Mosack.

Venturini Motorsports’ No. 20 went to victory lane last year. This year, Dean Thompson pilots it. Thompson is running a triple-header at Charlotte, competing in ARCA, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the Xfinity Series.

“I’ve put a lot of work in,” Thompson told ARCA Racing. “The Venturini, TRICON [Garage] and Sam Hunt [Racing] guys have all been working hard and helping me out getting prepared for this weekend. I’m driving three different [types] of cars, but honestly, I’ve heard the ARCA and Xfinity car are pretty close, so I’m feeling pretty confident.”

Thompson tied his career-best ARCA finish of second at Charlotte last year; he wants one more spot for his first victory on Friday night.

“A win would mean so much to me,” he continued. “I’ve been working my tail off day and night this past week. I’ve been preparing for Charlotte before North Wilkesboro [Speedway], so it would mean a lot for the Venturini and TRICON guys that work hard to give me fast race cars. Sam Hunt has as well, but there’s just different expectations there.”

Venturini’s rival Joe Gibbs Racing has Tanner Gray back in its No. 18, and he too will be pulling double duty on Friday night.

Gray only has one ARCA start at Charlotte, where he wound up sixth, but he scored his lone Truck Series pole there last year. JGR won the 2022 and 2023 ARCA Charlotte events, so Gray will be eager to take that team back to victory lane.

All the aforementioned drivers are part-time competitors. Of the series regulars, Kris Wright and the Rev Racing duo of Andres Perez de Lara and Lavar Scott are the three to watch.

At the quarter mark of the season, Perez de Lara has a six-point lead. Wright has risen to fifth, 22 back, and Scott sits sixth, trailing by 33.

Perez de Lara started shotgun on the field at Charlotte in ’23 but slid back to seventh. Scott, meanwhile, will be making his CMS debut.

“Since our last race at Kansas, we’ve been exploring ways to find speed and stay ahead at Charlotte,” Perez de Lara said in a team release. “I have more confidence heading into the Charlotte weekend now and I’m determined to hold our lead in the points standings and find victory in the No. 2.”

“Following our performance in Kansas, we’ve regrouped and are focused on CMS,” Scott added. “I have driven past CMS for 5 years now on the way to the Rev Racing shop, and each time I have thought about how amazing it would be to race at the track. Now, I am finally getting the opportunity to do it. Winning here would make my first win even sweeter.”

Wright has three Truck starts at Charlotte, but Friday night will be his first ARCA start there.

“We’ve been building momentum all season, and I’m excited to take that to Charlotte,” he stated in a team release. “The team has been working incredibly hard to give me a fast car, and I’m confident we can challenge for the win. A strong finish at CMS would be a huge boost to our championship aspirations. Charlotte is a driver’s track. It’s going to be a battle out there, but we’ve got a great car and a talented team behind us, and I believe we have what it takes to contend.”

See also
Gio Ruggiero, Venturini No. 20 Penalized After Flat Rock

Understandably, after Gray and Mosack whooped the field at Kansas and Zilisch led every lap at Flat Rock, the notion that multiple drivers will lead laps and the race will have a nail-biting finish could be met with skepticism.

Here’s what to look forward to, beyond the contending drivers: zero drivers in this 30-car field have won at Charlotte before. Zero of the series regulars have won thus far this season. The ARCA race kicks off a four-race slate at Charlotte culminating in the famed Coca-Cola 600. Lastly, there will be some different paint schemes as part of racing on Memorial Day weekend. Among those drivers with patriotic paint schemes is second-in-points Greg Van Alst, who endured a horrible Charlotte race last year.

The 100-lap race will have a scheduled caution at lap 50. Teams have two sets of tires in the race. Charlotte ends May for the series, with nine races occurring in June-August. Hopefully, Charlotte is an exciting event to kick off that stretch.

The ARCA drivers will take the green flag Friday (May 24) at 6 p.m. ET with TV coverage provided by FOX Sports 1.

About the author

Frontstretch.com
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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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