By Christian Koelle, Staff Writer
The ARCA Menards Series heads to Kansas Speedway for the Dutch Boy 150 at Kansas Speedway. The only track on the schedule that the series will visit twice in 2021. This race will be very important to many drivers as they look for notes that can be used for the championship race in October.
Speaking of championship races, the last time the series raced at Kansas, Bret Holmes was crowned the 2021 champion. Meanwhile, in that race, the current ARCA points leader Corey Heim picked up his first career victory.
Last Saturday, Heim tallied his third career victory taking the lead late at Talladega Superspeedway. Ty Gibbs fell out of the top-two in points for the first time this season after an accident involving him and Greg Van Alst. Van Alst got sideways after a bad push from behind and Gibbs had nowhere to go relegating him to a 27th place finish. The 27th place finish is now Gibbs worst career finish and only his third career DNF.
Heim now has a 14-point lead over second-place Drew Dollar. Gibbs fell from second to fourth in the point standings.
Saturday’s race will be the 22nd race at Kansas Speedway in ARCA history. It will be the second straight season where ARCA has visited the track twice. The first race last year was held in July with Bret Holmes picking up his first career victory. Holmes will return looking to defend his victory.
In the last 11 races at Kansas, there have been 11 different winners. The list of winners at Kansas includes current Cup Series drivers Alex Bowman (2011) and Chase Briscoe (2016). Defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Sheldon Creed also picked up a victory at Kansas in 2018.
BREAKING IT DOWN:
Kansas will always have a special place in the mind of the ARCA points leader. The scene of Heim’s first career victory, the very victory that ultimately gave him the opportunity to run full-time for Venturini Motorsports in 2021. On the weekend before he is slated to make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at Darlington, Heim will look to build on his points lead. He’ll also look to take advantage of a bad weekend by Gibbs to get out to a sizeable lead early. Heim has finished fourth or better in both of his starts at Kansas and is entering Saturday’s race as the favorite.
Dollar had another solid showing on the high banks of the Talladega Superspeedway and enters Saturday’s race second in points. Dollar has been solid at Kansas in his career finishing seventh twice and eighth in the most recent race. Though the importance of driver points won’t be a factor, owner points will take over the No. 15 as Gracie Trotter takes over the ride after this weekend’s race. It was previously announced that Dollar would not be running full-time in the series.
Kyle Sieg quietly earned an eighth-place finish Saturday at Talladega. Though it has been confirmed that the team will not run a full-season, unless funding comes about, Sieg moved into third in the points standings. Lack of qualifying was really what hurt the No. 28 team starting 24th but the series will hold qualifying before this race. The practice and qualifying should help Sieg find his groove at a track he has never raced at before. His crew chief Jeff Green has been to victory lane before at Kansas winning the 2001 NASCAR Xfinity Series race.
His finishing result Saturday was no showing to what the No. 18 team was able to do. Working with “in-race teammate” Holmes, Gibbs was able to control the race leading 13 laps. The accident with Van Alst put the No. 18 behind the wall and out of contention. He heads to a track this weekend where he has one previous start. After just turning 18, Kansas was his first “big-track” start but it wasn’t enjoyed as much with mechanical issues plaguing the team and relegating him to 14th.
Thad Moffitt has been impressive this season. A third-place run at Phoenix followed by a sixth-place run at Talladega has the fourth-generation driver in fifth in ARCA points standings. Moffitt made his Kansas debut last July finishing 10th. A solid start to the season is showing what David Gilliland Racing is capable of and will be interesting to see what will come about it as the season progresses. Moffitt will be chasing his first career victory.
GMS Racing will return to the scene of their third career ARCA victory. Spencer Gallagher earned his one and only career victory at Kansas in 2014 and Wood will seek to earn GMS Racing’s first victory of 2021. Wood will pilot the No. 21 Chevy Accessories Chevrolet this weekend and much like a few of these drivers entered, Wood has never raced at Kansas in his career.
Holmes will be pulling double-duty this weekend. By the end of the day, Holmes hopes to have turned a full 350 laps on Saturday. The defending ARCA Menards Series champion returns to the site of his first career ARCA Menards Series victory and the track where he was crowned the champion. Holmes is the veteran this weekend entering Kansas with five starts.
Nick Sanchez is starting to come out of his shell. Bad luck couldn’t knock him down at Talladega and in the end, he contended for the win. Sanchez had two bad weekends in a row wrecking at both Daytona and Phoenix. The Rev Racing driver heads to Kansas for the first time in his career and will look to roll off his momentum from the strong finish and run at Talladega.
The Dutch Boy 150 at Kansas Speedway will go live on FOX Sports 1 at 1:30 p.m. ET and can be streamed live on the FOX Sports GO app. The race will also be broadcasted live on MRN and SiriusXM (XM channel 391, online channel 981). Tickets are available for the ARCA Menards Series/NASCAR Camping World Truck Series doubleheader slated for Saturday. Tickets can be purchased by clicking the link here. Tickets start at just $35.
Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography