Saturday night’s Calypso Lemonade 200 at Indiana’s Winchester Speedway will mark the fourth and final ARCA Menards Series race of July.
Likewise, the NAPA Auto Parts Colorado 150 at Colorado National Speedway in Dacono, Colorado, scheduled for the same evening, will mark the second and final ARCA Menards Series West race of the month.
All six events will have played out on short tracks.
The summer stretch of short-track racing for the ARCA Menards platform began with the West Series race at Irwindale Speedway on July 3, when defending series champ Jesse Love earned his first win of 2021. It continued with a trio of ARCA Menards Series races at Minnesota’s Elko Speedway, Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan, and Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.
Those four races produced four different winners, with Corey Heim, Daniel Dye and Ty Gibbs reaching Victory Lane in the AMS events.
The question with the fifth and sixth ARCA Menards races of the month is whether anybody can become the fifth or sixth winner of the month.
Considering they are the only three drivers who have won ARCA Menards Series races this season, Heim, Dye and Gibbs are among the favorites to take the checkered flag at Winchester, a blazing fast half-mile oval featuring intense, 37-degree banking in the corners. Gibbs is the defending winner at the track in the series.
Similarly, Love is the defending winner at Colorado in the West Series; he is among the favorites to emerge victorious again at the 0.375-mile bullring.
Following Saturday night’s events, the West Series has another short track next on its schedule, a second trip to Irwindale. The ARCA Menards Series, though, will shift to a road course with the Aug. 6 running of the Clean Harbors 100 at the Glen at New York’s Watkins Glen International. That series’ return to a short track arrives Sept. 16 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
So those who enjoy this particular brand of stock-car racing should enjoy the ARCA Menards short-track doubleheader Saturday night.
At two tracks known for producing great racing, the drivers certainly will.
Toni Breidinger’s new partnership
The driver whose ARCA Menards Series career began with Venturini Motorsports in 2018 is back with the team for a five-race deal in 2021 starting Saturday at Winchester.
Parallel with that deal is a new partnership between the 22-year-old and Triller, an AI-powered social media experience.
Breidinger, who is expected to become the first Arabic-American female driver to participate in any NASCAR national series when she starts a Camping World Truck Series race for Young’s Motorsports later this year, will drive the No. 25 Triller Toyota for VMS in the Calypso Lemonade 200.
“I am thankful for this partnership with Triller and for them to believe in female athletes and especially in motorsports,” Breidinger said. “I am so excited to be back racing a Toyota Camry with Venturini Motorsports.
“As a young female athlete who has diverse interests and wants to have young people get excited about the sport I love, Triller is the perfect match with me on the track. The mix of engaged socially conscious young people from around the world is the audience I want to connect with, and I think as we grow together all will learn, have fun and experience new events together.”
— Toni Breidinger (@ToniBreidinger) July 28, 2021
Added Bobby Sarnevesht, the chairman and co-owner of Triller: “Toni is the perfect fit for an entry into NASCAR and all forms of racing for Triller. She is a disruptive, smart, highly competitive, socially conscious and engaged athlete who our millions of followers are just starting to learn about.
“We look forward to helping to elevate her story and her platform and connect her with the stars who are already deeply involved in Triller, as well as giving our followers a first look into NASCAR and helping to grow the sport with a younger and very engaged and loyal audience.”
Through eight races dating back to 2018, Breidinger’s best finish in the ARCA Menards Series is her 10th-place run in her series debut at Madison International Speedway in Wisconsin. She is the USAC’s all-time winningest female driver with 19 victories.
As part of the deal with VMS for 2021, beyond Winchester, Breidinger also will race at the Springfield Mile on Aug. 22, at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds on Sept. 5, at Kansas Speedway in the ARCA Menards Series finale on Oct. 23 and at Phoenix Raceway in the West Series finale on Nov. 6.
West Series team owner Bill McAnally’s new driver academy is producing another debut on the ARCA Menards platform.
On Saturday at Colorado National, Hueytown, Alabama’s Jolynn “JoJo” Wilkinson will make her first start in the West Series driving the No. 19 Instacoat Premium Products Toyota for Bill McAnally Racing.
The 17-year-old will join other BMR drivers Love and Cole Moore in the field at Colorado National. She arrives in the series after a busy season of Pro Late Model and BMR Drivers Academy races.
“I can’t thank Anthony from Instacoat Premium Products enough,” Wilkinson said. “They’ve been beside me this whole entire journey, and I’m thankful for them. I’m really excited to see what I can do at Colorado and learn as much as I can in one of these ARCA cars.”
Wilkinson is a third-generation racer and the second generation in her family to compete in ARCA-sanctioned competition. She continues the “Alabama Gang” tradition from her hometown, as well.
Wilkinson has accumulated 10 starts in the BMR Drivers Academy this season with several runner-up finishes across three different California tracks.
Many things have been mentioned about the BMR Academy. And just to give you an understanding the Academy is like training wheels preparing and teaching me the skills for my future in racing. ARCA West debut in a little over 2 weeks 😎 #bmrdriversacademy #toyotaracingdevelopment pic.twitter.com/3fKv1fXD1c
— Jolynn “JoJo” Wilkinson (@jo_wilkinson11) July 14, 2021
Brandon Varney’s debut
Another participant in the BMR Drivers Academy will make his ARCA debut Saturday, this one at Winchester.
Brandon Varney, a 19-year-old from Richmond, Michigan, will make his first ARCA Menards Series start driving the No. 10 Van’s Tire Center / Drive Train Specialists / Coldwell Banker Professionals Toyota for Andy Hillenburg’s Fast Track Racing team.
“I’ve been waiting for this opportunity my whole life,” said Varney, who scored a pair of third-place finishes earlier this year at All-American Speedway in Roseville, California, driving in McAnally’s academy. “I’m so happy to be making my ARCA Menards Series debut, and it’s at my favorite race track.
“I can’t thank everyone enough at ARCA for this opportunity to race in the series. To Ron Drager, Andy Hillenburg and, most importantly, my mom and dad, Gretchen and Bob Varney, and everyone in my family and extended family for this chance of a lifetime. Hopefully we can prove we belong with those guys and in turn propel my career to new heights with a good finish.”
- Mariah Bourdrieau, a Late Model racer from nearby Colorado Springs, will make her ARCA Menards debut Saturday at Colorado National. She’ll race the No. 77 Jan’s-Malins-Rex MD-Wallace Sign Company Toyota for Joe Nava’s Performance P-1 Motorsports.
- Eric Nascimento, the 20-year-old from Manteca, California, will make his second West Series start Saturday at Colorado National after making his debut at Sonoma Raceway last month. The driver known to many as “Bubba” will drive the No. 4 Finishline Express Toyota in a joint effort with Don Wood, Velocity Racing and Bill McAnally Racing.
- Racing at his home track, 2019 ARCA CRA champion Greg Van Alst will make his fifth ARCA Menards Series start of the season Saturday at Winchester. He’ll drive a short-track car he recently purchased from Chad Bryant. “I am blessed to be able to add another ARCA Menards Series race to our schedule,” Van Alst said. “Winchester is such a historic place, but I have a love-hate relationship with the track. I think that’s the tempo when it comes to racing at Winchester. Some races you love it, others you hate it. Hopefully, we’re on that good side when the checkered flag waves on Saturday night.”
- Saturday’s Calypso Lemonade 200 at Winchester is the sixth round of the 2021 Sioux Chief Showdown, a 10-race series within the series designed to bring together the best of the ARCA Menards Series, the ARCA Menards Series East and the ARCA Menards Series West. Gibbs, the ARCA Menards Series points leader, leads Heim in the Showdown standings, too.
- Saturday’s race at Winchester is also Round 3 of the 2021 CGS Imaging Four Crown, a four-race series within the overall ARCA Menards Series that celebrates a diverse schedule with races contested on all four types of tracks the series visits: superspeedways, short tracks, dirt tracks and road courses. Gibbs won both the superspeedway race (Kansas Speedway on May 1) and the road-course race (Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on June 4) ahead of this weekend’s short-track race at Winchester. The Four Crown will conclude with a dirt-track race at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds on Sept. 5.