After several months away from the track, race fans will have plenty of action on deck this weekend.
First up is the ARCA Menards Series at Pocono Raceway on Friday for the General Tire #ANYWHEREISPOSSIBLE200. The race will air live on FS1 at 6 p.m. ET.
The ARCA Menards West Series makes its return Saturday with a road-course doubleheader at Utah Motorports Campus. The ENEOS/Sunrise Ford Twins presented by West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, will feature a pair of 30-lap championship races on its 2.2-mile course, beginning at 4 p.m. MT. The two races will stream live on Trackpass on NBC Gold.
Sam Mayer holds the West lead by virtue of his win in the opener in February. But Mayer will be racing at Pocono, opening the door for the West regulars to continue their championship battle.
Jesse Love sits second, two points ahead of Blaine Perkins, three in front of Gracie Trotter and four over Trevor Huddleston.
Perkins and Huddleston are teammates for Sunrise Ford Racing for car owner Bob Bruncati. Love and Trotter are part of a four-car Bill McAnally Racing group that also includes fellow rookies Lawless Alan and Holley Hollan.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Alan in a video conference with media this week. “I love road courses. I spent all last year in Trans-Am, specifically preparing for road courses in stock cars. I think I have a really good shot to win this thing for BMR and AUTOParkit. Going into it, I’m feeling pretty confident.”
The doubleheader provides a unique challenge.
The teams have an open practice on Friday. The first on-track activity Saturday is qualifying at 2:15 p.m., followed by the first race. The starting lineup for the second race will be set by driver’s fastest lap in the first race, and the second 30-lap event is scheduled for 30 minutes following the conclusion of the first.
“I think it’s go hard in both the races,” said Alan. “But in Race 1, it’s has to be raced with the understanding there’s a second race, and they are both worth points. So I’m not going to sail ‘er off in there on the last lap in like a wreckers or checkers move when I know I have to do it all again.”
“I can’t be banging the wheels off the thing in Race 1, and expect to be decent in Race 2. I think everyone is going in with the same mindset: Be smart in Race 1, survive it, and go for it all in Race 2.”
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The ARCA Menards Series has a little longer between its first race back and the next, but the turnaround is still less than a week for the competitors who ran at Talladega Superspeedway last Saturday.
For Drew Dollar, who got his first career ARCA win in the General Tire 200, that’s just fine.
“That was really good to win that race,” said Dollar in a video conference with media this week. “It almost takes the pressure off going into the rest of the season, already having one win crossed off. Especially one you don’t really expect.”
Dollar’s Venturini Motorsports team has won all three races so far this season, with three different drivers.
Practice Friday will be just 45 minutes, meaning only a handful of laps for each driver. The series will not qualify, and instead set the field per the rulebook. That’s good news for Dollar, who’s team holds three of the top four spots in owners points.
“Pocono is going to be definitely different,” said Dollar. “Obviously the cars going to be good, and I’m going to have to get myself up to speed as quick as I can.”
Dollar won’t be the only driver at Pocono with a win his last time out. Ty Gibbs will be back in the No. 18 for Monster/Terrible Herbst/ORCA Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Gibbs won at Ohio’s Toledo Speedway in the ARCA Menards Series East two weeks ago.
Fly Mayer Fly
Mayer will be in the familiar No. 21 Chevrolet for GMS Racing, but the defending East champion will feature a new paint scheme for his race in Pennsylvania.
— Michael Carey (@MichaelICarey) June 25, 2020
The 17-year-old Wisconsin driver will be making his Pocono debut. He has 11 ARCA Menards Series starts, including a 20th last time out at Phoenix when qualified fourth but was sidelined early by radiator issues.
Pocono Debut For Lane
Russ Lane set to make his ARCA Menards Series debut this weekend at Pocono Raceway with Russ Lane Racing. Lane, an accomplished road course racer looks to the tutelage of crew chief, Derek Hartnagel as he looks to tackle the Tricky Triangle.
“Everyone says Pocono has somewhat of a road course feel to it, with three completely different turns and that really speaks to my racing past,” said Lane, a Kansas native who most recently won the the 2019 NASA American Iron points champion. “We’re looking forward to a strong showing and hope to learn a lot all weekend.”
Lane is collaboratin with Emire Racing and driver Sean Corr.
Corr hails from nearby Goshen, New York, and is coming off a ninth-place run at Talladega. He opened the season with a fourth at Daytona.
“I’m really looking forward to visiting Pocono because it’s so close to home for me,” said Corr, who will be making his 12th start at the Tricky Triangle. “I feel having raced here several times before gives me an advantage of already knowing where the line is and how to navigate the triangle.”
Griffith Back In The Seat
After an impressive performance in the ARCA Menards Series East opener at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway, it looked like the racing season was aligning to allow him a run at the title with Chad Bryant Racing. The COVID-19 Pandemic disrupted those plans, but the 23-year-old Hudson, New Hampshire will be back in the car Friday.
Chad Bryant Racing is the defending race winner as Ty Majeski went to Victory Lane last May. T
“It’s going to be a big challenge as it will be the largest track that I’ve ever competed on, but I feel like I’m heading there with one of the best teams in the garage,” Griffith said. “It’s going to take a few laps to get comfortable, but I think with some confidence in myself and the leadership of the Chad (Bryant) and Paul (Andrews, crew chief) we can turn some heads.”
Griffith will also debut his new sponsor, Original Gourmet Food Company. The brand will make a distinct impression as Griffith’s No. 28 Ford will be covered by a variety of the company’s 26 lollipop flavors.